2015 - WEEK 22: May 25 - May 31
In 2014's final major tour event, 41-year-old Arjun Atwal ended an injury-enhanced drought dating to 2010 by birdieing the 72nd hole to win the Asian Tour's inaugural Dubai Open by a single shot over Korean teenager Jeung-Hun Wang. The week hardly looked to be Atwal's after he opened with a disappointing 73, but the veteran Indian bounced back with middle rounds of 65-68 to pull himself into a four-way tie for the lead through 54 holes. He then charged out in 32 on Sunday, setting up a final nine battle with the talented Wang, who actually stood one ahead through 16 holes. Both men bogeyed the par-3 17th before Wang buckled, bogeying the par-5 finisher, looking on as Atwal birdied to steal the title.
Asian Tour - Dubai Open - Arjun Atwal (272)
European Tour - Alfred Dunhill Championship - Branden Grace (268)
Asian Tour - Thailand Golf Championship - Lee Westwood (280)
Sunshine Tour - See European Tour (Above)
OneAsia Tour - See Australasian Tour (Below)
Australasian Tour - Australian PGA Championship - Greg Chalmers (277)
LET - Omega Dubai Ladies Masters - Shanshan Feng (269)
Having closed his 2014 European Tour campaign with a pair of late top 10s, 27-year-old Danny Willett had to be considered among the favorites at the season-opening Nedbank Golf Challenge, and in the end he justified that standing with a blazing weekend finish to claim his second career E Tour title. Facing a limited but very strong international field, Willett began his week quietly with a three-birdie, two-bogey 71 before turning in even par 36 in round two. But on Friday’s back nine he put the engine back into gear, posting four birdies to shoot 68 and climb to fourth place, five shots behind former world number one Luke Donald, who began his week 71-63. Donald continued his strong form on Saturday by carding a 69, but he needed all of it just to maintain his lead as Willett now began to catch fire, birdieing six of his first 11 holes en route to a 65 which beat the field by three shots and lifted him to within one of Donald. As it happened, Sunday was Donald’s 37th birthday but his hopes of his celebrating in grand style were dashed fairly early as he bogeyed the 3rd and 5th, by which time Willett had posted three early birdies and rocketed past him. A former world number one-ranked amateur, Willett turned in 33 and, riding a multi-shot lead, played some very steady golf coming home, methodically birdieing the 547-yard 10th and the 601-yard 14th before providing a final exclamation point by adding one final birdie at the 478-yard 17th………………Breaking a drought that dated all the way back to 2010, three-time Major champion Padraig Harrington overcame some early final round nerves to hold on for his second career Asian Tour victory at the Bank BRI Indonesia Open. It was very nearly a wire-to-wire run for Harrington, as his eight-birdie opening round 64 just missed sharing the lead with Australia’s Kalem Richardson, who posted a 63. Harrington then made five birdies and an eagle during Friday’s second round, with the resulting 66 lifting him into a tie for the lead with Thailand’s Thanyakon Khrongpha, who made nine birdies en route to posting a 63 of his own. But while Khrongpha slipped to a 71 on Saturday, Harrington added a smooth 67, and suddenly he held a commanding four-shot 54-hole lead. There was a modest sumble on Sunday, however, as the 43-year-old Irishman bogeyed the par-5 1st, then managed level fours before double-bogeying the par-3 7th. A bounce back birdie at the 8th restored order, however, before birdies on both the back nine par 5s (the 13th and 17th) eventually provided the margin of victory………………Recording his first multi-win season since 2001, 42-year-old Katsumasa Miyamoto claimed his 10th career Japan Tour title with a come-from-behind victory at the season-ending Golf Nippon Series JT Cup. Miyamoto rode something of a roller coaster throughout the week trailing first round leader Koumei Oda by four after opening with 68, tying for the halfway lead (with Yusaku Miyazato and Korean Sang-Hee Lee) following a Friday 67, then falling into a tie for sixth (three behind Lee) after a moderately disappointing Saturday 71. But Lee could do no better than a 71 of his own on Sunday, and while several pursuers stepped up to challenge, none could keep up with Miyamoto, who birdied three of his first six holes to jump firmly into contention. A bogey at the par-4 11th briefly slowed his momentum, but back-to-back birdies at the 13th and 14th drew him even with Prayad Marksaeng before Marksaeng bogey at the 15th ultimately proved the deciding factor…………………Twenty-five-year-old Lincoln Tighe broke through for his first career victory on the Australasian Tour, coming from well off the pace via a sterling final round 64 to capture the New South Wales PGA Championship. A New South Wales native, Tighe grabbed the lead early by opening with a 63 on Thursday, then posted a 70 to stand five behind halfway leader Troy Moses, a local amateur who torched the Riverside Oaks resort layout with a Friday 62 that included eight birdies and an eagle. A third round 72 would take much of the wind out of Moses’s sails, though he would ultimately close with 69 (including an eagle at the 1st) to tie for third. With 54-hole leader Scott Arnold having posted another 62 on Saturday, Tighe began Sunday five shots in arrears but quickly recorded five birdies (against one bogey) over his first seven holes, then added three more on the final nine to edge Arnold by one at the wire. The victory gave Tighe a two-year Australasian exemption – a great holiday gift as he was ticketed for first-stage Q School two weeks hence.
European Tour - Nedbank Golf Challenge - Danny Willett (270)
Japan Tour - Golf Nippon Series JT Cup - Katsumasa Miyamoto (271)
Asian Tour - Bank BRI Indonesia Open - Padraig Harrington (268)
Sunshine Tour - See European Tour (Above)
Australasian Tour - NSW PGA Championship - Lincoln Tighe (265)
LatinoAmerica - Open de Argentina - Emiliano Grillo (266)
LET - Hero Women's Indian Open - Gwladys Nocera (208)
Twenty-one-year old American Jordan Spieth may have surprised American viewers by not winning on the PGA Tour during 2014, but he certainly ended the year in style, sprinting to a runaway six-shot victory at the Australian Open. Spieth’s victory was made all the more impressive by the manner in which he did it, posting a dazzling Sunday 63 (which beat the field by fully three shots) to break open a tournament whose scoring was consistently high due to fast greens and steady breezes. Spieth began the final round tied atop the leaderboard with Australians Greg Chalmers and Brett Rumford, one stroke ahead of Rod Pampling and world number three Adam Scott. But while most of the field struggled to make final round birdies, Spieth reeled off eight of them, carding four on the outward half at the 3rd, 5th, 6th and 7th. Now staked to a multi-shot lead, he padded his margin with additional birdies at the 14th and 15th, then ran away and hid by adding two more at the 17th and the par-5 18th. It was the sort of round that generates a buzz – such as a Tweet from world number one Rory McIlroy, who said simply: “You could give me another 100 rounds today at The Australian and I wouldn't sniff 63. Congratulations Jordan Spieth.”………………In an up-and-down week that twice saw him twice fail to break 70 while also posting the event’s two lowest rounds, Shingo Katayama claimed his 28th career Japan Tour title at the Casio World Open, in Kochi. The 41-year-old Katayama, who last won at the 2013 Tokai Classic, stood tied for 28th after opening with a 70, then pushed into the halfway lead on Friday behind a bogey-free eight-under-par 64. But such strong form deserted him on Saturday, when he stood two over par through 13 holes before birdies at the 15th and 18th brought him home in 72, leaving him tied for second, one shot behind Satoshi Kodaira, Shugo Imahira and Yasuki Hiramoto. Not one of these tri-leaders would break 70 on Sunday, however – though in the end the point might have moot as Katayama came loaded for bear. Indeed, after turning in two-under-par 34, he ran off four straight birdies at holes 12-15 to pull clear, then added a final birdie at the 530-yard finisher to give him a three-stroke margin of victory. Satoshi Tomiyama, who closed in 67, took solo second, with the rest of the field no closer than six off Katayama’s 271 aggregate………………In one of the more memorable finishes of the 2014 season in South Africa, 32-year-old veteran Jaco Ahlers broke through for his second careerSunshine Tour victory, winning a three-way playoff at the Lion of Africa Cape Town Open. After opening with steadily improving rounds of 71-69-68, Ahlers began Sunday’s final round four shots behind co-54-hole leaders Hennie Otto and Danie van Tonder, and on a day which saw the wind pick up during the afternoon, he started slowly, bogeying the long par-4 3rd. But a run of three straight birdies at holes 5-7, then one more at the short par-4 10th, got him going, and he would eventually come home in 68, for a 276 aggregate. This total was matched by England’s Ross McGowan (who also closed with a pair of 68s) as well as Otto, who struggled with his putter all day before holing a 15-foot birdie putt at the last to tie. Otto would drop out of the payoff by bogeying the 385-yard 18th on its first extra playing, but the hole would be played four more times before matters were settled – and then only because McGowan missed a three-footer on the final go-round………………Less than 12 months after Prayad Marksaeng won the event’s previous playing, Thaworn Wiratchant became the second late-40s Thai star to win the King’s Cup on native soil, claiming his 18th career Asian Tour win by a two-stroke margin. Wiratchant played some very solid golf throughout the week, opening with rounds of 68-67 to trail halfway leader Anirban Lahiri by three, then added a bogey-free 66 (anchored by five straight birdies at holes 2-6) to narrow the gap to one on Saturday night. Lahiri would get off to a slow start on Sunday, eventually birdieing the 8th hole to turn in 35, then making two birdies and a bogey coming home to post a 270 aggregate. That number was matched by Australian Andrew Dodt, a recent qualifier for the 2015 European Tour who charged home with birdies on each of his final three holes to push into contention. But in the end, Wiratchant’s domination of the front nine again proved the story as he made birdies on five of his first 10 holes, eventually marching home in 67 to claim the trophy.
Japan Tour - Casio World Open - Shingo Katayama (271)
Asian Tour - King's Cup - Thaworn Wiratchant (268)
Sunshine Tour - Lion of Africa Cape Town Open - Jaco Ahlers (276)
OneAsia Tour - See Australasian Tour (Below)
Australasian Tour - Emirate Australian Open - Jordan Spieth (271)
LatinoAmerica - Personal Classic - Monday Finish (Weather)
JLPGA Tour - JLPGA Tour Championship - Teresa Lu (278)
In an exciting climax to the 2014 European Tour season, Henrik Stenson came through with some late fireworks to successfully defend his 2013 title at the DP World Tour Championship. For most of the week Stenson did as he had done for much of 2014, lingering around the edges of contention but not necessarily looking like a winner. And indeed, the event seemed to be following the season’s general trend when world number one Rory McIlroy, returning from a six-week break, began his first round with birdies on four of his first five holes and eventually posted a 66, good enough to tie for the Thursday lead with Shane Lowry. McIlroy’s play would be somewhat uneven thereafter, however, with a Friday 70 leaving him tied with Scotland’s Richie Ramsay and England’s Danny Willett, two shots behind Stenson, who added a 66 of his own to an opening 68. The 38-year-old Swede remained atop the board after carding a Saturday 68, only now he was tied with Spain’s Rafa Cabrera-Bello, who’d opened with a 73 before charging back with middle rounds of 64-65, the former sparked by a run of five straight birdies to open the day. But the story of this week was told mostly on Sunday as a wide range of world-class players found themselves squarely in the mix in the late going. Initially it looked to be Cabrera-Bello’s day, particularly after Stenson double-bogeyed the 401-yard 11th to fall two behind. But the 30-year-old from the Canary Islands then missed a short par putt at the 476-yard 12th and, like Stenson, failed to birdie both the par-5 14th and the 371-yard 15th. This allowed McIlroy (who birdied both of those scoring holes), Rose (who birdied those, plus the 16th), France’s Victor Dubuisson (who came home in 33) and even a hard-charging Robert Karlsson (who collapsed by three-putting from three feet at the last) all back into the fray – a fray which soon excluded Cabrera-Bello after he logged watery double-bogeys at both the 16th and 17th. But with a high-powered multi-man playoff looming, Stenson stepped up, stiffing his approach at the par-3 17th, then adding another birdie at the par-5 closer to win by two. There was rather less excitement in the Race to Dubai bonus pool standings, however, as McIlroy’s epic campaign had clinched that season-long contest before this event even began………………In an event which clearly saw youth come to the fore, 22-year-old PGA Tour regular Hideki Matsuyama made his first domestic start since July count by winning the prestigious Dunlop Phoenix, edging countryman Hiroshi Iwata in a playoff. A winner at Jack Nicklaus’s Memorial Tournament earlier in the year, Matsuyami started with a relatively quiet 68 here before jumping into the halfway lead behind a Friday 64 which included six birdies, plus an eagle at the par-5 18th. Thus standing one ahead of a quartet of pursuers (one of whom was 21-year-old American star Jordan Spieth), Matsuyama then posted a bogey-free 67 on Saturday to extend the lead to two over Spieth and three over Australian Brendan Jones. But neither Spieth (69) nor Jones (68) could mount a major charge on Sunday, while the red-hot Iwata certainly did, coming home with five late birdies for a 63, and a 269 total. As Matsuyama stumbled with bogeys at both the 15th and 16th, Iwata looked a likely winner - but showing truly championship form, Matsuyama recorded clutch birdies at the 185-yard 17th and the 560-yard 18th to tie, then closed Iwata out on the first extra hole………………At age 47, winless since 2012 and in danger of losing his Asian Tour card, Singapore’s Mardan Mamat was looking at a murky future prior to the Resorts World Manila Masters, but all of that turned around over an impressive wire-to-wire victory at the Manila Southwoods Golf and Country Club. Mamat’s week began with a bang as he birdied four of his first seven holes en route to a seven-under-par 65, good enough to hold a share of the lead with Japan’s Daisuke Kataoka, who opted to play here over his home circuit’s Dunlop Phoenix event. Kataoka would fade to a 73 on Friday, however, leaving Mamat to post a 68 and now share the top spot with South Korean Jeung-Hun Wang, who managed nine birdies (against two bogeys) in carding a 65. Mamat was not to be headed on the weekend, however, as he opened Saturday’s third round with four consecutive birdies and never looked back, eventually returning a 66 that gave him a four-shot lead over Kiradech Aphibarnrat and five over Lionel Weber of France. He then turned in two-uder-par 34 on Sunday before cruising home to a 69, and a runaway six-shot victory………………In the first of Australia’s three major winter events, 30-year-old veteran Nick Cullen ended world number two Adam Scott’s quest for a third consecutive gold jacket by coming out of nowhere to edge Scott, Josh Younger and James Nitties at the BetEasy Australian Masters. Cullen entered the week ranked 539th in the world and with only a single previous homeland victory on his résumé, the 2013 Queensland Open. But on a weekend which saw halfway leader Michael Wright shoot 74-80 (plummeting all the way to a T46), Cullen posted a Saturday 66 to pull within two of 54-hole leader Paul Spargo, then jumpstarted an up-and-down final round with an eagle at the par-5 4th. He would ultimately record a key sand save at the 18th to post a 69, then look on as Scott made three late birdies before lipping out for a fourth on the final green that would have forced sudden death. Nitties also failed to card a desperately needed late birdie, while Younger birdied the 16th and 18th in order to creep within one.
European Tour - DP World Tour Championship - Henrik Stenson (272)
Japan Tour - Dunlop Phoenix - Hideki Matsuyama (269)
Asian Tour - Resorts World Manila Masters - Mardan Mamat (268)
Australasian Tour - BetEasy Australian Masters - Nick Cullen (279)
LPGA Tour - CME Group Tour Championship - Lydia Ko (278)
LET - Xiamen International Ladies Open - Ssu-Chia Cheng (206)
JLPGA Tour - Daio Ellair Ladies Open - Sakura Yokomine (270)