Four things we learned this weekend

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Inbee wins the Women’s Open… but what about the Slam?

Inbee Park

South Korea’s Inbee Park won the Women’s British Open, gaining seven shots in her final 12 holes to shoot a 7-under 65 at Turnberry. It was here seventh major title, and she is just the seventh female player ever to win the four original LPGA majors – after Louise Suggs, Mickey Wright, Pat Bradley, Juli Inkster, Karrie Webb and Annika Sorenstam.

“I don’t know what else to go for now,” said Park. Well, some people aren’t satisfied she’s claimed the ‘career slam’ because she hasn’t won the Evian Championship, which was afforded ‘major’ status by the LPGA in 2012. “I feel like I’ve won all the majors in women’s golf,” Park said. “Every major was very, very special to me. But to wrap it up with the British Open is just much more special … This is definitely the golfer’s most-wanted trophy.” Park passed $12 million in career earnings with the winner’s check of $450,000.

 

Tiger was back… then wasn’t… then was

Tiger

When Tiger Woods opened with 68-66 at the Quicken Loans on the PGA Tour, he put himself in contention for the first time in years. But a three-over 74 in the third round, when everyone was going low – including winner Troy Merritt, who shot a course record 61 – derailed his bid. Still, a Sunday 68 put some shine on an otherwise positive move in the right direction for the former world No.1.

“Saturday, it was nice to be able to struggle but score,” he said. “That’s something I hadn’t been able to do. Yeah, did I slap it all over the place? I did, for the first seven holes. I was even par. That’s what I used to do. On the eighth hole, I drove it in the fairway. If I hit it on the green and make birdie here, all of a sudden I’m at nine under par, I can turn the tide. But I turned it the wrong way.”

He added:  “It’s a process. I’ve said that many times. It’s a process of putting one foot in front of the other and building and building and eventually I’ll get to where I’m in contention week in and week out and eventually I’ll start winning golf tournaments again.” Woods rose from No. 195 to No. 185 in the FedEx Cup rankings and has just three weeks left to climb into the top 125 and qualify for the FedEx Cup playoffs.

 

Merritt makes his first major

Merritt

Troy Merritt won’t be thinking about all the ‘extras’ you get for winning a PGA Tour event right now. He’ll be relishing his first tour title, along with the $1.2 million cheque.  But all the other perks will start to hit home as he packs his bag for this week’s WGC event, before heading for his first Major at the PGA… and then Augusta National next year.

Merritt had missed five cuts in a row coming into the Quicken Loans National, but his Saturday 61 vaulted him up the leaderboard, and he followed it up with a four-under 67 on Sunday. “It’s amazing how you can dream of winning a golf tournament your entire life and you’ve got it scripted and when it happens, you’re not thinking,” he said. “You don’t remember what your name is. You’re just reacting. That’s all it was.” 

 

Matchplay makes great TV

Matchplay

Thailand’s Kiradech Aphibarnrat won the Paul Lawrie Matchplay and his third title in dramatic fashion – and proved why matchplay should be played more on the European Tour. The 26-year-old Thai was three up with four holes to play, but Robert Karlsson hit back on the 15th, 16th and 17th to set-up a dramatic last hole finish.

Aphibarnrat held his nerve on the 18th where he putted from four feet just after Karlsson had dragged his birdie attempt wide. “My next step was to win in Europe, so I am happy and so proud of myself,” said Kiradech, whose burly frame has led him to be dubbed “Asia’s John Daly”. “I was striking the ball well and hitting it so good on the front nine, but then I lost a bit of energy and control. I started pulling some drives but I have to say I putted very well today and sank a lot of important putts – especially the putt to win which was very short but it was great to see it hit the middle of the hole. I didn’t have too high expectations this week but I just came here and tried to enjoy the whole experience of playing in Scotland.”

David Howell recovered from his narrow semi-final defeat to Karlsson to beat Marc Warren by one hole in the third-place play-off. 

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