LEWIS WINS KORN FERRY TOUR CHAMPIONSHIP
Korn Ferry Tour - Korn Ferry Tour Championship presented by United Leasing & Finance
Tom Lewis carded a final-round 65 to win by five strokes at the Korn Ferry Tour’s season-ending Korn Ferry Tour Championship presented by United Leasing & Finance moving to World No. 63. Lewis joined 24 other players in earning 2019-20 membership through the Korn Ferry Tour Finals.
The Korn Ferry Tour awarded the first set of 25 PGA TOUR cards for the 2019-20 season at the conclusion of the WinCo Foods Portland Open presented by KraftHeinz in August, with a second set awarded this week after the conclusion of the Finals.
University of Texas alum Scottie Scheffler earned the top spot on both The Finals 25 and the combined points list after a T7 finish on Monday, in addition to his win and T11 finish over his previous two starts. The 23-year-old earns fully exempt status on the PGA TOUR during the 2019-20 season as well as an exemption into the 2020 PLAYERS Championship. Scheffler becomes the first player to top both lists since Chesson Hadley in 2017.
"It's great to be able to play in THE PLAYERS next year," said Scheffler, who finished with 10 top-10s and two wins in 20 starts this year. "I have some family close by in Jacksonville so it will be nice to have them come out to the event. It's awesome to be able to compete against one of the best fields in golf, and becoming fully exempt, to be able to set my schedule, that's huge."
Lewis lapped the field after two separate strings of three birdies in a row during the final round. After collecting birdies at the third and fifth, countered by a bogey at the sixth, Lewis tacked on six more from Nos. 8-10 and 15-17. His 29 birdies this week was five more than anyone else in the field.
“It's always been a dream of mine to play on the PGA TOUR,” said Lewis, who finished T11 in the 2019 Open Championship. “Obviously I've achieved some good things on the European Tour and hopefully I can achieve better things on the PGA TOUR. I'm looking forward to the year I've got ahead, just to see what the future brings.”
European Tour – Omega European Masters
Sebastian Soderberg came through a five-man play-off featuring World Number Two Rory McIlroy to win his first European Tour title at the Omega European Masters breaking into the World Top 200 for the first time at World No. 107.
The Swede started the day four shots off the lead and remained there at the turn before he made five birdies in a row to surge to the top of the leaderboard.
A three putt on the 17th then dropped him into the play-off at 14 under with playing partners McIlroy and Lorenzo Gagli, Andres Romero and Kalle Samooja as we went to extra holes at Crans-sur-Sierre Golf club for the sixth time in seven years.
The 28-year-old holed a ten-footer for birdie on the first trip back up the last and, with McIlroy and Samooja missing birdie attempts from closer range, the trophy was his.
It was a thrilling finish to an enthralling day as all the main contenders came to life in the closing stages to take the event to a record equalling 13th play-off in its history.
Victory for Soderberg comes in his 50th European Tour event after he came through the Qualifying School in 2016 and the European Challenge Tour last season.
He has two wins on the Challenge Tour but sat 120th on the Race to Dubai coming into this week after securing a top five on home soil at last week's Scandinavian Invitation.
Japan Golf Tour – RIZAP KBC Augusta
24-year-old Kazuki Higa won his first Japan Golf Tour victory at RIZAP KBC Augusta on his 3rd year at the Tour. Kazuki's winning putt was 5-meter eagle and won with a 5 shot lead. The score of 26 under is the Tournament's record for most under par total.
Kazuki was leader by 3 shots coming into the Final Round. His family flew in from Okinawa on the first plane to cheer for him. At one time, his lead was shortened to only 2 shots, but he kept his calmness and went on to play his own golf.
But Kazuki's poker face was all gone, when he burst in to tears as his family pledged him with joy at 18th green side. At the winner's interview, Kazuki couldn't hold his tears and said, "My family has been supporting me so much" and hid his face under a towel.
Challenge Tour - KPMG Trophy
Dale Whitnell overcame “ten long years” as a professional golfer and a two-hole play-off against Laurie Canter to emerge victorious at the KPMG Trophy.
The Englishman began the final round three back of the lead, but birdied half of Millennium Golf and made only one bogey to card an eight under par 63 and post the 23 under par target.
Playing in the final group, his fellow countryman Canter eagled the 72nd hole to send the tournament to a play-off, and after both players birdied the first extra hole, they played the 18th once more.
For a sixth time this week, Whitnell birdied the par five and sealed victory when Canter failed to make an up and down after hitting it through the green in two.
“It changes my life completely,” an emotional Whitnell said. “I’ve been pro for ten years, it’s been very tough but finally I’ve done it. I’m speechless to be honest, it’s been a long ten years. Finally.”
“I had been playing good coming up to this week. I struggled the first day a little bit, but the second day I shot seven under and played great, and then shot seven under the third day.
“Today I thought, right, I’ll just go and enjoy myself and try to pick away a few holes where there are opportunities. I managed my game really well, which was quite important.”
The win brings an enormous bounty for the 31-year-old, who had been battling just to get starts on the European Challenge Tour. Despite limited playing opportunities this season, he will move from 53rd to 17th on the Road to Mallorca Rankings and now finds himself staring down a European Tour card.
“I’ve played seven events on the Challenge Tour this season and this obviously sorts me out for the rest of the year, which is what I wanted to do, so I’m really pleased.”
EuroPro Tour - PREM Group Irish Masters
Marco Penge’s long-awaited search for a victory on the PGA EuroPro Tour has ended clinching The PREM Group Irish Masters title at Tulfarris Hotel and Golf Resort.
Penge (Golf at Goodwood) finished one clear on the final day with rounds of 66, 67 and 71 to move to second in the Race To Desert Spring rankings.
A maiden victory on the Tour has been close many times already this season for Penge but he finally prevailed in Ireland. He said: “I’m over the moon. A bit emotional and speechless. But yeah, I am buzzing.”
“I played this course last year and I was in a great position to win and I didn’t get it across the line. I hit it pretty good this week. It’s still not quite where I want it. My putting saved me today thank god after missing a two-footer earlier on.”
Alasdair Plumb (Host My House) didn’t make life easy for Penge though, with a final round of 67 (-5) to go with his earlier 70 and 68 to give him his first top three finish on the tour in only his fifth event of the season.
Clubhouse leader from round one, Adam Chapman (Windermere Golf Club) recovered from a bad day on Thursday to post a final day round of 65 (-7) for the best round of the day to finish third.
Big Easy Tour - Big Easy Challenge 10 – EPRM
Coert Groenewald claimed his maiden Big Easy IGT Challenge Tour title in a thrilling final round battle with Peetie van der Merwe and Ruan Korb on Wednesday.
“It wasn’t pretty, but I am so thrilled to have pulled it through,” said the 28-year-old after his one-shot triumph on 10-under-par 206 at ERPM Golf Club.
Groenewald led the field with an opening 66, but he started the final round three shots behind leaders Ruan de Smidt and Jeff Inglis after carding 71 in the second round.
“The last round was just as topsy-turvy as the second round, but the difference was that I countered every bogey I made today with a birdie and that eagle on 17 did the rest,” said the champion. “I’ve been striking the ball really well in the last two, three weeks, but I haven’t been able to score well. The short-game and putting is not there yet, but I’ll take the win; it feels pretty sweet to bag a trophy again, even if it was with yo-yo golf.”
De Smidt and Inglis had a one-shot lead at the start of the final day but the experienced pair faded early on. Inglis compounded a double-bogey start with further bogeys and De Smidt’s title run ended with a double bogey-bogey combination after the turn.
Meanwhile Korb had eagles either side of a double bogey at the third, and the Silver Lakes took pole position on 12-under with birdies on six and eight.
“I was just treading water,” Groenewald said. “Birdie start, three-putt bogey at the third. Birdie at six, but back-to-back bogeys at eight and nine. I was very calm today; I never got frazzled. Not even when I dropped those two shots. And I managed to pull it back to one-under with birdies at 10 and 11.