WEEK 33 Phil Mickelson 25 consecutive years inside the World Top 50

Week 23

MCILROY MOVES TO WORLD NO.3 WITH RBC CANADIAN VICTORY

PGA Tour – RBC Canadian Open

Rory McIlroy won his 16th PGA TOUR title in dominating fashion at the RBC Canadian Open, winning by seven shots over Shane Lowry and Webb Simpson moving to World No.3.

It was McIlroy's fifth win in a national open, following the U.S. Open (2011), Australian Open (2013), The Open Championship (2014) and Irish Open (2016). McIlroy also counts the Hong Kong Open (2011) as part of his national-championship tally.

In the process, McIlroy shot his best four-day score ever on the PGA TOUR. He couldn’t help but think what could have been, however.

McIlroy made five birdies on his front side for a 5-under 30 before adding four more on No’s 11-14. He bogeyed two of his final three holes, but sandwiched in an eagle on the par-5 17th for good measure.

Had he birdied 18, he would have shot 59, something he’s never done.

McIlroy once had a putt for 59 the week before the Masters in 2016 at the club he plays at in Florida, and he left it short. That came into his head when he hit his bunker shot on 18. He wished it was a putt for 59 and not a bunker shot, but at least, he said, he didn’t leave it short.

“I had a chance to shoot 59. Sorry for being disappointed up here,” said McIlroy to laughs. “I played 17 wonderful holes. I was 10-under through 17 holes and I shot 4-under on the back nine with two bogeys, so that was pretty good too.

“I’m playing well. I found a little groove and I want to keep it going.”

His 61 was his lowest round on TOUR this season – by two shots (first round, WGC-Mexico) – and it came after missing the cut at the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide, his first missed cut of the season.

 

Japan Golf Tour - JGTC Mori Building Cup Shishido Hills

Mikumu Horikawa won the JGTC Mori Building Cup Shishido Hills earning 16 Ranking points jumping into the World’s Top 200 for the first time in his career at World No. 182.

KPGA Korean Golf Tour - The 10th Descente Korea Munsingwear Matchplay

Korean Hyungjoon Lee won the 10th Descente Korea Munsingwear Matchplay jumping from World No. 295 to 214


Web.com Tour - BMW Charity Pro-Am presented by SYNNEX Corporation

In a tournament shortened to 54 holes due to inclement weather throughout the week, Australian Rhein Gibson came out on top with a 21-under 193 to capture the win at the BMW Charity Pro-Am presented by SYNNEX Corporation. With his first Web.com Tour victory, Gibson earns 500 points and locks up his PGA TOUR card for the 2019-20 season.

Gibson carded a bogey-free 8-under 63 to overcome a two-shot deficit to start the round. He tallied three birdies and an eagle on the front nine before tacking on three more at Nos. 10, 15 and 16 to reach 21-under.

“I wasn’t sure we’d get 54 holes in, but I wanted to go out there with the clean mindset that we’d get 54 in,” Gibson said. “I tried to keep the pedal down and try and make as many birdies as I can. Fortunately, I was able to win by three strokes. It sets me up for another stint on the PGA TOUR so I’m excited.”

The last time a Web.com Tour tournament was shortened to 54 holes was at the 2018 North Mississippi Classic. The last time the BMW Charity Pro-Am presented by SYNNEX was shortened to 54 holes was in 2017.

With most of the golf world talking about amateur Alex Ross shooting a 15-under 57 this week, Gibson’s name has been brought up in the news. Gibson holds the world record (recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records) with a 16-under 55 as the lowest official round of golf ever recorded. Gibson accomplished the feat in 2012 at River Oaks Golf Club in Edmund, Oklahoma.

“Shooting 55 was very sweet don’t get me wrong, but I don’t want to be known for it,” Gibson said. “It’s great to validate that with a good win today, especially on television. I know what I’ve been doing is correct, I’m really happy to see it pay off.”

 

Challenge Tour – Swiss Challenge Presented by Swiss Golf

Ricardo Santos returned to the winner's circle for the first time in seven years as he claimed the Swiss Challenge Presented by Swiss Golf title with a superb six under par 65 on the final day at Golf Sempachersee, Lucerne.

The Portuguese carded a 15 under par total thanks to rounds of 65-68-71-65 and finished one shot clear of Germany’s Moritz Lampert and England’s Richard Bland on a cold and rainy day in the Swiss mountains.

In stark contrast to the scorching sunshine of day three, the final round asked different questions of the players and it was Santos who had all the answers.

He began his round with four successive birdies followed by his only bogey of the day on the fifth hole, before adding three more gains on the back nine to secure his first victory since his emotional Madeira Islands Open – Portugal triumph in 2012.

“I feel amazing,” he said. “I haven’t won a Challenge Tour event or European Tour event since 2012 so it feels really nice. I feel amazing following this win and it was a great day; I can’t feel better than that.

“I’ve felt like my game has been in really good shape this season, so I thought if I play like that then I have a really good chance of winning.

“Even in Brno at the Czech Challenge, I played really solid golf and then I played amazing golf this week too. I had the feeling that it was coming soon.”

The 36-year-old, who came second at the D+D REAL Czech Challenge last time out, enjoyed a battle with England’s Bland during the final round and the Portuguese believes playing with someone on the top of their game helped him to remain focused.

 

Sunshine Tour – Sun City Challenge

Garric Higgo showed some serious big match temperament in the final round of the Sun City Challenge, carding a three-under-par 69 to claim his first Sunshine Tour win in just three months after earning his playing card at Qualifying School.

Higgo entered the final round trailing Jaco van Zyl by two shots at four-under-par for the week. A birdie on his first hole kicked off his round but those gains were soon lost as he went on to make back-to-back bogeys after the par he made on the second. He made a birdie on the fifth hole and two pars later, he picked two birdies on the trot, on the eighth and the ninth, to turn in 34.

His back nine was just as eventful, making two bogeys and three birdies to sing for a tournament total of seven-under-par 209 and win by one shot.

“I’m still stressed but I’m sure it will sink in a bit later,” said Higgo. “I’m very happy, happy that my family was here to witness it. But it was a difficult three days but I got it done. I played really well throughout.”

He came in a share of third at the Zanaco Masters earlier in the season and has a Big Easy Tour win under his belt already, and at a very challenging Gary Player Country Club layout, Higgo proved he can compete at the highest level.

“I was in contention in Zambia and I remember on the one hole I kind of threw it away because I thought I was out of it,” revealed Higgo, “but for the whole day today I knew that whether I win or not, I will be up there. This win takes a lot of pressure off me for the rest of the year. My goal was to play some co-sanctioned events, and obviously, you need to make a certain amount of one but with the win now, it puts me ahead of schedule.”

 

ProGolf Tour - KUHN Maßkonfektion Open

With a two-stroke lead Dutchman Robbie van West has secured himself the trophy of the KUHN Maßkonfektion Open 2019. At the Golfclub Glashofen-Neusaß in Germany the 26-year-old from Eindhoven celebrates his first win of the season with a total 7 under par (68, 69, 72) moving to a career best of World No. 566.

 

Alps Tour Golf - Open de Saint Francois Region Guadeloupe

Edoardo Lipparelli claimed his first title on the Alps Tour, and after finishing three times in 2nd place, Lipparelli held back his nerves and could finally grabbed the 6,235 Euros cheque as 1st prize for the 9th Open de Saint-François – Région Guadeloupe, after co-leading the two previous rounds on beautiful Golf International de Saint-François, on the Eastern point of Guadeloupe island, in the French West Indies.

Lipparelli, 22, never left the top of the leaderboard and with solid and consistent rounds in 66-68-67 (201, -12), ended the tournament with a 2-strokes advantage over compatriot Giulio Castagnara, 24, also in his rookie season as a pro, author of the best round of the tournament with a final 65 (-6) that made him climb from 10th to 2nd place.

“I’ve been playing good for a while now, and the win finally arrived! I am very very happy and obviously satisfied of getting my first win after three second places”, said Lipparelli, who had a strong amateur career with the Italian team before turning pro in 2017, and won the French Qualifying School last March. “Today it was a tough match out there, with a lot of wind the course was playing difficult; there was a bit of pressure towards the end because many players were doing well, especially Giulio (Castagnara) with 10 under; I was 11 under with four holes to play and I knew I had to finish strong. I tried to stay focussed on my game and actually I did, I made a couple of bad shots but I recovered well with the short game, I made no bogeys today. I’m so happy I’ve made it through! It was a fantastic week here in Guadeloupe, this place is amazing, and I’ve really enjoyed it.”

 

China Tour - Lushan Open

The China Tour eventually spawned its first Chinese champion of the season. Hak Shun-yat from Hong Kong, China carded a -4 (67).

Hak Shun-yat competed in three of the past four tournaments this year and ended up with T19 and T21 respectively in the first two. He finished T2 after the first round and got even par in the second round. Then, he stood atop the list and moved into the moving day with a score of -4. However, he didn’t have a clear advantage, especially when he got double bogey on the 5thhole.

To avoid mistakes is the key to win Lushan Open. This is what he learnt here in the very beginning of this week. So, he was not frustrated by the double bogey, but turned it into an inspiration. He made remedies on the following hole no. 6 and 8 by two birdies, and got 5 birdies in back nine. Finally, he ended up that day with a 5-shot advantage.

Chinese player Zhang Huilin is the most well-placed competitor for Hak Shun-yat. He joined the leaderboard after the moving day with 7 birdies and no bogey at all. Today, they birded in turns till the 13rdhole. Hak Shun-yat was working hard on keeping the score rather close all the way. Despite a late wobble in the final hole, he finally triumphed and won his first champion over the past two years. “whoever between us wins are respectable,” he said to show his respect for Zhang.

 

Big EasyTour - Big Easy Challenge 4 – Reading

Matthew Spacey overcame a stumbling start to win his second Big Easy IGT Challenge Tour title by one shot after a final round battle with Albert Venter and Hendrikus Stoop on a tense and dramatic day at Reading Country Club.

It was not all plain sailing for the Dainfern golfer, who led the fourth event of the season by two shots after earlier rounds of 68 and 64.

Spacey was on the ropes at one stage after a run of three bogeys from the fifth hole, but got himself back in contention with an eagle at the par five eighth. Two birdies on the back nine, coupled with bogeys from Venter and Stoop, saw the trio head down the last hole tied for the lead.

Spacey drained a 35-foot birdie putt for a round of 70 and celebrated a one-shot victory on 11-under-par 202 after both his playing partners made pars.

Stoop and Venter shared second after posting rounds of 68. Michael Pfeifer carded 67 to finish in fourth on nine under, while rookie Carlo Heunis signed for the same number to finish in fifth on his own a further stroke back.

Win number two came with a R10 000 pay-day, which catapulted Spacey to the number one spot in the Road to Sunshine Tour.

“I’m absolutely delighted,” said the 28 year old, “The goal was to win and although I made a sketchy start, I hung tough, turned things around with the eagle and was able to produce a strong finish.”