KISNER WINS MATCH PLAY JUMPING TO WORLD NO.25
WGC – Dell Technologies Match Play
Kevin Kisner defeated Matt Kuchar 3 & 2 in the championship match, the biggest victory of Kisner's career when he holed a 20-foot birdie putt to close out Matt Kuchar, 3 and 2, in the chilly championship match at Austin Country Club.
He became the first player to win Match Play after losing in the championship match the previous year. That one wasn't close, as Bubba Watson raced out to a big lead and ended the match in 12 holes.
Kisner never trailed against Kuchar, though it was tight at the turn until Kuchar made too many mistakes. He missed a 12-foot putt on the 10th that would have tied the match, and on his next swing put his tee shot into the water on the par-3 11th.
Kisner, equipped with a 2-up lead, took it from there. He halved holes by making putts from 6 feet and 4 feet, and then seized control on the 15th when Kuchar's chip was too strong and led to another lost hole.
He won for the third time in his career, this victory worth $1,745,000.
"It's tough to maintain the high level of play the entire tournament," Kuchar said. "You hope to do it and I feel like I've kind of built a game that I could rely on playing some good, steady golf. But I gave too many holes away. I knew against Kisner I couldn't do it, and he just plodded along ... and let me make mistakes. And that was good playing by Kevin."
PGA Tour - Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship
Graeme McDowell won the Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship on Sunday for his first PGA TOUR title since 2016, closing with a 3-under 69 for a one-stroke victory over Chris Stroud and Mackenzie Hughes.
"This is big. This is big. ... It's been a rough few years," said McDowell, the 39-year-old from Northern Ireland.
McDowell took the lead from Stroud with a 7-foot birdie putt on the par-3 17th and closed with a bogey -- lagging a 30-foot par putt to inches -- on the par-4 18th. Stroud bogeyed the final two holes in a 69. Hughes also closed with a bogey for a 66.
McDowell set up the two-stroke swing on 17 with a 6-iron shot.
"I was standing on 16 green, I said to myself, `You've got to do something that's tournament winning,'" McDowell said. "The shot to 17 was tournament-winning level. ... I've been struggling with my long-iron play all week, medium- and long-iron play. It's a shot I've been working on on the range the last few days and it was a perfect 6-iron, it was a perfect number for me, and when it came off the bat I knew it was pretty good."
McDowell finished at 18-under 270, rebounding from an opening 73 with consecutive 64s to take a one-stroke lead over Stroud into the final round. The 2010 U.S. Open champion, McDowell won his fourth PGA TOUR title.
"To be honest, Graeme earned it," Stroud said. "He hit some great shots and 17 is a perfect example. He hit a lot of good shots today and didn't get rewarded. He got rewarded there."
Asian and European Tour – Hero India Open
Scotland’s Stephen Gallacher staged a remarkable comeback by firing three birdies in his closing four holes to close with a one-under-par 71 and win the Hero Indian Open 2019.
His winning total of nine-under-par 279 was just enough to give him a one-shot triumph over Japan’s Masahiro Kawamura at the S$1.75 million event which was held at the DLF Golf and Country Club.
Starting the round with a three-shot deficit, the 44-year-old Gallacher stayed patient to overcome a roller-coaster round where he recovered from a horrible quadruple-bogey on hole seven to take home a winner’s prize purse of US$291,660.
Kawamura had the opportunity to force a play-off with Gallacher at the last but could not take it into extra time as he could only make par. The Japanese settled for second place on his own following a 73.
Local prospects Rashid Khan (70) and S. Chikkarangappa (74) finished as the highest-placed Indians in tied-10th position at the event which was celebrating its 55th edition this week.
Finland’s Kalle Samooja aced the 12th hole from 127 metres with his pitching wedge, marking the first time in the history of the Indian Open that three hole-in-ones were made in the same year.
Sunshine Tour - Mopani Redpath Greendoor Logistics Zambia Open
Daniel van Tonder hadn’t won in nearly five years until he pulled off a one-stroke victory on Sunday in the Mopani Redpath Greendoor Logistics Zambia Open at Nkana Golf Club.
On a course which yielded just four 72-hole totals that were under par, he closed with a two-under 70 to move to five-under for the week and a one-stroke victory over Callum Mowat. Neil Schietekat and Jacques Blaauw shared third on one-under, three shots further back.
“It feels great,” said van Tonder. “I was close a few times last year. I’ve been up and down, and inconsistent here and there, but I changed balls and since then I’ve become more consistent.”
He started the final round as if he meant to put daylight between himself and his challengers with three birdies in the first four holes, but bogeys on eight, 10 and 11 brought him back to the field.
He birdied 12, but Mowat was always within striking distance and it wasn’t until he birdied 16 that he felt he could breathe easy.
“Once I got the final birdie on 16, I felt I could relax,” he said. “On 17, I wanted to make a birdie to have a two-shot cushion. I knew 18 was driveable, but after seeing Mowat making par there, I knew I didn’t have to go for the green.”
He put his approach just over the green into the fringe, and elected to putt from there. “That putt from off the green on 18 was straight into the grain,” he said. “I felt I could chip it in but I knew I could make an easy two-putt and it would be fine.”
That decision was emblematic of the way his game has rounded out since his last win – and one of the reasons for that is the relationship with his caddie, wife Abigail. “My caddie lets me be aggressive like I want to be. There’s no-one holding me back and she keeps me positive.
“She said I should do what I felt like doing on 18,” he said. “I felt like laying up, but before I hit it, I asked her if she though I needed to go for the green. She looked at me, but I laughed and said, ‘Let’s lay up!’”
Through all that, it was his insistence on continuing to use driver on a course that was clearly punishing wayward tee shot severely throughout the week that eventually set him apart – and recalled the days of his early Sunshine Tour wins which came with freewheeling adventurousness.
Web.com Tour - Savannah Golf Championship
Dan McCarthy built a two-shot lead and then held off a charging Scottie Scheffler to win the Savannah Golf Championship with a 16 under total. McCarthy left the door open when he missed a 12-foot birdie putt on the par-5 18th hole, but Scheffler missed a 6-foot birdie putt of his own that could have forced a playoff. McCarthy rolled in a short par putt to cap off a final-round 69 and his first win in 45 starts on the Web.com Tour.
“I was almost crying after that putt went in,” said McCarthy, who moves to No. 8 in The 25 standings. “Scottie and Tim (Madigan) both came up and gave me a hug, I almost teared up.”
McCarthy started Sunday’s final round 13 under and tied atop the leaderboard with Scheffler and Tim Madigan. The momentum started to turn on the 10th hole, as McCarthy took a one-stroke lead when he made birdie and Scheffler bogeyed to drop to 14 under.
A birdie on No. 13 moved McCarthy to 16 under and pushed his lead to three over Scheffler. Three holes later, the score was tied after Scheffler birdied Nos. 14-16, his fourth streak of three or more birdies this week. The deadlock was short lived, however, as Scheffler failed to save par from the bunker on the par-3 17th and walked to the closing par 5 facing a one-shot deficit.
With McCarthy safely in the fairway short of the green in two, Scheffler lined up his second shot and flared his 4-iron high and right – a miss he said he fought all day – and found the greenside bunker. Moments later, McCarthy hit a wedge to 12 feet and kept the pressure in Scheffler’s corner.
Scheffler’s bunker shot for eagle scared the hole, producing a near-miss reaction from hundreds in front of the Deer Creek clubhouse, and left him with a six-foot putt for birdie.
“He hit a ridiculous bunker shot that made my heart leap out of my chest,” McCarthy said. “I thought that was going in and then I thought I had to make mine for a tie.”
Neither McCarthy nor Scheffler made their birdie putts, which meant McCarthy's 3-footer for par earned him a spot in the winner's circle.
“You don’t know that you can do it until you actually do it out here,” McCarthy said. “It’s been a slow start to the year. I’ve played pretty well but I just really couldn’t get the putter going. And finally this week it just all opened up. It means the world.”
PGA Tour LatinoAmerica – Buenaventura Classic
Jared Wolfe a Kentucky native, settled for a five-shot victory over a trio of players—Mito Pereira, Mitchell Meissner and Ryan Ruffels. The win was Wolfe’s third career PGA TOUR Latinoamérica title and his third in his last 17 starts, tracing to 2017.
Any thought of drama unfolding during Saturday’s final round of the season-opening event at Buenaventura Golf Club slowly fizzled when none of the chasers were able to make a dent in Wolfe’s advantage. Pereira had a birdie on No. 3 to close the gap to one, but Wolfe birdied two of his first six holes. Even a bogey at No. 7 didn’t seem to slow him, and by the time he made the turn to the back nine, the two-shot lead he held when the day began had ballooned to five strokes. Wolfe made sure to minimize mistakes, and he coasted from there, with birdies at 11, 14 and 16, rendering his last two miscues moot.
Wolfe not only wins the U.S. $31,500 first-place prize money, but he also takes the early lead in the Bupa Challenge. Players who earn the most money in the Challenge’s four designated events—here and at events in the Dominican Republic and Brazil—earn a $10,000 bonus.
“It feels great to win anything, but especially out here on this Tour. I love this Tour. It’s great, and to start the season off with a win is more than I could have asked for,” Wolfe said following this triumph that puts him in solid position to return to the Web.com Tour in 2020, a place Wolfe played in 2018. “To start the season off with a win is more than I could ask for.”
PGA Tour Series China - Chongqing Championship
After relinquishing the lead on the 12th hole during the final round of the PGA TOUR Series-China season-opener—an advantage Taihei Sato had held each of the first three rounds—the Japanese player recovered enough to still have an opportunity to win the Chongqing Championship in regulation. Sato faced a six-foot, right-to-left-breaking birdie putt that would have secured the victory. But it was a putt he couldn’t get to drop. All that miss did, though, was prolong the ecstasy he would feel later when he defeated China’s Yanwei “William” Liu on the third playoff hole, becoming the first player from Japan to win on this Tour.
With the earliest playoff to a season in Series history unfolding, Sato and Liu both went par-birdie on the first and second extra holes—held on Poly Golf Club’s par-5 18th. The playoff then moved to the par-3 17th hole. Both players hit the green with their tee shots, but Liu couldn’t convert his 23-foot birdie putt and Sato could—from 11 feet.
“It wasn’t the first win in my career, but this might be the best,” Sato said, a pink lei draped around his neck. “I’m very happy to win the first event especially when there were so many good players in the field.
“I was playing so well all week,” he continued, “so I was getting desperate to win. I’m really happy that I won.”
ALPS Tour Golf – Dreamland Pyramids Open
Austrian Lukas Nemecz, 29, is the third winner of the 2019 Alps Tour season after catching the biggest prize in the Dreamland Pyramids Open, the first of the three tournaments of the “Second Swing” of the Egypt Winter Series hosted by three different venues in Cairo.
Nemecz was already leading yesterday on Dreamland GC with a three strokes margin, and he kept the same advantage today finishing on 204 (-12) with a final round in 70 (-2), three strokes clear of Italian Edoardo Lipparelli, 22, author of a great comeback from 10th position with a bogeyfree 66 (-6). In third position, on -8, his fellow compatriot Lorenzo Scalise, 23 (a 66 on last round for him, too) tied with brilliant French amateur Thomas Le Berre, 23, and Englishman James Sharp, 27, who dropped one position compared to the previous day with a 71 (-1).
“I’ve not been playing as good as the previous two days» said Nemecz, from Graz, winner of Gosser Open in 2017, «I did not hit as many fairways, but I’ve putted well – the greens are very difficult here! – and that kept me in the game. I remained very patient although in the end it was pretty close – on the 15th tee I was only one stroke clear of Lipparelli – but then I had two birdies on 15 and 16, so the gap was more comfortable”.
“I think the key was actually the big move I made yesterday, a three strokes margin of course made it easier. Last year I was struggling with my putting, I’ve done a lot of work in the winter with my coach and it is really great that it has paid off already. Obviously I’m very very happy, also because now I’ve reached my younger brother Tobias (who had 2 wins on Alps Tour in 2014, ed.)”.
ProGolf Tour – Open Ocean
On the second day of the Open Ocean 2019 in Agadir in Morocco Englishman James Wilson played the "best round" of his life and with his score of 62 lays the cornerstone for his first tournament success on the Pro Golf Tour. After 54 holes the professional from Liverpool shares 1st place with Frenchman Antoine Rozner, but in the playoff Wilson secures himself the trophy thanks to a sensational teeshot right at the first extra hole.
Wilson earned 4 Ranking Points jumping from 1498 to World No.883.