HONDA WIN TAKES MITCHELL TO WORLD NO.68
PGA Tour – The Honda Classic
Keith Mitchell made a 15-foot birdie putt on the final hole Sunday to win The Honda Classic for his first PGA TOUR victory jumping from World No. 162 to a career best of Word No.68.
Mitchell closed with a 3-under 67 to finish at 9-under 271 at PGA National, a stroke ahead of Brooks Koepka and Rickie Fowler.
"I was trying to focus on what was going on," Mitchell said. "My mind started wandering there a little bit at the end ... and then I hit a great putt."
Mitchell was tied for the lead after 36 holes, and was tied for second going into Sunday. He birdied four of his final seven holes for his first win as a pro -- including stints on the Web.com Tour and PGA TOUR Latinoamerica.
All he had to do for that victory was hold off two of the game's best in Koepka and Fowler. Koepka shot a 66, and Fowler a 67. They both made birdied the 18th, and Fowler had a huge charge late to get to 8 under -- with three birdies in his final four holes, including a 45-footer on the 17th.
But Mitchell didn't waver in the wind.
He was on the upslope of a fairway bunker about 205 yards from the pin for his second shot at the par-5 18th. All he could do from there was hit a pop-up, leaving him with a wedge in for his third.
That checked up about 15 feet below the hole, giving him a putt to win. He made it, pumped his fist and waited for the final group of Wyndham Clark and Vijay Singh to finish about five minutes later.
European Tour – Oman Open
Kurt Kitayama produced a remarkable comeback at Al Mouj Golf to win his second European Tour title of the season at the Oman Open.
The American was a single shot off the lead after 36 holes of the weather delayed event but started his third round with a quadruple bogey eight and dropped further shots on the second and third before darkness ended proceedings on day three.
That left him seven shots off the lead heading into a marathon Sunday of 33 holes but he made six birdies and an eagle to sign for a 71 and keep his hopes alive heading into round four.
He was still two shots back with three holes to play on an attritional final day but birdies on the 16th and 17th saw him sign for a 70 and get to seven under, a shot clear of Spaniard Jorge Campillo, German Maximilian Kieffer, Frenchman Clément Sordet and Paraguay's Fabrizio Zanotti.
Kitayama came through all three stages of the Qualifying School to earn his rookie season and now has two wins in just 11 European Tour starts after his victory at the Afrasia Bank Mauritius Open at Anahita.
Asian and PGA Tour of Australasia – 100th New Zealand Open
Australian Zach Murray has claimed his first win since turning professional with victory in the 100th New Zealand Open in Queenstown.
Zach MurrayThe 21-year-old from country Victoria almost managed to maintain the relaxed facade on show through three previous rounds at The Hills and Millbrook.
His composure was tested on 18 after a wild tee shot, and a second shot which flew well over the green, before making it down for bogey to win by two strokes from compatriot Ashley Hall and New Zealand’s Josh Geary.
Murray, who previously won the ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia’s WA Open as an amateur, claimed the Brodie Breeze Cup and takes home $AUS211,724 for the win, along with a further $AUS11,292 as part of the winning pro-am team.
Starting the final round with a one-stroke lead over Geary, Murray had fallen back to the pack early on the back-9 before an eagle and two birdies from the 13th to 15th holes propelled him towards a winning score of 4-under 68 for the round and 21-under 266 for the tournament.
Murray is believed to be the first wire-to-wire winner in the New Zealand Open since Sir Bob Charles in 1954.
“Starting my career like this is so huge and to win the 100th New Zealand Open - I don’t really think words can describe that,” said Murray.
“I’ve etched my name in history a little bit, which is really good and I’ll come back and support this tournament as long as I’m a professional. I’m looking forward to playing this tournament for the rest of my life.
Nordic Golf League - Lumine Hills Open
With a final round in -4 Emilio Cuartero Blanco won a relatively safe victory at the Nordic Golf League Lumine Hills Open in -14 in front of Fredrik Niléhn and Linus Väisänen in -11.
Cuartero Blanco earned 4 ranking points jumping 269 spots from 925 to World No. 656.
Nordic Golf League - Lumine Lakes Open
Fredrik Niléhn won the Lumine Lakes Open.The 22-year-old finished 20 under par after rounds of 66, 63 and 65.
Fredrik became a professional at the turn of the year and has now played four competitions on the Nordic golf League 4 top ten and a win.
Fredrik's games mean that he now leads the Nordic Golf Leagues ranking where the top five when the season is finished, get tour cards for the European Challenge Tour.
Alps Tour Golf - Red Sea Little Venice Open
Englishman Ben Wheeler won the Red Sea Little Venice Open, his first title of his professional career. Italians Enrico Di Nitto and Federico Maccario – leaders respectively after the first and the second rounds – both missed their second putts and had to settle for sharing second place on another quite windy day in Egypt.
The three talented players had finished their third round tied at -6 – with Di Nitto returning the best card, a 68 (-4) after a disappointing second round ; Maccario dropping one shot compared to the -7 he had on the previous day ; and Wheeler adding a 69 to the 68-73 he had on his records.
Maccario and Di Nitto have both already won Alps Tour events in the past, but on Sokhna GC course, at last, it was Ben Wheeler’s time: “It’s such a relief” he said, after holing a not-so-easy 3-ft putt, when his opponents had already missed from a slightly further distance for bogeys. “I had been close a few times, especially last year, so I was really waiting for this moment” he conceded, “although I’m a bit surprised it happened in such windy conditions, usually I don’t like them at all”.
Ben, 26, from South London, had joined Alps Tour back in 2016 having finished 6th in the Qualifying School, and collected 7 more “top tens” since; in 2018 he ended in 12th position in the Order of Merit, playing 15 tournaments and totalling about 12.500 points. Now, after two tournaments he has already 6.500 points to his credit – more than a half than last year – and shares the leadership of the OoM with Frenchman Frederic Lacroix, winner of the first tournament of the 2019 Alps Tour schedule, the Ein Bay Open.
Experienced Argentinian Rafa Echenique had the best comeback with a round in 66 (-6), made of six birdies and one bogey in the front nine holes, followed by two more birdies and a bogey on the back nine, and shared fourth place with Englishman Jack Clarkson, at -5.
MENA Tour - Ghala Golf Open
Nick Marsh overcame a sensational final-round charge by Robin Roussel with an equally fantastic finish that saw him play the last five holes of Ghala Golf Club in five-under par and win the MENA Tour by Arena event by two shots on Wednesday.
Frenchman Roussel, starting the day four shots behind the champion, shot a course-record nine-under par 63 and had caught up with England’s Marsh with four holes to play.
Marsh, who closed with a 65, was on the 14th hole at that point and unaware of Roussel’s score. The 24-year-old, who was ranked as high as 14 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking before turning pro, then made birdies on the 14th, 15th and 18th, but the killer blow was an eagle on the par-5 16th.
Marsh eventually finished on 18-under par 198, two better than Challenge Tour player Roussel, in the 54-hole tournament that carried a total purse of $75,000. He also earned an invitation to the Andalucia – Costa del Sol Match Play (May 17-20) on the European Challenge Tour.
Scotland’s Craig Ross added a 66 to his 65 yesterday and joined England’s Max Smith (68) in tied third place at 13-under par, while Australia’s Daniel Gaunt, winner last week at Al Zorah in Ajman, was fifth at 204 despite a 69.
In the Amateurs’ category, Dubai-based 14-year-old Josh Hill (71) and England’s Curtis Knipes (70) were declared joint winners at seven-under par 209. It was a creditable effort by the two amateurs as they finished tied ninth in the overall results.
It was Marsh’s second win as a professional, following the Dawson and Sanderson Classic on the EuroPro Tour in 2017, and he was delighted with the way he handled the situation.