WEEK 37 Phil Mickelson 25 consecutive years inside the World Top 50

Week 34

MCILROY WINS FEDEXCUP MOVING TO WORLD NO.2

PGA Tour – Tour Championship

Rory McIlroy won the FedExCup on Sunday when he surged past Brooks Koepka in the final round of the TOUR Championship at East Lake, and also earned the first-place check worth $15 million.

One shot behind, McIlroy took the lead with a three-shot swing on No. 7 and never let Koepka or Xander Schauffele catch him.

McIlroy closed with a 4-under 66 and finished four shots ahead of Schauffele.

He joined Tiger Woods as the only players to win the FedExCup twice since it began in 2007.

And this time, McIlroy had the stage to himself. A year ago, he was merely a bystander playing in the final group as Woods capped off his comeback by winning at East Lake.

"It was pretty cool," McIlroy said. "I must say I didn't enjoy that walk last year like everyone else did. I played terribly. I got myself into the final group and never took the fight to Tiger. Going up against the No. 1 player in the world today, he got one over on me in Memphis, and I wanted to try to sort of get some revenge today.

"To play like that alongside Brooks and get the win, win the FedExCup, yeah, it's awesome. You know, it's amazing how different things can be in a year."

Koepka shot an 2-over 72 in the final round, his chances undone by a stretch of three consecutive bogeys on his back nine.

"This week, just didn't get it done," Koepka said. "I don't think I was going to beat Rory today, even if I had it.

Schauffele, who won the 2017 TOUR Championship but not the FedExCup title that year in the previous format, battled through a poor driving round.

"I hit it horrible," Schauffele said, who made his first career ace while completing his third round Sunday morning. "I scrambled. I hung in there ... besides the hole-in-one, I hit it pretty bad this morning, as well.

"It's one of those things, my game just wasn't sharp enough at the right time, and I don't really have too many complaints. Made some good saves and just fought all day."

 

European Tour – Scandinavian Invitation

Erik van Rooyen birdied the last to overcome Matthew Fitzpatrick in a thrilling final day battle and win his first European Tour title at the Scandinavian Invitation.

The South African was last season's European Challenge Tour Graduate of the Year and arrived at Hills Golf & Sports Club having finished second three times on the European Tour - twice on the 2019 Race to Dubai.

He entered the final day in Gothenburg with a one shot lead and was caught by Fitzpatrick and local hero Henrik Stenson but led by two at the turn and stretched that lead to three on the back nine.

Fitzpatrick - the 2016 champion - was tenacious in producing a birdie-birdie finish in a 64 and when Van Rooyen bogeyed the 17th, the players were tied at 18 under.

But the 29-year-old made a gutsy closing birdie from 15 feet on the par five last to match Fitzpatrick's 64 and get to 19 under.

Stenson thrilled the home fans with a hole-in-one at the sixth in a closing 66 that moved him to 14 under alongside South African Dean Burmester - who carded the same score.

Van Rooyen's victory is the 150th in European Tour history by a South African and moves him inside the top ten on the Race to Dubai Rankings Presented by Rolex.

"It's too good, it's hard to describe," he said.

"I was so nervous on 18. On 17 I was fine, I just didn't hit that putt hard enough and then I asked (caddie) Alex, 'what are we at?' and he told me that Matt went birdie-birdie.

 

Japan Golf Tour - Shigeo Nagashima Invitational SEGASAMMY Cup

Ryo Ishikawa won a second Japan Golf Tour title this season moving from 178 to World No.122.

 

Challenge Tour – Rolex Trophy

Darius van Driel shot the lowest final 36 holes of the 2019 European Challenge Tour season to win the Rolex Trophy at Golf Club de Genève breaking into the World Top 200 for the first time at World No.150.

At the halfway stage, the Dutchman was seven strokes off the lead, but recorded rounds of 63-64, coming from four shots behind on the final day, to win his second Challenge Tour title in 12 months in Switzerland.

Van Driel, who won the Euram Bank Open last season, signed for an eight under par final round – the lowest finish by a winner on the Challenge Tour in 2019 – to claim a one-shot victory over Northern Ireland’s Cormac Sharvin.

The Dutchman began the final round aiming to chase down overnight leader Ricardo Santos and closed the gap on the Portuguese with a birdie on the fourth hole, as Santos made two bogeys in three holes.

It was van Driel’s birdie run around the turn that move him into contention, making four consecutive gains from the par three seventh to take a share of the lead. The 30-year-old continued his assault on the Geneva layout with back-to-back birdies from the 12th before holing out from the fairway for eagle at the par four 14th to take the lead.

With a four shot advantage over the field and four holes to play, van Driel stayed calm, even with a dropped shot at the 16th, to sign for a round of 64, confirming himself as the Rolex Trophy winner with a tap-in par at the 72nd hole.

“It feels amazing,” he said. “You have no idea how much this win means to me.

“This is huge for me. I came close to winning a couple of times this year but couldn’t finish it off. To pull off the win shows me that I can do it.

 

Korn Ferry Tour - Albertsons Boise Open presented by Kraft Nabisco

Matthew NeSmith made a 15-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole to post a 19-under total and a one-stroke victory over Viktor Hovland and Brandon Hagy at the Albertsons Boise Open presented by Kraft Nabisco. With the win, NeSmith moved to the top spot in The Finals 25 and secured his PGA TOUR card for the first time.

“It’s a huge dream,” said NeSmith, who closed with a 7-under 64. “I’ve been hanging around on mini-tours for a couple of years and I played in Canada until finally getting out here to the Korn Ferry Tour. I played solid all year long, but I started playing really well towards the end of the year, got into the Finals and then anything can happen.”

There was constant change atop Sunday’s leaderboard, as four different players held solo leads. Playing in the fifth-to-last group, Hagy took his turn as the leader when he birdied the last two holes to post a final-round 64 and take the clubhouse lead at 18-under.

Two groups later, NeSmith made two key up-and-downs – for birdie on the par-5 16th and for par on the par-3 17th – and approached the 18th tee tied with Hagy at 18-under. After pulling his drive into the left rough, NeSmith attacked the back-left hole location and hit a wedge to 15 feet, setting up his winning putt.

“I was just happy to have a look in all honesty. I didn’t really know what I was going to have from down there,” said NeSmith. “I ended up having a great shot, hit it perfectly. I had an uphill look moving a bit right to left, and I just wanted to give it a chance. Luckily it went in the middle.”

Twelve months ago, NeSmith was finishing his second season on Mackenzie Tour-PGA TOUR Canada having missed the cut in seven out of 10 starts. He earned status on the Korn Ferry Tour by finishing T22 at Q-School, and he improved his status through the reshuffle by finishing T9 in the season-opening Bahamas Great Exuma Classic at Sandals Emerald Bay.

In his rookie year on the Korn Ferry Tour, NeSmith went on to tally three top-10s in the regular season and finish No. 46 on the points list. After his most recent top-10, a T8 at the Ellie Mae Classic, PGA TOUR player Kyle Thompson called NeSmith and offered some advice that helped him complete his journey to the TOUR.

 

Asian Development Tour - Ciputra Golfpreneur Tournament presented by Panasonic

Joohyung Kim of Korea overturned a five-shot deficit before going on to pip overnight leader Mardan Mamat in the playoff to claim his second Asian Development Tour (ADT) title at the Ciputra Golfpreneur Tournament presented by Panasonic on Saturday.

The 17-year-old Kim calmly rolled in a four-foot birdie putt to beat Mardan on the first extra hole held on the par-five 18th to pocket the US$19,250 top prize that put himself back in the race for the ADT Order of Merit title.

The Korean had fired a flawless five-under-par 67 to force extra time with Mardan, who battled to a 72, after the duo was tied on 18-under-par 270 total in regulation play at the Damai Indah Golf (BSD Course).

Kim birdied four of his five holes starting from the fourth before picking a crucial birdie on the 18th to match Mardan’s effort.

Mardan, who had held an overnight five-shot lead, could only salvage a 72 after mixing three birdies with as many bogeys, which all came in the opening nine.

Kim was grinning from ear to ear after making up on his earlier disappointment in Indonesia, where he was forced to withdraw from the Gunung Geulis Golf Invitational supported by Nomura due to an injury three weeks ago.

“To be able to come back to Indonesia to win following my injury setback was really fulfilling.

“I had to withdraw from the Gunung Geulis event because of the pain I suffered in between my shoulder and back. I went back to Korea to seek treatment and do my rehab, I was really determined and motivated to get back on my feet ahead of the Ciputra event.

“But today, I certainly did not think I could win as Mardan was playing so well all week long. Being five shots behind is a mountain to climb and I just told myself to give my best shot,” said Kim.


Sunshine Tour – Vodacom Origins of Golf Sishen

Ockie Strydom marched to a commanding six-stroke win on Saturday in the R1-million Vodacom Origins of Golf tournament at Sishen Golf Club.

He carded a bogey-free six-under-par 66 – the best round of the day – to show himself conclusively that he was a winner. Thriston Lawrence, who is starting to pick up a string of runner-up finishes himself, signed for a five-under 67 for second, while Riekus Nortje, Michael Palmer, Luke Jerling and Chris Swanepoel shared third on eight-under for the tournament. That was eight Strydom.

“When I walked towards the green on 18, I was still in the mode of getting the job finished,” said Strydom. “When I got to the green, I started getting goose bumps. I just told myself to take deep breaths, read the putt and see if I could make it – and it went in.”

That putt, like much of his game throughout the tournament, typified his dominance. “My putting this week was the key to the success,” he said. “I made some crucial putts. I also didn’t hit much driver, just three-iron, three-wood down the fairway, hit it on the green and two-putted. I just made sure I secured the par and I believed birdies would come.

“I kept myself calm throughout the week, and I ended up making just two drops. Paul (Keyser), my caddie, just kept talking to me, kept my mind off everything, and then it just happened. That restraint is very tough for me, but Paul kept on telling me to stick to the game-plan.

“To keep the momentum up, there were a few saves that I had to make for par. And then I made a good birdie on 15 today: I made it up and down from the left. I almost hit it over the green and made that putt.”

 

Pro Golf Tour – EXTEC CzechOne Open by Atomic Drinks

Sami Välimäki from Finnland is the third player in Pro Golf Tour history to secure himself the promotion to the Challenge Tour during the year by winning three tournaments in one season.

At the EXTEC CzechOne Open by Atomic Drinks the 21-year-old tour-rookie scored a total of 13 under par (67/ 66/ 67), finishing one shot ahead of Ondrej Lieser from Czech Republic (66/ 71/ 66/ -10). German David Heinzinger finished third by setting up a new course record on day 3 with a 63.

 

EuroPro Tour – Macdonald Hill Valley Hotel, Golf, and Spa

Todd Clements has won his second title of the season on the PGA EuroPro Tour after holding his nerve on the final day to come through the field at Macdonald Hill Valley Hotel, Golf, and Spa.

Clements (Brocket Hall Golf Club) was a few strokes back at the start of the day but made ground with five birdies to his name including two on the tricky 16 and 17 to give himself the one-shot advantage with Richard Mansell and Mitch Waite still on the course.

On victory, Todd said: “Obviously thoroughly enjoying it (playing at the moment) just being out there doing my thing. Playing pretty solid golf. So far it’s paid evident to two great weeks and results. (finished third on Challenge Tour last week)”

“I’m over the moon. Keep pushing on and raising the bar. Hopefully another.”

He takes on the KPMG Trophy in Belgium next week on the Challenge Tour.

 

Nordic Golf League – Esbjerg Open - by EnergiMetropol Esbjerg

Elias Bertheussen won the Esbjerg Open - by EnergiMetropol Esbjerg, earning 4 Ranking points moving from 828 to a career best of World No.639.

 

Asian Development Tour - PGM Northport ADT Championship

Singapore’s Quincy Quek claimed his first Asian Development Tour (ADT) title in seven years after firing a bogey-free 10-under-par 62 to edge Australia’s Adam Blyth by one shot for the PGM Northport ADT Championship on Saturday.

Quek, who came into the final round trailing Blyth by three shots, closed with a flawless round highlighted by 10 birdies to end the tournament with a winning total of 25-under-par 263 at the Glenmarie Golf & Country Club.

Blyth was left to rue a missed opportunity for his first victory in Asia after registering a second straight 66 to take second place. Fiji’s Sam Lee finished seven shots back in third following a 67 while Shahriffuddin Ariffin (67) ended the tournament as the best local in tied-fourth, alongside American Trevor Simsby (69).

Two-time Asian Tour winner Danny Chia of Malaysia and 2017 ADT Order of Merit winner Pannakorn Uthaipas of Thailand carded respective rounds of 67 and 71 to sign off for tied-sixth place, 11 shots adrift off the champion.

Quincy, who claimed his breakthrough victory on the ADT in 2012 in the Philippines, said his long-awaited win was quite special.

“I was rolling the putts pretty well this week. But I came into this round knowing Adam will shoot at least a five (under-par), so I will have to shoot eight (under-par) and more to tie him,” said Quincy, who pocketed RM39, 375 courtesy of his second ADT win.

“The goal was to go out and get as many birdies out there. My game was good enough, and once you start rolling in the putts it takes the stress off the rest of my game.”

 

China Tour - Huangshan Open

32-year-old New Zealander Kieran Muir won the Huangshan Open earning 6 Ranking points moving from 1206 to a career best of World No. 685.

 

PGA Tour of Australasia - Tailor-made Building Services NT PGA Championship

Queenslander Brett Rankin claimed the Tailor-made Building Services NT PGA Championship.

“Today was a dream. I just played so well. It’s just so good to get over the line,” an emotional Rankin said.

“I’ve been working so hard lately. I’ve just always been known as a pro-am player and never getting it done on the Tour scenes. It’s just so good to get it done.

“I was desperate to get the win this weekend. I feel like I’ve been playing really well the past couple of years and not really getting as much as I would like out of the game.

“Making that step up from pro-am golf to Tour golf and playing four days and playing the way I know I can play. I know I’ve been good enough, but it was just a matter of getting it done.”

Across the weekend, the 32-year-old shot 65, 68, 68 and a record-equaling 63 to score 20-under par – three strokes clear of Taylor Macdonald (17-under) and amateur Lawry Flynn (16-under par) to claim his maiden Tour title.

The victory gives Rankin full exemption onto the ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia until the end of the 2020 season.

 

All Thailand Golf Tour - Singha Championship

Amateur Tanapat Pichaikool beat the pros to win the Singha Championship by two shots in Rayong on Sunday.

 Trailing the leader by a shot after three rounds of the 10th leg of the All Thailand Golf Tour 2019, Tanapat closed with a 67 to win on 13-under-271 at Rayong Green Valley Club.

Making six birdies against two bogeys at par-71 course, Tanapat finished two shots ahead of overnight leader Ratchapol Jantavara (70).

Kwanchai Tannin, who won twice on the tour this year, came in third on 8-under-276 following his final 71.

“I am over the moon because I do not expect my win would come so early,” Tanapat said.

“Anyway, I play really well today. Everything goes as planned. In the past, when I took the lead, I tried to play safe. I learn from that. Now, I just play the same game plan one shot at a time.”

Tanapat added that his birdie putt at 17th was really important.

“At the 17th,  I am really under pressure because Ratchapol had birdied the hole and I have to make it. With that birdie, I feel relieved.”

Tanapat plans to turn pro after graduation next year.