What you missed: Wolff and Rahm’s victories, Daly denied golf cart for Open, Beef’s struggles and the best 14 club challenge yet


What you missed: From incredible wins, changes to the Open play-off format and Beef’s European Tour blog to John Daly’s spider bite and the best 14 club challenge yet

Matthew Wolff became the 11th first-time PGA Tour winner of the season when he claimed the 3M Open at TPC Twin Cities in dramatic style on Sunday with a 72nd hole eagle – just a few hours after Jon Rahm secured his second Irish Open title with a final round 62.

Meanwhile, Shanshan Feng picked up her 10th LPGA Tour title, and Paul Waring, Bernd Wiesberger and Robert Rock guaranteed their places in the upcoming Open Championship at Royal Portrush.

Away from the course, Andrew ‘Beef’ Johnston opened up about the mental struggles he’s had on and off the course for the past two years in an incredibly honest European Tour blog, while the R&A announced a play-off change for the Open championship and an increase in prize fund for the Women’s British Open in August.

Elsewhere John Daly dominated the headlines, having first had his request to use a golf cart at Royal Portrush declined by the R&A, and then ending up in emergency surgery after being bitten by a brown recluse spider while on holiday in England. 

And then there was a 14-club challenge between Eddie Pepperell and Ryan Fox that might just be the best one yet. 

Read on below to see what you missed. 

Matthew Wolff claims maiden title with unbelievable 72nd hole eagle

Matthew Wolff is fast becoming one of the most talked about young stars in professional golf. The reigning NCAA champion grabbed headlines for his unorthodox golf swing when he burst on to the scene, but the 20-year-old made sure his name will be remembered for more than that on Sunday at TPC Twin Cities.

Just a month after turning professional, Matthew Wolff claimed his first Tour title in spectacular fashion with a final hole eagle at the inaugural 3M Open to beat out Bryson DeChambeau and playing partner Colin Morikawa by a shot – less than 20 minutes after DeChambeau made an eagle of his own to gain the clubhouse lead.

“I’ve been told so many times before that I was born for moments like these, I live for moments like these,” Wolff said, following a final-round 66 that included five birdies, one bogey and that final hole eagle. “It doesn’t get better than this.

“I had a blast out there, and to make that putt was everything. You know, for me it was just kind of staying calm, doing what I do. And not a lot of putts were dropping today. I kind of told myself, you know, this wouldn’t be a bad time for one to go my way. …

“It was the most excited I’ve ever been. I’m usually not an emotional guy at all, but tears definitely came to my eyes when I stepped off and picked that ball up out of the hole.”

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WITB: Matthew Wolff

John Rahm captures second Irish Open with final round 62

Jon Rahm claimed his second Irish Open title in just three years on Sunday at Lahinch Golf Club with a final round 62 to get to 16-under-par. 

Following on from his success in 2017 at Portstewart, the Spaniard carded eight birdies and an eagle to earn his fourth European Tour title – becoming the first player to win three Rolex Series events. 

Rahm began the day five shots behind overnight leader Robert Rock but after a five-under front-nine of 31 and an eagle on the 12th, he quickly moved to within a single shot. 

He recovered from a bad wedge shot that led to a bogey on 13 with back-to-back gains from the 14th, and then rolled in his eighth birdie of the day from 10 feet at the last to earn a two shot victory over Andy Sullivan and Bernd Wiesberger while early challenger Rafa Cabrera fell away. 

“I love this tournament,” he said. “I love this country. I love the people and feel like I’m at home every time I come.

“I’m excited to repeat. I think Seve was the only Spanish player to win more than one and to join my name to that Cup again, it’s special. It’s probably one of my favourite trophies that I have at home and to have another one, it’s definitely a special moment.

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jon rahm

Open Qualifying: Waring, Wiesberger & Rock secure places at Royal Portrush

Bernd Wiesberger, Robert Rock and Paul Waring have secured their places in The 148th Open at Royal Portrush after qualifying at the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open on Sunday. 

Wiesberger opted to skip final qualifying on Monday and it paid off as he finished runner-up behind Jon Rahm, who is already exempt, with a 14-under par total of 266 and earned his place in The 148th Open. 

“We have had a really good week, I decided to withdraw from Final Qualifying, to prepare for this week and it has paid off,” said Wiesberger. “I enjoyed my week in Ireland and I have had a lot of success here.”

With fellow runner-up Andy Sullivan also qualified, it was Robert Rock who took the second spot, helped by a course-record 10-under par 60 during Saturday’s round. Rock went on to card a level-par fourth round to end in a tie for fourth on 13-under par with Eddie Pepperell and Rafa Cabrera Bello, who were also exempt.

That left the final spot in the hands of Paul Waring, who secured his fourth Open appearance with a birdie on the final hole of the day to finish in a share of fifth with Jorge Campillo, who is already exempt, on 12-under par. 

“I am absolutely gobsmacked to be honest, I thought I had to go one more but to birdie the last to get in is absolutely fantastic,” said Waring. 

The last chance to qualify for this year’s Open will be at this week’s Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open (3 places), and the John Deere Classic (1 place).

paul waring

Shanshan Feng ends winless drought to claim 10th LPGA Tour title

Shanshan Feng birdie her final hole of the day to edge out Ariya Jutanguarn by a single shot to claim her 10th LPGA Tour title at the Thornberry Creek LPGA Classic – two years since she last won at this same event.

After a front nine of 31 and birdies on the 13th, 14th and 16th holes, Shanshan Feng stood on the 18th tee with a one shot lead and was sure a par would be enough to win. 

But when she reached the 18th green she realised that Jutanugarn, out in the group ahead, had made a birdie of her own at the last to tie her at 28-under-par.

“I’m like, ‘Oh, no. I have to make that one,’” Feng said when she noticed the scoreboard.

Luckily, she’d fired a 7-iron to just thee feet, and rolled in the putt for a final round 9-under 63 and victory. 

It was a win that was a long time coming. Two years ago Shanshan Feng had just won her ninth LPGA Tour title and had become the first Chinese player (male or female) to break in to the World No.1 spot in golf. But she went on to struggle with her swing, and it left her without a title for the past two years. 

“I tried to get more distance and then maybe just messed up the feeling about controlling the ball,” Feng said. “I got that back, so I’m really happy about that. I think this is not the last one, for sure, so as many as I can win.”


R&A announce $1.25 million prize fund increase for AIG Women’s British Open

Following in the footsteps of an increased U.S. Women’s Open purse last month, the R&A have announced that the upcoming prize fund for the AIG Women’s British Open at Woburn will be $4,500,000 – an increase of almost 40%.

Last year Georgia Hall took home $490,000 for winning her maiden major title from a total purse was $3.25million, while this year the winner will take home $675,000. 

Martin Slumbers, Chief Executive of The R&A, said: “We recognised that more needed to be done to elevate the prize fund for this great championship and are pleased that we have been able to make a significant increase this year as part of The R&A’s commitment to women’s golf. 

“This is an important first step and we know it will take time to move closer to achieving parity with the men’s game. We will continue to work toward the long-term goal of a sustainable business model but we can’t do it alone and the support of fans, sponsors and media are all key to achieving that success.”

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women's british open

John Daly ‘in serious pain’ as he recovers from surgery after being bitten by a spider in England last week

John Daly was left needing emergency surgery after being unknowingly bitten by a brown recluse spider while on a family holiday in England last week.

As a result of the bite, Daly developed a major infection in his abdominal area and was subsequently treated for early sepsis. 

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John Daly said he was left ‘disappointed’ and ‘could not disagree more’ with the R&A’s decision not to allow him to use a golf buggy at the Open Championship at Royal Portrush. 

John Daly, 53, became the first person since Casey Martin at the US Open (1998 and 2012) to use a golf cart in a major championship when he teed up at this year’s PGA Championship – but his recent request to use one at this year’s Open Championship has been turned down by the R&A. 

The R&A released a statement on Saturday, acknowledging that while they had ‘full sympathy for him as this is clearly a serious, long-term condition’, they had carefully decided to decline his request. The reasoning behind their decision included factors such as making it fair for all players, and the terrain of the course. 

“We believe that walking the course is an integral part of the Championship and is central to the tradition of links golf which is synonymous with The Open. We must also ensure that, as far as possible, the challenge is the same for all players in the field.

“The terrain at Royal Portrush is not suited to buggies and indeed the club itself does not permit their use. We have a serious concern that some parts of the course, where there are severe slopes and swales, would be inaccessible.”

“While I trust the R&A’s decision was made with good intentions, I could not disagree more with their conclusions,” Daly responded. 

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Change to play off format for The Open Championship

There’s a big change coming for the Open Championship at Royal Portrush this year, according to the official twitter of The Open.

For the first time in the history, the Open will host a three-hole playoff if necessary to decide the winner. The holes will be the 1st, 13th & 18th. 

The previous playoff format was four-hole aggregate, and has been played as such since 1898. The last time a playoff was used to determine a winner of the Open was in 2015, when Zach Johnson beat out Louis Oosthuizen and Marc Leishman at the Old Course, St. Andrews.

The best 14-club challenge yet? 

The latest installment of the European Tour’s 14 club challenge was posted last week, featuring Eddie Pepperell versus Ryan Fox… and it was arguably the most entertaining, and competitive, yet. 

A club snap worthy of Thomas Pieters and some lucky bounces ensure a record-winning battle between these two. 

Andrew ‘Beef’ Johnston opens up on mental health after difficult couple of years on and off the course

Andrew Johnston, known in the golfing world as Beef, burst on to the scene with victory at Valderrama in 2016, and instantly became a fan favourite thanks to his infectiously easy-going and laugh-a-minute personality that combined with a brilliant golf game. At his highest, he moved to World No.79.

But after Beef decided to take time to try and make it out on the PGA Tour in 2017, his results began to fall by the wayside, and his return to European Tour golf in 2018 left him with three top 10s and a handful of missed cuts. In 2019, he hasn’t finished better than T24 at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic, and has dropped to 337th in the world. 

In an overwhelmingly honest blog for the European Tour, Beef opened up about his struggles over the past year: Breaking up with a long-term girlfriend, parting ways with his coach, and his caddie, and not feeling like himself. 

“I was angry. I was wound up,” Beef wrote. “I just thought it was the golf. I didn’t realise what was happening. It felt like every week was really tough. I was fighting. I was trying to practice more, do more, and I didn’t realise that I was just slowly burning myself out.

“I came off the course on Sunday at the Nedbank Golf Challenge in November and couldn’t even bring myself to go get my clubs from the locker. I just left them. I went straight back to the hotel and just cried.”

A big part of that burn out, was the unexpected celebrity he found surrounding him at events. 

“I enjoyed the crowds. I would never change that. But when you throw someone into that, you don’t know the effect it’s having on them. I had no idea. I didn’t realise the underlying pressure I was putting on myself to perform, to try and please thousands of people.”

But recently, Beef has started working with psychologist Ben Davies, and they’ve been working hard on improving his mentality. 

Click here for the full blog, it’s a must-read.


First time PGA Tour winners list reaches 11 for the 2018/19 season 

In the 37 sanctioned events so far this season, there have been 11 first-time winners on the PGA Tour – an increasingly apparent trend that the proves talent on Tour is deeper than ever. 

Matthew Wolff was the latest addition to that list at the 3M Open, having followed Nate Lashley’s maiden win the week before at the Rocket Mortgage Classic. 

The first time winners this season are: Kevin Tway (Safeway Open), Cameron Champ (Sanderson Farms Open), Adam Long (Desert Classic), Martin Trainer (Peurto Rico Open), Keith Mitchell (Honda Classic), Corey Conners (Valero Texas Open), C.T Pan (RBC Heritage), Max Homa (Wells Fargo), Sung Kang (AT&T Byron Nelson), Nate Lashley (Rocket Mortgage Classic), Matthew Wolff (3M Open). 

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