WEEK 49 Phil Mickelson 25 consecutive years inside the World Top 50

Week 43

MATSUYAMA WINS ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP BY FIVE SHOTS

PGA Tour - ZOZO Championship

Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama had three birdies in five holes on the back nine and eagled the 18th for a five-stroke victory at the PGA TOUR's ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP, moving to World No. 12 from 19.

It was Matsuyama's first PGA TOUR win in his native Japan, although he's only had one previous attempt. In 2019, Tiger Woods won the inaugural ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP, the first PGA TOUR event in Japan, and last year the tournament was moved to California due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Matsuyama finished with a 65 and a 15-under total of 265 at Narashino Country Club. It was his fifth victory on the PGA TOUR. If t here was any doubt, Matsuyama hit a three-wood to about 12 feet with his second shot on the par-5 18th.

Asked when he thought he had clinched his home tournament, Matsuyama said through an interpreter: "Probably my second shot at 18, that was probably the clincher."

Americans were tied for second at 10-under: Brendan Steele shot 66 and Cameron Tringale 69.

Open champion Collin Morikawa had a final-round 69 and finished 10 strokes behind Matsuyama.

Tokyo Olympics champion Xander Schauffele shot 68 and was at even par on the tournament, Rickie Fowler had his second consecutive 71 and finished at 3-over.

European Tour – Mallorca Golf Open

Jeff Winther carded a gritty final round of level par to win his first European Tour title at the 2021 Mallorca Golf Open. Winther moves up the Ranking 145 spots, breaking into the Top 200 for the first time at World No.162.

The Dane had posted rounds of 62 on days one and three, sandwiching a 71 in tough conditions on Friday, and while the wind returned to Golf Santa Ponsa for the final 18 holes, Winther kept his cool.

The 33-year-old recorded a closing 70 to stay at 15 under and win by one shot from home favourites Pep Angles and Jorge Campillo and Swede Sebastian Soderberg - who finished second for the second week in a row.

Winther has carded three 62s - his lowest European Tour score - on Spanish islands on the 2021 Race to Dubai, with his two this week following his third round at the Gran Canaria Lopesan Open.

He has shot five of his eight lowest European Tour rounds in Spain and the Balearic Islands will now forever loom large in his career as the place where he claimed his maiden win.

A 2015 European Challenge Tour graduate who came through the Qualifying School in 2016, 2017 and 2018, he has been inside the top 100 on the Race to Dubai Rankings in Partnership with Rolex the past two seasons and will now rise to 37th, as well as into the top 200 on the Official World Golf Ranking for the first time.

Challenge Tour – Challenge Costa Brava

Daniel Hillier showed nerves of steel to birdie the final hole and claim his maiden European Challenge Tour title at the Challenge Costa Brava, courtesy of a one-stroke victory over his playing partner Marcus Helligkilde. Hiller jumps from World No. 391 to 246, a career best.

The New Zealander started the day two shots behind overnight leader Ricardo Gouveia but managed to clinch a dramatic victory on the 72nd hole following a thrilling battle down the stretch with two-time Challenge Tour winner Helligkilde.

Both Hillier and Helligkilde were on 18 under par coming into the 18th hole and the Swede’s closing par meant that Hillier had to birdie to avoid extra holes. After hitting his approach shot within four feet, the 23-year-old was left with a nerve-wracking putt which he duly converted for a six under 65, a 19 under total and a first professional victory outside of his native New Zealand.

Hillier, a three-time winner on New Zealand’s Charles Tour, had enjoyed some impressive results in the 2021 campaign and even came close to earning a victory on the European Tour at the ISPS HANDA World Invitational presented by Modest! Golf Management, where he finished in a tie for third.

“I’m pretty overwhelmed at the moment to be honest,” he said. “It’s been a pretty unreal week from the get go. We had some tough conditions to battle with but I managed to battle through that and probably had the round of my life in round three. To follow that up today and to hole a nice put on the last is just unbelievable, I can’t really believe I’m standing here right now.

KPGA Korean Tour - Hana Bank Invitational

Richard Taehoon Lee won the Hana Bank Invitational earning nine Ranking Points. Lee moves up the Ranking to World No. 306 from 436.

Nordic Golf League - Road to Europe Tour Final

Swedens Christopher Feldborg won a third NGL title this season at the Road to Europe Tour Final, securing a European Tour Challenge Tour card for the 2022 season.

Feldborg moves up the Ranking 48 spots to a career best of World No. 366.

Sunshine Tour - Blair Atholl Championship delivered by The Courier Guy

It took the near-perfect round for Luke Brown to win the Blair Atholl Championship delivered by The Courier Guy on Sunday and the 23-year-old duly produced a bogey-free 67 to claim his first Sunshine Tour title. Brown moves to a career best of World No. 374.

Two shots off the lead and having never won on the main tour before, Brown also had to conquer one of the longest courses in the world and multiple winners like Ulrich van den Berg, Trevor Fisher Junior and Neil Schietekat.

And a blustery, shifting wind was an added challenge.

But Brown showed remarkable composure and tremendous skill as he compiled one of the few bogey-free rounds all week and collected five birdies as well to finish on 12-under-par.

“They say your first one is the hardest to win and it was definitely very difficult today, but that was one of the best rounds of my life. It was breezy and difficult to choose the right club for these pin positions. But my ball-striking was amazing today, I hit all 18 greens in regulation, which is wonderful on the third longest course in the world.

“My putting was also solid and if you keep the bogeys off your card on an amazing course like this, then you’re going to be tough to beat. I definitely had to stay patient, you might feel like you should be making more birdies, but it’s not that easy on this course. I tried not to look at what the others were doing,” Brown said.

All Thailand Golf Tour - Singha Pattaya Open 2021

Phachara Khongwatmai captured his 6th title on All Thailand Golf Tour after storming to a five-stroke victory at the Singha Pattaya Open, moving to World No. 513 from 694.

Phachara, who carried a three-shot advantage into the final round, closed with a 68 to win on 20-under 260 while Sadom Kaewkanjana (70) was second on 15-under.

The 22-year-old golfer from Hat Yai, Songkhla, who fired a course-record 59 in the first round at par-70 Burapha Golf & Resort, received 450,000 baht and five world ranking points for his 6th title on the tour.

Sadom, who was looking for his third win in a row after two victories in Phuket, got 285,5000 baht. With that, he strengthens his position at the top of the money list with 1,182,100 baht after only four events.

Defending champion Prom Meesawat, who won here four times, came in third after making a 69 for 10-under and earned 165,000 baht.

“To be honest, I do not expect to win here at all. I just want to warm up for Thailand Open,” said Phachara.

 “I struggled a bit in the final round because of tougher conditions. With Sadom making a double bogey at 16th, I feel comfortable to play and win.”

As an amaterur, Phachara won his first ATGT title at Hua Hin Open 2013 at the age of 14, the tour’s youngest-ever champion.

Abema TV Tour - Delight Works JGTO FINAL

Junya Kameshiro won his first Abema TV Tour at the Delight Works JGTO FINAL moving from World No. 691 to 532.

EuroPro Tour - The Matchroom Tour Championship

Jamie Rutherford has won the 2021 Matchroom Tour Championship at Slaley Hall in a dramatic final day of the season that saw him also seal first place on the order of merit.

Rutherford went into the day two off the lead and ninth on the order of merit and knew it’d take a gutsy performance to seal a place on next season’s Challenge Tour.

The Knebworth Golfer has been one of the best performers of the season with the second-best stroke average and put together arguably one of the rounds of the season to match it.

Rutherford went out for 35 but hit the turn with four straight birdies from 10-13 to move to -9 one clear of Jack McDonald and Calum Fyfe. He made a huge par save on 17 from a horrible lie before a bogey on 18 left him with a wait and McDonald eyeing a potential win or playoff.

When it came down to it, McDonald’s approach into the tight 18th was short of the green leaving himself needing to chip in for the win or a par to make the playoff. McDonald made bogey and it was Rutherford who took home the win and a Challenge Tour card.