MCILROY WINS 12TH PGA TOUR TITLE MOVING BACK INSIDE THE TOP 10
PGA Tour - Wells Fargo Championship
Rory McIlroy won a 12th PGA TOUR title at the Wells Fargo Championship bringing his total number of victories to 27 which includes 4 Major, 3 WGC’s, and 8 European Tour titles. The win takes McIlroy back inside the Top 10 at World No.7.
After some anxious moments on the 18th hole, McIlroy salvaged a bogey for a 3-under 68 that left him at 10 under par and one ahead of Abraham Ancer (66) at the Wells Fargo Championship.
It marked McIlroy’s 12th PGA TOUR victory, and his third at the Wells Fargo (2010, ’15, ’21). This also marks the first time he’s won a tournament three times, which he called “pretty cool,” and yet that seemed relatively unimportant next to the fact that he was winning at all.
It had been 553 days since McIlroy won the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions. He came into the Wells Fargo at 15th in the Official World Golf Ranking, the lowest he’s been since late 2009, and 51st in the FedExCup.
“This is one of my favorite places in the world," said McIlroy, who picked up his first PGA TOUR title at Quail Hollow in 2010. “To break the drought and win here, it's awesome.”
European Tour - Canary Islands Championship
Garrick Higgo powered to a second win in three weeks at the 2021 Canary Islands Championship.
Just 14 days after he lifted the trophy at the Gran Canaria Lopesan Open with a European Tour record low score of 255, a closing 64 with a hole-in-one moved him to 27 under and handed him a six shot victory at Golf Costa Adeje.
Australian Maverick Antcliff was the nearest challenger, one shot clear of Finn Tapio Pulkkanen, with home favourite Adri Arnaus, last week's winner Dean Burmester, Dane Nicolai Højgaard, England's Andrew Johnston and Irishman Niall Kearney at 19 under.
But all eyes were on Higgo as he took his score across the 12 rounds of the Canary Islands Swing to 68 under and sent records tumbling.
A third European Tour win in just his 26th event makes him the fastest South African to three wins not including Majors and World Golf Championships, and he also matches the record of Tiger Woods for the fewest number of events needed to claim three European/PGA Tour wins since 1990.
The 21-year-old also becomes the fourth youngest player to three European Tour wins and beats countryman Burmester's mark for the largest winning margin on the 2021 Race to Dubai set last week.
Sunshine and Challenge Tour – Dimension Data Pro-Am
Wilco Nienaber made it a hat-trick of victories for South Africa in three consecutive weeks on the Sunshine and Challenge Tour when he won the Dimension Data Pro-Am in a playoff moving from World No. 178 to a career best of World No.131
After finishing tied for the lead with Swede Henric Sturehed on 19 under par on the Montagu course, Nienaber claimed his first professional title with a par on the third playoff hole.
“I’m so excited and quite emotional. It’s a lot of hard work that I put in to get this win,” said a tearful Nienaber, who struggled to get through his victory speech as he tried to explain the emotion of not being able to have his family at the golf course to celebrate with him.
“I’m a very family-orientated guy. We have a very close bond in our family. A lot of this is thanks to them that I was able to win today. It’s crazy how much they have supported me,” he said.
The R6 million Dimension Data Pro-Am was the last of the three tournaments that formed part of the Sunshine Tour and European Challenge Tour’s co-sanctioned South African Swing.
Brandon Stone won the opening Limpopo Championship and JC Ritchie claimed the Bain’s Whisky Cape Town Open, and then Nienaber completed the local dominance with his victory at Fancourt.
Nienaber started the final round three strokes behind the leaders. After thinking he had missed his chance when he made a bogey on the par-five ninth hole, Nienaber produced a strong back nine of five birdies to make it into the playoff with a 65. Sturehed signed for a bogey-free 66 to seal his spot in the playoff.
Korn Ferry Tour - Simmons Bank Open for the Snedeker Foundation
Austin Smotherman carded a third consecutive 3-under 69 to close out a three-stroke victory at the Simmons Bank Open for the Snedeker Foundation moving to World No. 315 from 610.
Smotherman wrote himself notes in his yardage book all week. Sunday’s read: We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit. Happy Mother’s Day.
“I was just trying to focus on keeping it in the routine no matter what was going on,” Smotherman said. “The emotion was definitely high on that back nine trying to not get too far ahead of myself. I knew I was playing well and up and around the lead all day. The delays did not make it any easier. Luckily, I have my wife here. We grabbed some food; we were able to talk and hang out.
“It’s emotional. It’s awesome. It’s everything we’ve worked for, and to have it happen on Mother’s Day is pretty special, too.”
No matter what happened to Smotherman in the final round, it was on to the next shot.
There was no better example Sunday than the par-4 10th. The Loomis, California native hooked his ball into the heather; he played it out short of the green, got up and down for par, and walked away holding a three-stroke lead.
Smotherman’s repetition Sunday was not all positive, though. His dialed-in approaches set up quality scoring looks time and time again, but those birdie putts missed by mere inches and kept him in neutral. Just as they had on several occasions throughout the week. After stuffing a tee shot to 10 feet at the par-3 15th, Smotherman thought he missed another one, and he walked toward the cup for what he figured would be a frustrating tap-in par once his ball stopped rolling. This time, however, the birdie putt fell right in the heart.
“The whole week was special,” Smotherman said. “It was so nice to see all the spectators, having some fans even with the weather bearing it out there with me. Walking the cart paths was so special. The smiles I got from everybody, whoever you looked at all week, was awesome and that put me in a great mood.”