2013 - WEEK 25: Jun 17 - Jun 23
ASIAN TOUR AUSTRALASIAN TOUR ONEASIA CHAMPIONS TOUR
LPGA TOUR LADIES EUROPEAN TOUR JLPGA TOUR
Fresh off missing the cut at Riviera in his last start, Michael Thompson launched himself into contention with a second-round 65, then eventually played his way home with a windblown 69 to claim his first PGA Tour victory at the Honda Classic. A quiet runner-up at the 2012 U.S. Open, Thompson eagled the 3rd hole on Sunday, helping him build a four-shot lead which would eventually be whittled to one when Geoff Ogilvy carded late birdies at the 16th and the 18th. But with ever-present water at the PGA National Resort’s par-5 closer at least presenting the possibility of trouble, Thompson safely reached a greenside bunker in two and got up-and-down for birdie, clinching a two-stroke triumph. Rookie Luke Guthrie, tied with Thompson for the 54-hole lead after a sparkling second-round 63, closed with a 73 to claim solo third. At the lower end of the board, world #2 Tiger Woods failed to break 70 all week and was never a meaningful factor, finishing T37……………Woods’ week went considerably better than that of Rory Mcilroy, however, as the world #1 walked off the course after 26 holes (standing seven-over-par) claiming mental fatigue – though that was later amended by a statement citing a sore wisdom tooth as the cause of his untimely withdrawal. To the extent that the dental version seemed a convenient plan B (as Mcilroy mentioned it neither to reporters who questioned him as he left, nor to playing partners Ernie Els and Mark Wilson), it must be noted that such walk offs are seriously frowned upon both by the Tour and within basic professional etiquette – which is a long way of saying that A) McIlroy’s generally very positive reputation cannot help but take a hit from this, and B) If he hadn’t planned on having a wisdom tooth removed, he’s surely planning on doing so now……………Never a major tour winner previously, 30-year-old South African Dawie Van Der Walt closed with a five-under-par 67 to break open a 54-hole logjam and capture the inaugural Tshwane Open by two shots over countryman Darren Fichardt. The victory was a potential career changer for Van Der Walt, who’d previously only claimed wins on United States mini-tours but immediately gained fully exempt status on the European Tour with the triumph. He began the final round tied with Fichardt, South African Charl Coetzee and Chile’s Mark Tullo, with the latter pair falling by the wayside with rounds of 72 and 77 respectively. This left Fichardt (who carded a rock-steady 69) as the primary challenger with another South African, Louis De Jager, claiming third and former world #1 amateur, American Peter Uihlein, finishing fourth. The event was the last of six 2013 tournaments co-sponsored by both the European ansd Sunshine Tours, though the first two (the Nelson Mandela and Alfred Dunhill Championships) were played in calendar year 2012……………At 20 years, 11 months and 15 days, Patrick Cantlay became the second-youngest winner in Web.com Tour history, closing with a five-under-par 66 to claim the Colombia Championship by four shots. A former UCLA All-American and world #1 amateur, Cantlay’s weekend rounds of 65-66 were the lowest carded each day, allowing him first to catch, then to run away from 2nd-place finisher Jim Renner, who closed with a 70. The victory was the highly touted Cantlay’s first as a professional.
PGA Tour - Honda Classic - Michael Thompson (271)
European Tour - Tshwane Open - Davie Van Der Walt (267)
Sunshine Tour - See European Tour (Above)
Australasian Tour - New Zealand PGA Championship - Michael Hendry (269)
LPGA Tour - HSBC Women's Championsd - Stacy Lewis (273)
Web.Com - Colombia Championship - Patrick Cantlay (266)
After charging out to a four-hole lead through the opening nine of the finals, Matt Kuchar hung on for a 2&1 victory over defending champion Hunter Mahan to win the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship at the Golf Club at Dove Mountain. Playing in windy, very cold conditions, in an event which saw much of its opening day postponed by snow, Kuchar captured his fifth career PGA Tour title, and his first victory in a WGC event. For his part, Mahan hadn’t trailed in his last 11 matches here (dating through the 2012 edition) and had already made short work of Matteo Manassero (5&4), Richard Sterne (4&3), Martin Kaymer (5&4) and match play ace Ian Poulter (4&3), struggling only in a quarter-final match with Webb Simpson, which he claimed 1 up. But Mahan bogeyed holes 3-7 of the final, staking Kuchar to a lead he would never relinquish. The champion’s march to the final had been relatively smooth as well, his victims including Hiroyuki Fujita (3&2), Sergio Garcia (2&1), Nicolas Colsaerts (4&3), Robert Garrigus (3&2) and Jason Day (4&3). Day defeated Poulter 1 up in Sunday’s third-place match…………… Thailand’s Chawalit Plaphol birdied the final two holes to close with 69, and thus claim his fourth career Asian Tour victory at the Zaykabar Myanmar Open in Yangon. A wedge to three feet set up Plaphol’s final birdie, which proved the margin of victory over Mithun Perera, who carded five birdies over the final seven holes en route to a sparkling 65, but failed in his bid to become the circuit’s first Sri Lankan-born winner. Third place went to Thailand’s Kiradech Aphibarnrat (a playoff loser here a year ago) while Korea’s Hwang In-choon, Australia’s Darren Beck and Angelo Que of the Philippines tied for fourth……………Jaco Van Zyl celebrated his 34th birthday on Saturday, then closed with a steady two-under-par 70 over Fancourt’s Montagu course to claim his 11th career Sunshine tour victory in the R3.75-million Dimension Data Pro-Am. Playing in the final group on Sunday for a third straight event, Van Zyl’s 17-under-par 272 total was enough to hold off England’s Daniel Brooks by two in a tournament which saw players rotate over three Fancourt courses for 54 holes, then finishing on the Montagu on Sunday. Van Zyl began the final round tied with Hennie Otto but Otto buckled with a 73, leaving Van Zyl to hold off Brooks, who drew even after the 14th but couldn’t hold on.
WGC - WGC-Accenture Match Play Champ. - Matt Kuchar (2&1 over H. Mahan)
Asian Tour - Zaykabar Myanmar Open - Chawalit Plaphol (270)
Sunshine Tour - Dimension Data Pro-Am - Jaco Van Zyl (272)
Australasian Tour - Victorian Open - Matthew Giles (275)
LPGA Tour - Honda LPGA Thailand - Inbee Park (276)
Web.com Tour - Panama Claro Championship - Kevin Foley (272)
Symetra Tour - Visitmesa.com Gateway Classic - Jaclyn Sweeney (209)
Southern California native and former UCLA standout John Merrick broke through for his first PGA Tour victory in his 169th start, capturing the 87th Northern Trust Open in a playoff with Charlie Beljan. On a Sunday which saw bigger names like Donald, Haas, Jacobson and Schwartzel fall by the wayside, Beljan holed an 18' putt on the 72nd green to move to 11-under-par, then waited as Merrick marched home with a string of pars to force sudden death. Both men parred the first extra hole before Beljan opted to hit driver at Riviera's famous 315-yard 10th, pulled it into the kikuyu rough, then missed a downhill five-footer to lose to Merrick's routine par. Defending champion Bill Haas was the 54-hole leader after carding a tournament-best 64 on Saturday but faded to a closing 73, to share third with Jacobson (who pulled a four-footer at the last to miss the playoff) and Schwartzel, who missed makeable birdie putts at the 16th, 17th and 18th to also miss by one...............Amidst typically breezy conditions at the coastal East London Golf Club, South African Darren Fichardt carded a final-round one-under-par 71 to claim his fourth career European Tour victory at the Africa Open. Fichardt began the day tied for the lead with countryman Jaco Van Zyl and after falling behind early, opened a four-shot lead after turning in three-under-par 37. But bogeys at the 14th, 16th and 17th left the door open for Van Zyl - who promptly bogeyed the 18th to lose by two. Tied for second was France's Gregory Bourdy (who pulled close with three late birdies before bogeying the 17th) while another South Africa, Garth Mulroy, closed with 67 to claim solo fourth. Also notable was the performance of Sunshine Tour veteran Adilson Da Silva of Brazil, who opened with a stunning 62, backed it up with a second-round 68 and eventually reached 16-under-par after eagling the third hole on Saturday. But a triple bogey at the eighth hole soon undid him and he would eventually finish 73-76, to tie for 12th. With Fichardt's win, the event has only been claimed by South Africans over its first four playings...............Having first scored the morale-boosting, image-polishing coup of getting its 2013 schedule released before February, the LPGA opened their season Down Under at the ISPS Handa Australian Open, where Jiyai Shin claimed her 11th career LPGA title, edging a charging Yani Tseng by two and 15-year-old amateur sensation Lydia Ko by four. A chip-in birdie at the 14th sparked Shin’s closing run while Tseng, who experienced a puzzling loss of form during the latter half of 2012, raced home with a closing 66 to make it close.
PGA Tour - Northern Trust Open - John Merrick (273)
European Tour - Africa Open - Darren Fichardt (272)
Sunshine Tour - See European Tour (Above)
Australasian Tour - Queensland PGA Championship - Brad Kennedy (254)
LPGA Tour - ISPS Handa Australian Open - Jiyai Shin (274)
LET - See LPGA Tour (Above)
Champions - ACE Group Classic - Bernhard Langer (204)
Euro Challenge Tour - Barclay's Kenya Open - Jordi Garcia Pinto (272)
One week after staggering home over the final nine to finish second at the Dubai Desert Classic, South African Richard Sterne returned to triumph at the Joburg Open, stringing together spectacular rounds of 63-65-68-64 for a runway seven-shot victory over countryman Charl Schwartzel. For Sterne, the win completed a comeback from back injury-related oblivion; indeed, having reached the top 30 of the OWR in 2008, he had fallen outside the top 1000 at the close of 2011. He began the final round tied with Trevor Fisher Jr., six shots clear of the field, then posted a bogey-free eight-under-par 64 to clinch the victory. Three more hot players, Chile's Felipe Aguilar, homestanding George Coetzee and reigning Rookie Of The Year Ricardo Santos, tied for third..........After runner-up finishes in San Diego (to Tiger Woods) and Phoenix (to Phil Mickelson), Brandt Snedeker stepped up with a closing 65 to win the AT&T National Pebble Beach Pro-Am, beating Chris Kirk by two. Snedeker, statristically the game’s hottest player since last autumn, began the final round tied with rookie James Hahn but carded three birdies and an eagle over the first seven holes to take control, ultimately pulling away behind birdies at the 10th and 11th. The win was the fifth of Snedeker’s career and lifted him to a career-best 4th in the OWR. Kirk, Jimmy Walker and even Retief Goosen (making his first PGA Tour start since the 2012 PGA Championship, following back surgery) all were heard from on the back nine but none could mount a sustained charge, leaving Snedeker to record his second win (and his seventh top 10) in his last nine official PGA Tour starts.
PGA Tour - AT&T National Pebble Beach Pro-Am - Brandt Snedeker (267)
European Tour - Joburg Open - Richard Sterne (260)
Sunshine Tour - See European Tour (Above)
LET - ISPS Handa New Zealand Open - Lydia Ko (a) (206)
Champions Tour - Allianz Championship - Rocco Mediate (199)
One month in and where do we stand? In America, Dustin Johnson beat a limited field in Kapalua, was annointed the next King Of The Golfing World by the press…..and has a WD and a T51 since. Rookie Russell Henley came seemingly out of nowhere to dominate in Hawaii, Brian Gay came back from nowhere to win in Palm Springs, and two old men – Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson – reminded everyone that they’re still very much in the game with commanding wins in San Diego and Phoenix respectively. Meanwhile in Europe, Charl Schwartzel and Louis Oosthuizen won back-to-back home soil events in South Africa (the latter climbing to a career-high 4th in the OWR) and – as Renton Laidlaw so astutely observed – a Welshman (Jamie Donaldson), an Englishman (Chris Dodd) and a Scot (Stephen Gallacher) carried the day during the Tour’s three-week Desert Swing through the United Arab Emirates.
All that and it’s only the first week of February. So far it's looking like a very good year.
Phil Mickelson opened with a record-tying 60 at the TPC Scottsdale, then followed that up with rounds of 65-64-67 to cruise home to a four-shot victory at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. Mickelson’s opening round will long be remembered after he lipped out a 25-foot putt on the final green for 59 – though the shorter birdie putt that he left dead in the jaws at the 8th (his 17th) likely cost him more sleep. The only drama thereafter lay in the possibility of Mickelson challenging Tommy Armour III’s all-time 72-hole scoring record of 256, but after leading by six going into the final round, a bogey at the second hole led to an outgoing 34, and the record was never significantly challenged. Brandt Snedeker logged his second straight runner-up finish while long-hitting Scott Piercy closed ith a 61 to claim solo third……….After losing his three-shot 54-hole lead early in the final round, Scotland’s Stephen Gallacher hit a spectacular 185-yard recovery shot to two feet at the 9th, then later holed a 115-yard sand wedge for eagle at the par-4 16th en route to a three-shot victory at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic. Gallacher was caught in the early going by South African Richard Sterne, who actually stood one ahead through 64 holes before limping home with four late bogeys to fall to solo second. The victory was the 38-year-old Gallacher’s second on the European Tour but his first since 2004, and came following knee surgery near the close of 2012. Chile’s Felipe Aguilar and Denmark’s Thorbjorn Olesen shared third while world number eight Lee Westwood mounted a late charge before bogeying the par-5 72nd (his approach finding the water) to tie for fifth.