GARCIA MOVES BACK INTO THE TOP 50
PGA Tour – Sanderson Farms Championship
Sergio Garcia won his first victory on the PGA TOUR since the 2016 AT&T Byron Nelson closing with a 5-under 67 at the Sanderson Farms Championship and won for the 10th consecutive year worldwide. Garcia moves back into the World’s Top 50 at World No.38.
Garcia was two shots behind when he hit 5-wood on the par-5 14th that narrowly cleared a bunker, hitting in the top collar, onto the fringe and rolling out to just inside 4 feet for eagle to tie for the lead.
He had to save par from a bunker with a 5-foot putt on the 15th after a poor tee shot, and then he delivered the winner with a big tee shot on the 18th and an 8-iron from 171 yards. Garcia immediately began walking after the shot, and it dropped down next to the hole and settled right behind it.
Closing his eyes right before the stroke, a habit he returned to this week, he made it and clenched his fist with a grin not seen on the 40-year-old Spaniard lately.
One week after falling out of the top 50 in the world for the first time since 2011, Garcia won for the 11th time on the PGA TOUR and the 31st time worldwide. The former winner of THE PLAYERS Championship finished at 19-under 269 and he moved to No. 4 in the FedExCup standings.
European Tour - Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open
Aaron Rai defeated Tommy Fleetwood in a play-off to win his first European Tour Rolex Series title at the Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open. Rai broke into the World Top 100, jumping 95 spots to World No.88.
The Englishman signed for a wonderful 64 to set the target at 11 under but countryman Fleetwood holed a 20-foot putt on the last for a closing birdie to take it to extra holes at The Renaissance Club.
It was advantage Fleetwood off the tee as Rai found a bunker but the 25-year-old rescued his par and when Fleetwood three putted from just off the green, Rai had his second European Tour title.
England's Robert Rock missed out on a place in the play-off by one shot after a bogey on the last in a 70, with Australian Lucas Herbert and home favourite Marc Warren at nine under after rounds of 65 and 66.
Rai's victory comes after he finished second at last week's Dubai Duty Free Irish Open, and moves him into the top five on the Race to Dubai Rankings presented by Rolex.
"It's incredible," he said. "I played a lot in Scotland growing up, dreamed of playing in a European Tour event in Scotland. To be able to play in it was incredible a couple of years ago and to be able to go still further is an incredible feeling.
Sunshine Tour - Vodacom Championship Reloaded
Daniel Van Tonder wrapped up the Sunshine Tour’s five-tournament Rise-Up Series with another victory. He closed with a 66 to win the Vodacom Championship Reloaded by four strokes on 21 under par 195, moving from World No. 209 back into the top 200 at World No.196.
It marked back-to-back victories for Van Tonder after winning last week’s Vodacom Championship Unlocked. And this was also Van Tonder’s third victory in five tournaments on the Rise-Up Series after his earlier triumph in the African Bank Sunshine Tour Championship.
In fact, on this Rise-Up Series alone Van Tonder has managed to equal his three previous career victories won between 2014 and 2019.
And he also becomes the first professional to win back-to-back on the Sunshine Tour since Justin Harding in 2018, and the first to win three tournaments on the Tour since Oliver Bekker in 2017.
“It feels amazing. I’ve got the kind of confidence that I don’t feel like I need to back down for any shot on the golf course. I feel like if I can make a swing, then there’s no shot that’s too tough for me. My wife and caddie Abigail plays a big part in that because she keeps me calm on the course and gives me that confidence,” said Van Tonder.
Korn Ferry Tour - Savannah Golf Championship
Battling a crowded leader board on Sunday, Evan Harmeling emerged victorious for his first Korn Ferry Tour title, winning in a playoff over Kevin Dougherty. After making a 10-foot birdie putt on the 72nd hole to force a playoff, Harmeling won with a birdie on the first playoff hole. Harmeling jumps 322 spots from World No. 636 to World No. 314.
Harmeling entered the final round with a one-shot lead, but fell back with bogeys on Nos. 7, 8 and 12 to sit at 18-under. Dougherty seemed to take control of the situation with six birdies through his first 15 holes for a two-shot lead, but an untimely bogey on the par-3 17th brought Harmeling back into the conversation. Paired together in the final group, Dougherty’s lead was cut to one with one hole left to play.
After both players hit their third shots to approximately 10 feet on the par-5 18th, Harmeling made his birdie putt first to put the pressure on Dougherty, posting at 21-under 267.
“It really wasn’t a difficult putt,” Harmeling said. “It was just right outside edge from about 12 feet or so. It was nice that I got to go first. That was huge.”
Needing to sink his birdie putt for the win, Dougherty’s putt missed above the hole and the two headed back to No. 18 for a sudden-death playoff.
Following a perfect drive on the first extra hole, Harmeling continued to put the pressure on Dougherty, hitting his second shot to 10 feet. After finding the fairway bunker with his tee shot, Dougherty was forced to layup and failed to stick his third shot close, hitting it to 25 feet. Dougherty was unsuccessful with his birdie attempt, leaving Harmeling with an easy two-putt victory.
“I thought I did a good job of staying hungry,” said Harmeling. “I came out attacking. I definitely wasn’t comfortable coming out here with a one-shot lead. I liked the mindset that I had.”
Harmeling matched the 72-hole scoring record at 21-under 267 in the third edition of the Savannah Golf Championship. The Princeton University grad recorded the first top-10 finish in his rookie season and moved to No. 32 on the Korn Ferry Tour points list.
Challenge Tour - Italian Challenge Open Eneos Motor Oil
Hurly Long defeated Matt Ford on the second play-off hole at the end of a dramatic final day at the Italian Challenge Open Eneos Motor Oil to secure his first European Challenge Tour victory earning twelve points moving to a career best of World No. 331.
Golf Club Castelconturbia played host to a thrilling final day where the lead changed hands numerous times before Long, who posted a two under par round of 70, Ford and Marcel Schneider tied for first place on 13 under par after 54 holes, which meant a play-off was required to determine a winner.
Schneider bogeyed the first extra trip down the 18th, leaving Ford and Long to battle it out for a second time after both men recorded pars. Ford could not find the green with his approach shot and when his excellent chip narrowly missed, Long was left with a tricky downhill birdie putt which he duly converted to secure an excellent maiden victory.
“It’s a crazy feeling," he said. “I did not have a good start to the day at all. My plan was to just stick to the plan that I had been doing, not worry about the score too much and that served me well. It’s very surreal. When the putt went in, it was a bit of a shock.
“The weather’s just been incredible. There wasn’t much wind out there and the greens are receptive due to the heavy rain. If you drive it well and play aggressively off the tee, you’re going to have a lot of wedges in, the par fives are gettable and there are birdies out there for sure.”
The 25-year-old started the day two shots off the lead but after three bogeys in his first seven holes, his title quest was all but over, however a sensational run of five consecutive birdies changed the dynamic of his round.
Abema TV Tour – TI Challenge
Keisuke Otawa won the TI Challenge by 1 shot ahead of Tomoyasu Sugiyama and Naoki Sekito.
Otawa earned 4 Ranking points moving from World No. 1102 to career best World No. 728.
Nordic Golf League – Race to Himmerland by Freja
Jesper Svensson won the Race to Himmerland by Freja by 3 shots ahead of Martin Eriksson and Lasse Jensen.
Svensson earned 4 Ranking points moving from World No. 1265 to career best World No. 788.
ProGolf Tour – Castanea Resort Championship
It was double success for the Germany in the Pro Golf Tour season finale. Philipp Mejow from Berlin won the Castanea Resort Championship with 16 under par moving 753 spots to World No. 902. Whilst Thomas Rosenmüller defended his first place in the ranking with a strong final round in Adendorf and won the Pro Golf Tour Order of Merit 2020, moving to a career best of World No. 325.
In addition to the Munich native, Frenchman Julien Brun and Swiss Jeremy Freiburghaus will be moving up to the European Challenge Tour 2021 as No. 2 and 3 in the Order of Merit.
PGA Tour Canada, China and LatinoAmerica - LOCALiQ Series - The Challenge at Harbor Hills
Toni Hakula of Finland won the sixth LOCALiQ Series event by a shot over Americans Cole Miller and Kyle Wilshire and Argentina’s Jorge Fernández Valdés.
Hakula was masterful in the final round as he improved his score each day of the tournament at Harbor Hills Country Club. After opening 66-64, he put together a seven-birdie 63 Friday that was just enough to give him his first LOCALiQ Series title, a win to go with his PGA TOUR Latinoamérica Bupa Match Play title in 2018.
Alps Tour – Alps de las Castillas
Jacobo Pastor from Spain held onto his lead to emerge victor at the Alps de las Castillas with a total score of 203 (-13) securing his first victory in an international tournament.
“I’m happy, especially playing a solid round under these conditions. It was crazy. I don’t know how hard the wind was blowing but some gusts of like 80 kilometres an hour. At some point we took forever because the ball was moving on the green. Overall, it was a really, really tough day to be honest.”
Today’s scores reflect the reality of the challenges posed here at the Salamanca Golf & CC – Zarapicos with only six of the 58 players coming in under par for the day, giving a score board more like a links course in Scotland.
Jacobo Pastor teed off at -13 and at the end of the first nine was at par (36) after two birdies and two bogeys. A repeat performance for the back nine saw him finishing the round at par (72) for the day.