Golf Capital – Rory’s Players and more Italian triumphs

@hamishneal

Rory McIlroy won for the first time since March last year during an epic finish at TPC Sawgrass following a breakthrough triumph for Italian Guido Migliozzi at the European Tour’s Kenyan Open.

 

rory-mcilroy-harry-diamond-players-championship-2019-sunday-18th-green-celebration

 

OPENING DRIVE

 

Despite two stunning putts on the 17th by Eddie Pepperell then Jhonattan Vegas plus a resurgence from USA Ryder Cup captain Jim Furyk Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy edged home in the Players Championship. McIlroy finished at 16 under one clear of Furyk after carding a final round two-under 70 as the Sunday action round ebbed a flowed on the back nine, highlighted by some of the Island Green heroics.

 

After a string of recent top ten finishes (T6-2-T4-T5-T4) the world number four notched win number 24 in his professional career and his 15th triumph on the PGA Tour at the ‘fifth major.’

 

Heading into the Kenyan Open Guido Migliozzi was ranked 576th in the world but that short-changed his ability with the Vicenza native a three-time winner on the Alps Tour in a 12-month period from September 2017 to late last year. Starting the final round tied with Adri Arnaus of Spain the 22-year-old hit the lead on the 12th and held his nerve to win at only his 14th European Tour start to go with Francesco Molinari’s win the week prior in Florida are we seeing an inspired period in Italian golf?

 

GREENS IN REGULATION

 

This week the PGA Tour returns to Palm Harbour for the Valspar Championship. This was the scene of Tiger Woods’ near win last year only to be foiled by England’s Paul Casey at the Inisbrook Resort’s Cooperhead Course. The LPGA resumes in Arizona with Inbee Park the defending champion at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup and completing the top line golf the European Tour heads to Malaysia for the Maybank Championship.

 

TAP IN

 

The final ALPG Tour event of the season takes places this week at the Yamba Golf Club on the NSW North Coast after recent wins to Western Australia’s Whitney Hillier in Brisbane and Floridian Brooke Baker in New Caledonia. American Nelly Korda ($270,000) who won the Australian Open will, unsurprisingly, claim the order of merit title. Sarah Kemp in fourth having yielded $147,118 is the best placed Australian. With four events to go the current men’s PGA Tour of Australasia money list leader is Kiwi Ryan Fox on $279,235 with the fourth placed Wade Ormsby at $140,435. But it is worth noting whilst the money lists might seem relatively equitable at this stage the men’s tour has four remaining events include the Australian PGA Championship plus the Australian Open each with significant purses. There is still a way to go in prize-money equity as we have noted recently given the case of two-time Women’s NSW Open winner Meghan MacLaren.

 

THIS WEEK

 

Valspar Championship

 

Jon Rahm

The Spaniard went against the advice of his caddie on the 11th at TPC Sawgrass and eventually slumped toT12 but prior to that stretching back to the European Tour’s DP World Tour Championship he’d only once finished outside the top ten in seven of eight starts including his win in the Hero World Challenge.

 

Kevin Kisner

The world number 50 has five consecutive top 30 finishes and he been in positions for a weekend push only to fall away in recent weeks.

 

Maybank Championship

 

Aaron Rai

With his mother from Kenya it was somewhat of a surprise to see Rai skip the Kenyan Open (which he won on the Challenge Tour) a fair pointer to this venue.

 

Ryan Fox

With the World Super 6 Perth title in the bag Ryan Fox, finally, has a European Tour title, and after a rushed trip to Mexico the Kiwi will be more settled following his T11 in his home open.

 

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.

Feb 27: Best two were Brooke Henderson (T15) after taking an eight on one of the par fives in her opening round and Harrison Endycott T17.

March 6: Matt Millar T23 in NZ was the best result in the tough weather on the South Island.

March 13 Justin Thomas T35 was the best of the TPC Sawgrass four.

 

Image via golfdigest.com

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