WEEK 20 Phil Mickelson 25 consecutive years inside the World Top 50

Week 18

KORHONEN BACK IN TOP 100

Asian and European Tour – Volvo China Open

Finland’s Mikko Korhonen ensured his first play-off duel would end in victory when he drained an eight-foot birdie putt on the first playoff hole to defeat Frenchman Benjamin Hebert and win the Volvo China Open on Sunday jumping from 121 to a career best of World No. 84.

Together with Spain’s Jorge Campillo, the Finn began his final round at the Genzon Golf Club three shots back of Hebert in a share of second place with the Spaniard.

The trio were tussling for the lead for much of the day and were all tied at 19-under-par when they approached the 17th tee.

Korhonen gained an advantage with his birdie after Campillo and Hebert both made par there.

Hebert, who started the day with a three-shot lead over his two playing partners, however forced the contest into extra-time when he converted his birdie chance on 18 for a final round three-under-par 69.

Campillo bowed out after signing for a 67, leaving Hebert and Korhonen to head back to the 18th tee after they both finished regulation play with their four-day total of 20-under-par 268.

The Finn would then make no mistake with his birdie putt from 10 feet to win the Volvo China Open.

Li Haotong had a birdie-birdie finish to thank for lifting him to outright fourth place and also emerging as the best Chinese player at their National Open.

 

PGA TOUR – Wells Fargo Championship

Closing with a 4-under 67 Max Homa pulled away from the field to win the Wells Fargo Championship jumping 315 spots to a career best of World No. 102.

Homa began the back nine with two birdies to build a four-shot lead and didn't make any mistakes until it only affected the final margin.

Joel Dahmen saved par with a tough chip over the creek for a 70 and finished three shots behind.

Homa, who won the NCAA title at Cal in 2013, won for the first time in his 68th start as a pro. The victory gets him into the PGA Championship in two weeks at Bethpage Black and the Masters next April.

But what a turnaround for the 28-year-old Californian.

Homa was at No. 829 in the world when he got his third crack at the PGA TOUR in October. Two seasons ago, he made only two cuts in 17 tournaments, missing the 54-hole cut in one of them and finishing last at an opposite-field event in the other.

But he made six of seven cuts coming into Quail Hollow and played like he belonged.

"Confidence takes a lot of anxiety away," he said Saturday night as he prepared to play in the final group for the first time.

Homa never flinched, effectively sealing it with a long shot up the hill and onto the green at the par-5 15th for a two-putt birdie, saving par to keep a three-shot lead going to the final hole and drilling his tee shot down the fairway. He wrapped it up with a 10-foot par putt to finish at 15-under 269.

"Over the moon, man," he said before going to sign his card. "It means a lot to do it under pressure, and job security is great. I haven't had that."

The victory was worth $1,422,000 -- about $454,000 more than he had made in his previous 67 starts -- and gives him a two-year exemption, along with a tee time at Bethpage Black in two weeks. The only other major Homa played was the 2013 U.S. Open at Merion, a month after his NCAA title.

 

WEB.com Tour - Nashville Golf Open Benefitting the Snedeker Foundation

Robby Shelton surrendered a three-stroke lead Sunday with four consecutive bogeys to start his round but rallied late with a birdie at the last before winning in a playoff over Scottie Scheffler at the Nashville Golf Open Benefitting the Snedeker Foundation. He finished with a winning score of 15-under 273, just enough to sneak past Scheffler, who posted a final-round low, 8-under 64 to force an extra hole.

“It feels amazing. To finally get it done means so much to me,” said Shelton, who closed with a 1-under 71. “I’ve been grinding for two to three years now, and it just hasn’t all been there. This week, it was. It was like the junior days playing against Scottie. We probably played 10 times together coming down the stretch in junior golf. To bury that putt on the last was awesome.”

With the win, Shelton earned 500 Web.com Tour Points and moved up eight spots into second place in The 25 standings behind Xinjun Zhang. With the estimated total of 830 points needed to secure a PGA TOUR card, he is poised to play on the TOUR with 1,058 points through the first 10 events. Scheffler also likely secured a TOUR card by moving to No. 3 in the standings with 1,015 points.

“It’s been my dream since I was a little kid,” Shelton said. “I’ve been wanting it ever since I was 4 years old and had a golf club in my hand. It really hasn’t sunk in yet, honestly. It probably will on the ride home, but I don’t know, we’ll see. I’m super excited.”

 

Challenge Tour - Challenge de España

Antoine Rozner carded an incredible five under par back nine to clinch the 2019 Challenge de España title by four shots at Izki Golf.

The Frenchman began the day three strokes behind overnight leader Sebastian Garcia Rodriguez, but surged ahead after gaining five shots in four holes, signing for a bogey-free round of 66, six under par, to seal his first European Challenge Tour victory.

The 26-year-old started the round with a birdie on the first before carding 11 consecutive pars. As overnight leader Garcia Rodriguez made back-to-back bogeys on the 12th and 13th holes, Rozner made his move, holing a 15-foot birdie putt on the 13th.

He followed that up with another gain on the par three 14th, before producing the shot of the day, holing out for eagle from 123-yards from the 15th fairway. His advantage was extended with a final birdie of the day on the 16th and returned home with back-to-back pars to be crowned the 20th anniversary Challenge de España champion.

“It’s amazing. I don’t know if I’m realising what has happened yet,” he said. “I played really well the whole week and I’m so happy I turned out to be the winner.

“It was a bit of a frustrating round. I was playing well and hitting good putts, but they were not going in, then I had two good putts on 13 and 14.

“On 15 it was just one of those shots. I was in the rough a bit but had a good yardage and the ball got a good bounce and it rolled in the hole. It was amazing.


Asian AND KPGA Korean Golf Tour - The 38th GS Caltex Maekyung Open Golf Championship

Korea’s Taehee Lee successfully retained the trophy on home soil after prevailing on the third extra hole to complete a wire-to-wire victory at The 38th GS Caltex Maekyung Open Golf Championship on Sunday.

Lee, who shared the overnight four-shot lead with Finland’s Janne Kaske, was locked in a tight battle with the Finnish throughout the day as they closed with matching even-par 71s to tie on nine-under-par 275 after the end of regulation play at the Namseoul Country Club.

It was a birdie from six feet on the 75th hole that sealed the deal for Lee as Kaske was left to rue a bad break on the 18th fairway after his drive found a divot and his second shot would end up 20 yards short of the green. Kaske eventually three-putted for a double-bogey.

Lee took home a winner’s prize purse of US$266,798, thanks to his victory in the KR₩1,200,000,000 (approx. US$1,067,000) event, which is celebrating its 38th edition this week. It is his first Maekyung Open title and also his third professional victory on home soil.

The duo had made respective double-bogeys and bogeys on the first two holes of the play-off, held on the 433-yard par-four 18th hole, before officials made a rare decision to change to a relatively easier pin position on the green.

Lee got off to a quick start with two birdies in his opening four holes while Kaske reeled in four straight pars. Kaske sank his first birdie of the day on fifth to move within one before turning the table around on the seventh after holing an amazing second shot from 120 yards out for an eagle-two.

It was a three-shot swing for Kaske as he took over the two-shot lead from Lee, who dropped a shot on the same hole. Kaske would go on to drop a shot on the ninth but recovered well with a birdie on 12 after knocking his second shot from the right rough to about two-feet.

However, another bogey on the 14th saw him slip back into a share of lead again with Lee, who chipped in for birdie on the par-five hole. The duo went neck and neck coming down the stretch, both dropping shots on 16 and 17.

An errant drive from Kaske on the 72nd hole saw his second shot from the fairway bunker land just short right of the green. His chip from the fringe came up about 18 feet short the hole on this extremely difficult green. However, Kaske held his nerves and made that clutch putt to ensure his place in the sudden play-off.

Korea’s Daehyun Kim returned with the day’s best score of a 65 to take third place on 276 while last year’s winner Sanghyun Park settled three shots back in fourth following a second consecutive 69 at the storied event.

 

Japan Golf Tour – The Crowns

Katsumasa Miyamoto won the Crowns earning 16 Ranking points, moving from World No. 765 to World No. 334.

 

Sunshine Tour - Investec Royal Swazi Open

Martin Rohwer claimed his first Sunshine Tour title in spectacular fashion as he led from the opening to the closing round of this season’s edition of the Investec Royal Swazi Open in eSwatini jumping from 855 to World No. 374.

He was co-leader with England’s James Allan after the opening round on a total of 18 Modified Stableford format points. A 12-point haul in the second round saw him take solo lead with 30 points in round two. He backed up that round with another 18 points to take his tally to 48 so that he had a six-point lead heading into the final round. He didn’t relent in the final round, earning himself 11 more points which took his total to 59 and delivering him maiden victory in the process.

“It feels unbelievable to be honest,” said Rohwer of his form in eSwatini. “It justifies the fact that I can maintain a lead and play under that type of pressure in a four-round tournament instead of the three-round tournament. Hopefully, I can use that experience in the future.”

In a format like the Modified Stableford, there was always going to be pressure from all over and in the final round, players like Jake Roos and Steve Surry who both came second with 47 points, Rohwer showed maturity to not throw his lead away at any stage of the final round.

“For me, the key was keeping the ball in play,” he said, “and, hitting a lot of good irons. I never, really, got short-sided or I didn’t really look like making a bogey. I kept things stress-free from that point of view. But I played well the whole week; I stayed patient. I had a game plan and I stuck to it and I’m glad it paid off.”

Sharing the fourth spot behind Surry and Roos was the duo of Zimbabwe’s Stephen Ferreira and veteran Jean Hugo with 45 points. Thriston Lawrence’s great form continued as he and Jaco Prinsloo took up the sixth spot on the final leaderboard with a total of 44 points while it was Vaughn Groenewald who came eighth, a point short of Lawrence and Prinsloo’s total.

 

PGA Tour LatinoAmerica - Puerto Plata Open

Cristóbal Del Solar pulled even with Scott Wolfes on the 17th hole. Del Solar then won the tournament by making a birdie a hole later to defeat Wolfes by a shot. In the process, Del Solar won on PGA TOUR Latinoamerica for a second consecutive season.

With a one-shot lead, after making birdie at the 16th with a one-foot, tap-in birdie, Wolfes bogeyed the 17th hole while Del Solar, winner of the 2018 Abierto OSDE del Centro, made his seventh consecutive par, the duo even with a hole to play. On the par-5 18th, Del Solar hit his 52-degree wedge shot from 120 yards to inches of the hole, the shot coming close to dropping into the cup. Meanwhile, Wolfes missed his approach shot left. His chip-in attempt for birdie, from 12 yards, went six feet past the pin.

“I’m happy with the way I finished, hitting that shot on 18, almost holing it out. It’s something that golfers dream of. I’m excited I got to do that,” Del Solar said.

 

Nordic Golf League - Bravo Tours Open presented by Visit Tønder 

Niclas Johansson won the Bravo Tours Open presented by Visit Tønder, earning 4 Ranking points moving from World No. 1504 to World No.944.

 

Big Easy Tour - Big Easy Challenge 2 – Observatory

Yurav Premlall hit the global headlines last year as the youngest amateur to qualify for and make the cut in the South African Open Championship at Randpark Golf Club and, on Wednesday, the Glendower junior made more golfing history when he became the youngest amateur winner on the Big Easy IGT Challenge Tour.

At 15 years, 10 months and 14 days, the GolfRSA National Squad member was composure and confidence personified as he upstaged a field of professionals at Observatory Golf Club with a masterful display to close out a two-shot victory on 12 under.

“It feels so good. It’s hard to find the words. I’m so delighted this victory,” he gushed. “It’s just what I came here to do this week and to deliver on the job feels so good.”

Premlall is the second GolfRSA National Squad player to win on the local golf development circuits this season. In February, another Ekurhuleni junior Casey Jarvis became the youngest IGT Challenge Tour winner at 15 years, seven months and 22 days with his win at State Mines.

Premlall, Jarvis and Christiaan Burke, who finished second on 10 under, will be heading to Ireland with four more members of the squad at the end of May as part of the GolfRSA National Squad annual tour.

The troupe will play the East of Ireland Championship at County Louth Golf Club and the St Andrews Links Championship in Scotland before they travel back to Ireland to for the Amateur Championship.

“This win is a great boost before the GolfRSA National Squad Tour,” said Premlall, who attends BSI Sport Academy at Huddle Park.

“I was really happy with my top four finish in my first Big Easy IGT Challenge Tour event at Centurion two weeks ago and I learned a lot from that tournament. This week the course was incredibly tight and the set-up was tough; it really tested us.

“Christiaan and I both really enjoyed it. We are grateful to GolfRSA for giving us another invitation to play this week to gain more experience and get some more world amateur golf ranking points.”

The teenager began the final round three shots back of joint leaders Coert Groenewald and Gideon van der Vyfer, two former Sunshine Tour campaigners trying to play their way back onto the main circuit via the Big Easy IGT Challenge Tour series.