Golf Capital – NZ Open time, Mexican coverage turned off

@hamishneal

 

Arrowtown, Canberra, Singapore, Florida and Oman. Never let it be said golf can’t find a tournament venue. Coming up this week there is a variety of locations all hosting some of the world’s best this week, if not the rising stars.

 

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Opening Drive

 

American Dustin Johnson joined illustrious company as he romped home in the WGC Mexico event by five strokes at Chapultepec. Johnson’s victory made him the fifth player in the last 50 years under the age of 35 to reach 20 PGA Tour wins. The others are Tiger Woods, Tom Watson, Phil Mickelson and Johnny Miller. Quite an elite group. Rory McIlroy came home in second with a further five shots back to the group at 11 under in third.

 

Despite the presence of a WGC tournament on the calendar the PGA Tour circus continued with first-timer winner Martin Trainer claiming the Puerto Rico Open.

 

This week’s Canberra Classic follows the Australian Ladies Classic which as won by Marianne Skarpnord at Bonville Golf Club. The Norwegian finished at eight under two clear of Australian Hannah Green and Nuria Iturrios of Spain.

 

It’s an odd year so it must be Amy Yang winning the Honda LPGA Thailand. The Korean edged home by one stroke from Australian Minjee Lee during a weather interrupted fourth round which saw Yang, Lee and Carlota Ciganda tied for the lead. Yang has also won the event in 2015 and 2017. She will be strongly lobbying to keep this event on the LPGA calendar.

 

Before the Australasian PGA Tour heads to the New Zealand Open the 2018 NZ Open winner Daniel Nisbet was a comprehensive winner of the Queensland PGA Championship from Deyen Lawson and Harrison Endycott by six strokes coming home with a final round of 64 – the equal best of the day. Queenslander Nisbet has risen to a career-high 312 in the rankings with the triumph.

 

Greens in regulation

 

Having not won since 2014 Michelle Wie prevailed in last year’s HSBC Women’s Champions event at the Sentosa Golf Club and the LPGA returns again in 2019. Whilst the PGA Tour heads to Florida for the Honda Classic, a tournament with Justin Thomas won in a playoff last year over Luke List.

 

The European Tour loops back to the Middle East for the Oman Open which was won in 2018 by Dutchman Joost Luiten in the inaugural edition of the tournament.

 

Tap in

 

Maybe not a tap in perhaps a throwing of the clubs into the water in anger on this one.

 

Yet again golf fans (even those with subscription television) we’re left lamenting the lack of coverage of the WGC Mexico event. Golftv, yet another online streaming platform, carried the event, but the communication about the lack of coverage on Kayo and Fox Sports in Australia was very frustrating. Luckily the other offerings over the course of the weekend meant golf fans were still treated to some quality but missing this from Tiger Woods unless you were on social media is frustrating for folk who have shelled out money in the expectation they will get ALL the top flight golf.

 

This week 

 

New Zealand Open

Harrison Endycott

Second in Toowoomba last weekend Endycott was T11 here last year and has five top ten finishes in his last ten starts.

Nick Voke.

Kiwi Voke was T7 her last year and has since won three times in the PGA Tour of China. Had the week off last week after his recent jet-setting.

Daniel Nisbet. Hard to not follow in the defending champion who is also a last start winner. However he did miss 14 cuts in 23 starts last year.

 

LPGA Singapore

Brooke Henderson.

Second here last year and the Canadian has finished sixth in both her starts thus far in 2019.

 

2019 record:

Feb 13: Nelly Korda win and Paul Dunne third.

Feb 20. Ledioda missed the cut and in Mexico Ancer (T39) was the best of the three.

 

Image via ausladiesclassic.com.au

Golf Capital – Korda kicks a fourth family Australian Open, Fox finally in Perth and time runs out in LA

@hamishneal

Korda family history was made in Adelaide came as Kiwi Ryan Fox won in Perth before JB Holmes, eventually, prevailed in Los Angeles.

 

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Opening drive

 

Nelly Korda eased to victory in the Women’s Australian Open by two strokes but not after a six-stroke lead was chipped away at late in the day following Jin Young Ko’s eight under 64. The defending champion was second to Korda with the winner rolling in an impressive 28 birdies over four rounds at Adelaide’s Grange Golf Club. Korda, 20, joins dad Petr, brother Sebastian and sister Jessica as an Australian Open winner. The former duo in tennis (Sebastian won the junior boys’ singles in 2018) and Jessica won in the Women’s Australian Open on 2012 following a six-player playoff.

 

Within a few hours at Lake Karrinyup Kiwi Ryan Fox broke through for his first European Tour triumph when he won the co-sanctioned World Super 6 Perth event after seeing off Adrian Otaegui 3 & 2 in the final. This followed three wins earlier in the day in the six-hole match-play format. Fox, son of All Black legend Grant Fox, has now won five professional events and the victory got him into this week’s WGC event in Mexico and made up somewhat for his playoff defeat last year in Ballyliffin in Northern Ireland.

 

Elsewhere the Genesis Open (LA Open) was won by JB Holmes by one stroke from Justin Thomas who entered the day in a strong position to win before shooting four over 75 as Holmes one under saw him edge home.

 

Greens in regulation

Last week we were tut-tut-tutting Sergio Garcia’s destructive play at a recent European Tour event and this week in California one recent wrong was finally corrected by Matt Kuchar after much chagrin before the annoying ‘slow-play’ topic raised its head during Holmes’ triumph.

 

Veteran Kuchar, after a win in Mexico during November, has finally agreed to pay his fill-in caddie for that week the reasonable amount after multiple statements/interviews and pressure. David Giral Ortiz (El Tucan) had initially bucked at a US$5,000 payment following the win. El Tucan thought might get ‘topped-up’ by Kuchar and many golf pundits and fans, upon hearing the news expected a payment to the Mexican in the order of US$129,000 as what should have been offered following the win – no matter what agreement the duo had made prior to the tournament.  El Tucan was only seeking around US$50,000 so it’s actually quite stunning Kuchar and his team (including super-agent Mark Steinberg) thought low-balling El Tucan in the renegotiation process for US$20,000 was a sensible idea.

 

Kuchar’s payments to El Tucan weren’t the only controversy to fizz at Riviera as winner JB Holmes’ pace of play coping a raft of criticism. Holmes, who won for the first time since April 2015, should be known for his quite remarkable comeback from brain surgery in 2011 to return to the tour the following year but he will become the poster-child for slow-play with several other players unless players are properly monitored. There are multiple rules officials and events like the Shot Clock Masters show that logistics for monitoring time spent before shots can be looked at. Enforced time limits for shots and perhaps even a total round allotted time should be set, perhaps allowing for poor conditions if needed.

El Tucan was only seeking around US$50,000 so it’s actually quite stunning Kuchar and his team (including super-agent Mark Steinberg) thought low-balling El Tucan in the renegotiation process for US$20,000 was a sensible idea.

Coming off the previous event the AT&T Pro Am which was drawn out until a Monday finish, thanks largely to the celebrity amateurs dragging out proceedings, the last thing the Tour needed was someone dragging out the end. Holmes took an inordinate of time over several putts including short ones and it just isn’t necessary.

 

Tap in

Before next week’s New Zealand Open Daniel Fox defends his title in the QLD PGA Championship. Whilst further south from Toowoomba on the New South Wales north coast the Australian Ladies Classic takes place at Bonville Golf Club.

 

On the LPGA Tour, after their Australian swing, the tour heads to the Siam Country Club in Chonburi for the LPGA Thailand.

 

The men’s WGC Mexico Championship takes places at Chapultepec and hence there is no European Tour event but the PGA Tour will still squeeze the lemon with the Puerto Rico Open

 

This week

WGC – Mexico

Marc Leishman . Since his CIMB Classic win in October Leishman has an impressive five T4 or better finishes in his last seven starts.

 

Alex Noren. 14th last year here the Swede hasn’t set the world on fire in recent weeks but he did conclude 2018 with two top ten finishes, one of which was the ET’s World Tour Championship.

 

Abraham Ancer. The local was T52 at his event debut last year but since then has won the Australian Open and claimed six top ten finishes which has seen him rise from 246th to 61st in the world.

 

Puerto Rico Open 

Hank Lebioda. With T38 and T29 finishes in vastly superior PGA Tour events in the last month Lebioda, who is in his first full year on the PGA Tour, much can be expected of the Floridian.

 

2019 record:

Feb 13: Nelly Korda win and Paul Dunne third.

 

Image via lpga.com

Golf Capital – 2019 Return. Tantrums and troubles but fun at Barwon.

@hamishneal

From tantrums to dubious tournament venues it’s been a busy few weeks in golf since we last reflected on the goings on with the great game. Here we go to start 2019, albeit rather late.

ISPS Handa Vic Open - Day Four

Opening drive

Scotland’s David Law produced a stupendous eagle on the 18th as Wade Ormsby blew up late in the piece at the Victorian Open to claim the men’s title whilst Celine Boutier secured a first LPGA triumph in her second year on tour with victory at the Barwon Heads venue. Law’s, win adds to his home triumph in Scotland last year on the second-tier Challenge Tour and the 27-year old beat Ormsby and Brad Kennedy by one stroke with Boutier a two-stroke winner over another Australian duo, this time Sarah Kemp and Su Oh. One of the stars of the dual-event tournaments which even allowed people to take their dogs for a walk on course, was American Kim Kaufman with a great slam dunk on the very tricky par three seventh on Saturday.

Phil Mickelson secured another win this time number 44 on the PGA Tour and number five at Pebble Beach when he came back for a few holes on Monday to prevail over Paul Casey in the AT&T Pro Am on the Californian coast.

Greens in regulation

Sergio, Sergio, Sergio. We need to talk… At the tournament which shall not be mentioned one-time major winner Sergio Garcia lost the plot and was disqualified by the officials after the third round following his rough treatment of multiple greens. Interestingly, there appears to be no vision of the damage to the greens but there is footage of the 39-year-old overreacting in a bunker like he has just had his sandcastle trampled by his elder brother at the beach. The Spaniard wasn’t DQ’ed for that although I’m sure that was a part of the thinking by the officials. It’s probably ironic in a way that we couldn’t see what Sergio did wrong given the host nation of the tournament has been in the news for things that happen in far away places. Hmm…

 

Tap in

Since the last golf capital we’ve seen some first time-winners plus top ranked winners across both the men’s and women’s game. On the European Tour American Kurt Kitayama won in Mauritius, Louis Oosthuizen triumphed in the South African Open, and David Lipsky also won in the Republic. Into the Desert swing of the ET Ireland’s Shane Lowry and Bryson DeChambeau, now ranked a career high of five, won in Abu Dhabi and Dubai respectively.

 

Before last week’s Vic Open the only LPGA event since our break was the Tournament of Champions won by South Korean Eun-Hee Ji in Florida. Whilst the PGA Tour has seen wins to Jon Rahm in the limited field event in Bahamas, Brian Harman joined Patton Kizzire on a team at late notice to claim the QBE Shootout before wins in Hawaii to Xander Schauffele and then Matt Kuchar. Schauffele’s win was another limited field event but back on the mainland produced the short of the last few months as Adam Long who has toiled away on lower tier tours since 2011 won for the first time in 142 ranking events as he won the Desert Classic. Long holed at putt on the last at La Quinta as multiple major-winner Phil Mickelson looked on. The restore normality afterLong, previously ranked 417th, had won the week prior England’s world number one Justin Rose won the Farmer’s Insurance Open before Ricky Fowler won in Phoenix prior to Mickelson’s Pebble Beach win.

 

On the Australasian men’s PGA Tour Cameron Smith won on the Gold Coast in December (an event co-sanctioned with the European Tour) and that tour resumes regular full field stroke-play events after the World Super 6, also co-sanctioned with the European Tour, this week

 

This week

Women’s Australian Open

Nelly Korda. The American has won as recently as October and returned with a third at the TOC in Florida.

Su Oh. After going close in Victoria the Australian could prevail at the Grange venue in South Australia.

 

World Super 6 Perth

Paul Dunne. A Golf Sixes winner in team’s format the Irishman was 17th last time out in a stronger field.

Dimitrios Papadatos. 11th here last year making the Sunday play the Central Coast golfer has won three times in the last two years and twice on the Aus PGA in that time.

Stay out of the bunker, Until next time.