CASEY MOVES TO WORLD NO.12
PGA Tour - Valspar Championship
Paul Casey closed with a 6-under 65 and won the Valspar Championship, but only after watching from the locker room as Tiger Woods came up one putt short of forcing a playoff. It was the closest Woods has come to winning in nearly five years.
Casey, who started the final round five shots behind, ran off three straight birdies early on the back nine at Innisbrook to take the lead, and he closed with four par saves to post at 10-under 274.
No one caught him, giving him his second PGA TOUR title and his first since the Houston Open in 2009.
Patrick Reed was tied for the lead and appeared headed for a playoff at worst until his approach to the 18th came back down the slope, and his 45-foot birdie putt was so weak that it rolled all the way back to his feet. He three-putted for bogey and a 68.
Woods and his massive following went dormant after an opening birdie to briefly share the lead. He went 15 holes without a birdie until he brought Innisbrook to life with a birdie putt from just inside 45 feet that died into the cup at the par-3 17th, leaving him one shot behind with one hole to play.
Woods played conservatively with an iron off the 442-yard, uphill closing hole on the Copperhead course. From 185 yards, his approach came up some 40 feet short, and his birdie putt to force a playoff was two feet short.
He closed with a 70 — the first time since The Barclays in 2013 that he posted all four rounds under par on the PGA Tour — and tied for second. That was his best finish since he tied for second at that Barclays tournament, right about the time his back started to give out.
Casey had gone 132 starts on the PGA TOUR since winning in Houston, though he had won five times worldwide, including the European Tour's flagship event at the BMW PGA Championship. He had seven top 5s in the FedExCup playoffs over the last three years.
Asian Development Tour - Richard Mille Brunei Championships
Thai star Kiradech Aphibarnrat cruised to a six-shot victory by firing a final round of three-under-par 68 at the US$60,000 Richard Mille Brunei Championships on Saturday.
The world number 36 dominated the inaugural event where he completed a stunning wire-to-wire victory to clinch his third Asian Development Tour (ADT) title at the picturesque Empire Hotel and Country Club.
Kiradech ended his campaign on 23-under-par 261 to win by six shots over John Catlin of the United States, who returned with a superb 65 to finish in second place.
The 28-year-old Kiradech got off to a solid start by making the turn in 34 before adding three birdies against two bogeys on his homeward nine to claim his second title in 2018 following his victory at the ISPS HANDA World Super 6 Perth last month.
“On the back nine I lost my concentration a little bit. My target was to try and beat the course record of 61 and I was thinking too much. My putts were not dropping in the first five holes on the back nine. Hole 12 was a bad hole for me, where I hit a bad drive to the right and had to chip it out and then didn’t save par,” said Kiradech.
“Everyone was surprised when I took my driver out on hole 15 because it should just be a three-iron off the tee, but I had nothing to lose and I had a seven-stroke lead so I just wanted to change it up and I made a birdie on that hole.
A huge crowd gathered to watch the popular Thai march to victory. “It surprised me that so many people came out to watch despite the hot and humid weather. It feels fantastic to win again, I didn’t have too much pressure on me today, I was just enjoying my round and playing my own game,” said Kiradech.
“The level of competition on the ADT has definitely improved from what I have seen. I just had a really good week which explains the big gap. But there’s so many top players behind me and I really believe that the ADT gives all these up and coming golfers the opportunity to make it to the bigger tour and I hope to see these guys up there soon.”
Asian and European Tour - Hero Indian Open
Matt Wallace of England defeated compatriot Andrew Johnston at the first playoff hole to win the US$1.75 million Hero Indian Open on Sunday.
The 27-year-old, who went into the fourth round with a one-shot lead with Shubhankar Sharma, started magnificently by scoring four birdies before making the turn. He made another birdie on the 10th and a bogey on the 16th before signing for four-under-par 68 at the Gary Player layout of the DLF Golf and Country Club.
Johnston put in a bogey-free performance and forced a playoff with Wallace after carding a 66, the day’s lowest score. Both golfers ended regulation play on 11-under-par 277 total.
At the first playoff hole on the 624-yard par-five 18th, Wallace hit the greens in two and made a birdie, while Johnston could only muster a par. With that, Wallace became the first Englishman to win the Hero Indian Open.
China Tour - Shenzhou Peninsula Classic
Charlie Saxon won the Shenzhou Peninsula Classic with a total score of 277 (-11). Chunil Jung from Canada and Fraser Wilkin from New Zealand finished 2nd with a tie at -10. Top 2 Chinese players Jin Daxing and Ye Jianfeng both finished at -7.
This is the opening match of the China Tour 2018 season, held by China Golf Association. Saxon started the final round with -5 on the 8th position. He had a fairly impressive start, coming to the leading position of the score board after the first 3 holes. He finally finished the day with a -6.
The former champion says the bad weather on the second and third day of the tournament was actually no problem for him.
“I really enjoyed the weather change,” said Saxon after the match. “ I was really happy when it started getting windy. Where I live back in the U.S, it’s very windy.”
Saxon said the Dunes golf course is absolutely fantastic and it is one of the best-condition course he has ever played on.
Web.com Tour - El Bosque Mexico Championship by Innova
Martin Trainer picked up his first Web.com Tour victory at El Bosque Mexico Championship by Innova.
Trainer entered Sunday two strokes behind Alabamian Conner Godsey. The Parisian-born professional began closing that gap right out of the gate, carding a birdie on the opening par-5 first. Trainer carded two more birdies on the front nine to make the turn with a share of the lead.
A double-bogey on the par-4 11th put Trainer’s victory in jeopardy, but he proved to be unfazed by the bump, carding two birdies in his next three holes (Nos. 12 and 14) to enter his final hole with a two-stroke lead, greeted by the cheers of a grandstand full of spectators.
“I was extremely nervous today,” Trainer laughed after his round. “I hit a bunch of shots that I was kind of like, ‘where did that come from?’ because it was so uncharacteristic, but that’s what happens under pressure – it’s just a different kind of golf. But thankfully I was able to scrape through and pick up the win.”