From two European winners to seven Open Championship qualifiers, the Women’s KPMG PGA Championship and accusations of cheating, here’s nine things you missed on Tour this week…
He might be a five-time European Tour winner, which includes a victory at the 2010 WGC HSBC Champions, but Francesco Molinari finally claimed his first PGA Tour title at the Quicken Loans National on Sunday – by an incredibly convincing eight shots.
Molinari began the day tied for the lead with Abraham Ancer, but by the second hole held a two shot lead after Ancer failed to get up and down on the first and the Italian holed from 12 feet for birdie on two.
By the turn another birdie guranateed a three shot lead after nine, and it was then that Molinari turned up his game a gear. An eagle on the 10th was followed by four birdies in a row to gain a nine-shot lead, eventually finishing eight shots clear of Ryan Armour with a final round bogey-free 62.
Molinari had elected to skip the European Tour’s Rolex event at Le Golf National just a few weeks after winning the BMW PGA Championship, and it was a risk that paid off as he became the first Italian to win a PGA Tour event since 1947, claiming it was some of the best golf he’d ever played.
“Amazing,” Molinari said of how he felt after his win. “I’ve always said that the next stage of my career would have been to win over here, and to do it in this fashion, it’s even better. I’m very proud of the way I played today. Probably some of the best golf I’ve ever played and I’ll ever play in the future. I think it’s hard to play better than this.”
“It wasn’t an easy decision, I thought until the last minute whether to go to France or to come here but seems like it was the right choice in the end.”
For the full story and the clubs he used to win, click here
Alex Noren triumphs at Le Golf National for second Rolex Series win
Alex Noren was the unlikely but worthy winner on a dramatic final day at the Open de France as he claimed his second Rolex Series win by a single shot.
Having began the day seven shots behind the leaders, Noren fired a final round four-under 67 to post the clubhouse lead at seven-under-par, but still sat one shot adrift of leaders Chris Wood and Julian Suri.
A double-bogey for Suri on the difficult 18th dropped him out of contention, while Wood bogeyed both the 15th and 17th holes – leaving him in need of a hole-out bunker shot on 18 to force a play-off.
Noren, noted as the hardest working player on Tour, was on the practice ground when he heard Wood had only managed a par.
“It’s unbelievable, I never thought I was going to win,” the now 10-time European Tour champion Noren told Sky Sports. “It’s a tricky golf course and the first two days were tough for me, but I played a lot better over the weekend.”
For the full story and the clubs he used to win, click here
Joel Dahmen accuses playing partner Sung Kang of cheating at Quicken Loans National
You might be forgiven for thinking the group of Joel Dahmen and Sung Kang wouldn’t be the one to provide the drama on Sunday at the Quicken Loans National, but it certainly did. The group were on the 10th hole when they allowed the pairing behind to play through, but at the time there seemed no explanation or reason other than a ruling being required.
Someone then asked Dahmen on twitter about what happened on the 10th hole and the 30 year old was quick to respond and discredit Kang, saying ‘he cheated’ for taking ‘a bad drop’.
“Kang cheated.,” he wrote. “He took a bad drop from a hazard. I argued until I was blue. I lost.”
When asked to elaborate, Dahmen did so.
“It was a typical dispute about where or if it crossed the hazzard. It clearly did not cross the hazzard. We went back and forth for 25 minutes and he ended up dropping closer to the green.
He went on further; “At that point there is nothing I can do. If I don’t sign the card, a rules official will. I would just be delaying the inevitable.”
Since then, a further twitter user named Michael Klock, joined the debate, affirming Dahmen’s point. Klock said he was running SHOTLink on the green, and showed his thoughts and SHOTlink points here
“He (Kang) sure did cheat. I was running SHOTLink on the green. That ball never came close to entering up where he dropped… Should’ve been 200 yards back. Told your caddie who told the rules official but Kang threw a fit and got his way. He won’t get away w/ that @ The Open.”
The PGA Tour have since responded, outlining the situation and writing they would no additional comments on the matter.
“A PGA Tour Rules Official handled the ruling, interviewing both players, caddies and marshals in the vicinity. The official then took Kang back to where he hit his second shot, and Kang confirmed his original belief that his shot had indeed crossed the margin of the hazard. With no clear evidence to prove otherwise, it was determined by the official that Kang could proceed with his fourth shot as intended, following a penalty stroke and subsequent drop. The PGA Tour will have no additional comment on this matter.”
We might never know exactly what went down, but we do know Kang went on to par the 10th hole, ended up in third place at 12-under-par and booked his spot in the Open Championship at Carnoustie. Dahmen finished in a tie for 23rd at five-under-par, closing with a one-over 71.
Tiger Woods switched putters – and it paid off
Tiger Woods caused a bit of a social media stir when he benched his Scotty Cameron Newport 2 blade putter (the putter he used to win 13 of his 14 majors with) in favour of TaylorMade’s TP Black Copper Ardmore 3 mallet for the week at Quicken Loans National last week.
Woods called it his ‘tweener’ – the putter that’s between his practice putter and his usual Scotty ‘gamer’, switching as he made an attempt to rectify the putter problems that have caused much of his difficulties rising up the leaderboards this year. And the switch seemed to pay off.
Despite finishing last in putts holed inside 10 feet, Tiger finished the week ranked 7th in Strokes Gained: Putting, and was petty complimentary about the newest putter in his bag on his way to his fourth place finish at TPC Potomac. On Sunday he was 2.948 in SG: Putting, with a week average of 1.194.
“I did some good work last week,” Woods said after his round Sunday. “I’m starting the ball on my lines again and I’ve got the speed. I hit a lot of good putts that didn’t go in, which is fine.
“As long as I’m hitting good putts and seeing my lines … that’s something that I’ve been missing for a while now, for the better part of two months. This is the week I finally turned it around.”
It’s not clear yet whether he’s going to stick with the Ardmore 3 in his next start, but we wouldn’t bet against it.
Sung Hyun Park wins second major at KPMG LPGA Championship after play-off and weather delays
Sung Hyun Park claimed her second major title after outlasting So Yeon Ryu and Nasa Hatoaka in a playoff at the weather-affected KPMG Women’s PGA Championship.
Park was the only player to post a bogey-free round as she carded a three-under 69 on Sunday, joining overnight leader So Yeon Ryu and Nasa Hatoaka in the tournament’s first three-way play-off.
It what would be a crucial moment in the event, Park saved one of the most unlikely pars of the tournament at the 16th, standing in the reeds and chopping her ball out to three feet to stay two shots back. Ryu then double-bogeyed the 17th after finding the water on the par three to drop back in to a share of the lead, and Park’s birdie putt on the last slid by to force the play-off.
Hatoaka was the first to be eliminated as both Ryu and Park birdied the first additional hole before a 20 minute weather delay was forced due to a threat of lightening.
A birdie on the next for Park was enough for her to claim her second win of the season and become to third Korean player to win the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, joining Se Ri Pak and Inbee Park.
“This is my second major win in two years,” said a smiling Park, “and I can’t still believe what I’ve done, but I’m really happy.”
David Toms claims US Senior Open title for first win in over seven years
David Toms claimed his first Senior major title at US Senior Open, holding off Jerry Kelly, Miguel Angel Jimenez and Tim Petrovic by a single shot in Coloardo Springs.
Toms made a crucial par-save on the 17th to stay one shot ahead of Kelly– rolling in a putt from 19 feet after finding the lip of the fairway bunker from the tee.
His triumph at the The Broadmoor was his first victory on any tour in more than seven years, and comes 17 years after his win at the PGA Championship in 2001.
“It’s been a long time obviously,” Toms said. “To do it in a USGA event was special. I didn’t have the patience for these early, but got better at it as my career went on. I guess this means my patience is where it needs to be, finally.”
Open Championship Qualification: Update as seven claim spots at the weekend
Seven players qualified for the Open Championship over the weekend at both the Open de France and Quicken Loans National, while Ryan Moore has replaced 1999 champion Paul Lawrie after he withdrew through injury.
At Le Golf National, both Marcus Kinhult and Julian Suri held the lead at one point during the tournament, and while they didn’t quite get the job done, they did get the added bonus of earning Open qualifying spots at Carnoustie in three weeks time. Russell Knox, who surged through the field to finish in a tie for second with Suri and Chris Wood, also booked his spot thanks to a final round six-under 65.
Over at the Quicken Loans National, Ryan Armour became the first person to take a spot at The Open with a second-place finish to Francesco Molinari, while Sung Kang qualified for the second year in a row at this same event. Abraham Ancer was the third qualifier, who had held a share of the lead going in to the final day but fell back in to a share of fourth with Tiger Woods on 11-under. Meanwhile, Tiger’s playing partner Bronson Burgoon took the final place after finishing in a tie for sixth with already exempt Beau Hossler.
As a former champion, Tiger was already exempt.
Angel Yin with the best shot of the week?
Angel Yin had the most unlikely hole-out of the week during the second round of the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship.
With the ball above her feet and resting on a bank, Yin took off her shoes and socks to stand in the water, gripped down on her club and attempted to hit the shot.
“This could be embarrassing, or it could work out rather well,” the commentator said as she addressed the ball.
It was the latter. Landing her chip on the green, the ball rolled for around 30 feet before hitting the pin and dropping in the cup. Yin eventually finished three shots behind winner Sung-hyun Park on seven-under-par and in a share of fourth-place.
Excuse us while we watch this on repeat.
Leonie Harm becomes first German to win British Ladies Amatuer
Leonie Harm made history at Hillside as she became the first German to lift the Ladies Amateur Championship trophy, defeating American Stephanie Lau 3&2 in the 18-hole final.
The 20 year old from Stuttgart, who is ranked 33rd in the World Amateur Golf Rankings, overcame a strong field as she booked her spot in the RICOH Women’s British Open at Royal Lytham & St Annes in August.
She defeated Canada’s Jaclyn Lee 4&3 in her morning semi-final tie to progress to the afternoon’s final, while Lau saw off home favourite Holly Muse by 5&4.
Harm, who won the German International Amateur earlier this month, gained a two-hole lead on Lau after four holes after mistakes from the American left her with two dropped shots in a row. Back to back birdies for Lau brought the match level at the sixth, but her bounce back was short lived as she proceeded to lose the next two holes with bogeys to make the turn at 2-down.
The German moved to 3up at the 10th before matching birdies at the 11th. Despite giving back a hole at the par-4 15th, Hamn rolled in a five foot putt for par at the 16th to win the match 3&2.
As a result of her victory she also gains exemptions into the 2018 Evian Championship, next year’s US Women’s Open, and the inaugural Augusta National Women’s Amateur Championship in 2019.
“I’m thrilled to be the champion of course, everyone loves to win.
“I love when I can rely on my game, when my strengths are actually my strengths and I’ve hit my iron shots close all week. So, I’m content with myself.”