The week after Australian Hannah Green’s triumph at Hazeltine the feel good stories continued in golf with emotional triumphs for Nate Lashley in Detriot and Christiaan Bezhuidenhout in Spain. Both of the winners on the leading men’s tours won in comprehensive fashion whilst Sung Hyun-Park prevailed by a solitary stroke in Kansas on the LPGA Tour. The week links golf at the top level resumes as we get set for this month’s Open.
From 346th to now 101st in the world rankings American Nate Lashley won the inaugural Rocket Mortgage Classic won by an incredible six strokes recording a 25 under at the Detroit Golf Club. Nebraska native Lashley got into the tournament as an alternate and then proceeded to sign for nine-under 63 to rocket (get it) into a lead which he never relinquished after the opening round. It’s great for Lashley given the personal tragedy he faced early in his career but the venue (possibly a pitch and putt course which the locals didn’t tell the PGA about) might not end up an iconic tour venue. Although the fact some of the better players faded into the background certainly made the event interesting.
South African Christiaan Bezhuidenhout won at Sergio Garcia’s event in Valedramma to claim the European Tours Andalucia Masters by six strokes (like Lashley) at ten under. Bezhuidenhout finished ahead of a local quartet including Jon Rahm plus Frenchmen Mike Lorenzo-Vera. Bezuidenhout’s first ET title win comes five years after a drug test as an amateur threatened to derail his early career. The now 25-year-old failed a drugs test at the site of this year’s Open Portrush when taking part in the 2014 Amateur event. His nine-month sanction was a result of the use of beta blockers which he took on a regular basis after a childhood accident which saw him drink rat poison at the age of two, this resulted in him developing a stutter and other medical issues which the drugs were aimed at alleviating. As readers, and particularly parents, cringe hopefully the rest of us never encounter a situation like that with those in our care.
The LPGA tour in Arkansas saw Sung Hyung-Park claim her second win of 2019 to go with her triumph in Singapore in March. In the scheduled three-round event Park went 66-63-66 to finish at 18 under one clear of American Danielle Kang and fellow Koreans Kim Hyo-Joo and Inbee Park.
Greens in regulation
The full glorious nature of the links venues is highlighted by the fact this week’s venue for the Irish Open, the Lahinch Golf Club is known in part not just as the St Andrew’s of Ireland but in recent years the course has become known for a statue of a ‘rampant goat’ near the opening hole. Due to the prevalence of goats in the district their popularity as tame co-occupants of the land at the country Clare site a goat was added to the club crest in 1963 and the statue was a further tribute.
If we are to follow-up last week’s column theme about traditional clothes for golfing events what local animals should be depicted in statue form at your local course? Is there a greenkeeper’s dog or another famous animal for a famous course? I’d go for a bear statute at Pebble Beach it is in a national park within the Bear Republic. Although nearby Big Sur National Park doesn’t have bears so maybe a statue of a raccoon? Suggestions on a postcard.
After a 50-year absence it’s a return to Minnesota for the PGA Tour with the 3M Open this week at the TPC Three Cities track in Blaine. The LPGA also stays in the MidWest/Great Lakes area with the Thornberry LPGA Classic in Oneida, won last year by Sei Young Kim. At mentioned the European Tour heads to Ireland for the local open as the full links season greets the fans. Scotland’s Russell Knox beat Kiwi Ryan Fox in a playoff at Ballyliffin last year.
A couple for this week.
Irish Open, Lahinch Golf Course. Lahinch
The playoff defeat last year came at time of terrific form, he was T6 the following week in Scotland. He’s missed five cuts and hasn’t had the volume of play this year but likes these venues.
A recent pick Lowry was T28 in the US Open last time out and before that had three top eight finishes. A winner already this year in Abu Dhabi Lowry won this tournament ten years ago as an amateur at County Louth Golf Course.
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.
March 20: Went off a week early with Kisner but in the Valspar Jon Rahm was T6 as the best result.
April 4: Matt Jones’ T30 was the best of the four options last week after Rahm’s T6 finish the week prior.
April 11: Xander Schauffele. T2 at his second Masters appearance is impressive a show for the future.
April 17: Brooke Henderson won in Hawaii with Matt Fitzpatrick the best at the RBC Heritage at T39.
May 15: Brooks Koepka won the PGA with Schauffele aiming for a top five finish before faltering like so many on Sunday to eventually finish T16 and 11 shots off the winner.
May 22: Matt Wallace was the best of a rough weekend finishing T41 in Denmark after a promising start.
May 29: Tiger Woods at T9 in Dublin was the best of the weekend four.
June 5: Shane Lowry finished T2 in Canada. This column going well in Canada or with Canadians.
June 13. Brooks Koepka. Solo second, couldn’t quite make it three US Opens in a row.
June 19. Paul Casey continued his good form with a T5 finish in Cromwell but six shots off the winner.
June 26. Mackenzie Hughes finished T21 in Detroit a better result than some of the higher ranked other players with Dustin Johnson missing the cut.
Image via golfdigest.com