Tour Rundown: An incredible new record set on the LPGA Tour
With the arrival of links golf at Ireland’s Ballylifin for the Irish Open, British Open season began in earnest. The PGA Tour visited a history book of a course, while the Web.Com tour stopped in this writer’s extended backyard. With the LPGA making a visit to the Badger state, the week offered four exciting events to catalogue. We saw one of those rare events where everyone else played for second, and we witnessed tremendous comebacks and heartfelt emotion. Time to rundown the tours in this week’s Tour Rundown.
European Tour: Knox clocks Fox to grab Irish Open title
Beware the golfer who improves each round of a 4-round event. Russell Knox seemingly came from nowhere to win in extra time, and he has his putter to thank. The Scotsman began the day in 5th spot, but while overnight leader Erik Van Rooyen of South Africa suffered a mild implosion, Knox didn’t miss on the shortest grass. He rolled in putts from all over, in every direction. His round was capped with a 50-feet bomb for birdie. With that monster, he tied New Zealand’s Ryan Fox. Incredibly, Knox performed identical surgery on the only playoff hole, draining another lengthy birdie to steal victory from the winless Fox.
Fox came to 18 in regulation, on the heels of a textbook birdie at the 17th. Good as that one was, it might have cost him the tournament. He had a 10-feet putt for eagle, which would have eliminated any chance for Knox and the field. Fox missed, then uncorked a massive drive at the last. His pitch was close, but he could not coax the birdie putt in for a regulation win. Spain’s Jorge Campillo did well to finish at 13-under, and entertained thoughts of a playoff. Van Rooyen ultimately recovered for a 4th-place tie with Spain’s Jon Rahm.
???? Top: 72nd hole
???? Bottom: Play-off
Two incredible putts from
— The European Tour (@EuropeanTour)
LPGA Tour: Kim Sei-young rewrites record books at Thornberry Classic
Sei-young shot rounds of 63-65-64-65 to win the Thornberry by 9 strokes. To properly frame that performance, the BEST score from the rest of the field each day, was a mere 3 strokes lower. In the Sei-young vs. The Field competition, The Field shot 64-63-63-64. The young Korean hit 67 of 72 greens in regulation. Don’t tell me it’s an easy course. That’s Betsy Rawls-quality iron play, that’s Ben Hogan-quality ball striking. Carlota Ciganda of Spain won the “B” flight with a mere 22-under total, but her closing 64 was enough to vault her 2 shots beyond Emma Talley and Anna Nordqvist.
On the week, Kim had 31 birdies, 1 eagle and (gasp!) a double-bogey. That’s not a typo. She made 5 at the par-3 17th hole on Friday. No one can explain how nor why. In a week of unparalleled perfection, hole No. 35 was the transient fault. Of her other 6 LPGA wins, 3 came in playoff, 1 came by one stroke, and 1 was a one-up win at match play. Kim rarely wins big, so this triumph resonates even more. With the triumph, she moved from 30th to 12th in the CME Globe points race. What’s next? How about a major title. With 6 top-10 finishes to date, Kim knows the feels and is ready to win a big one.
It was a wild-West week in Wisconsin. In addition to Kim, 10 golfers posted 4 rounds in the 60s. Third-place finished Nordqvist signed for 67 four times, on her way to 268. Oh yeah, and one whiff…
A whiff from Beatriz Recari yesterday on the LPGA Tour. And yes, that counts as a stroke.
— ByTheFlagstick (@ByTheFlagstick)
PGA Tour: Na says Goodbye with closing burst
It wasn’t the 9-stroke win seen on the LPGA Tour, but Kevin Na did his best to run away with the Military Tribute event. He opened the week with a ho-hum 69, but closed with fireworks, posting 63-65-64 on the final 3 days. Na’s effort was good for a 5-stroke victory over 3rd-round leader Kelly Kraft. The 2011 US Amateur champion began the week with 63-64, but closed with 69-70. Unable to keep pace with Na, Kraft managed to hold off Brandt Snedeker and Jason Kokrak for solo second spot.
After birdies on 6 of his first 10 hole on Sunday, Na survived what might be called a slump: he bogeyed 11 and then made par at the next 4 holes. Birdie at the 16th restored his hand lead, and left the rest to fight for 2nd. The victory was Na’s 2nd career title. His first came in 2011, the year of Kraft’s Amateur win, and also with a 261-stroke tally. Na moved from 58th to 18th on the FedEx Cup points list with his triumph.
Kevin Na finishing in style.
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR)
Web.Com Tour: Ledesma elimina al resto de la competencia
That cognate-laden header says it all. Nelson Ledesma eliminated the rest of the competitors with his closing 67. Only a pair of Marks (Blakefield and Hubbard) shot better in round 4, and both were well off the pace. The LECOM Health Challenge, played at the Peek’n Peak Resort, near the New York-Pennsylvania border in Clymer, NY, is one of the family-favorite stops on tour.
Ledesma began Sunday in 3rd place, behind the final pairing of Sebastián Muñoz and Kyle Jones. Ledesma caught fire at the end of the opening nine, with birdies at 7 through 9. That run gave him a lead he never relinquished. His blemish-free round gave him a two-shot triumph over the final pair, who tied for 2nd at -20.
Muñoz struggled from the outset on Sunday. He bogeyed 2 of the first 4 holes, including the par-5 4th hole. Birdies at 6 and 12 steadied the ship, and 2 more birdies at 17 and 18 brought him some consolation. Jones also had a bumpy start, with 2 birdies and 2 bogeys over his first 10 holes. On a day when both needed perfection, neither one could find it. Like Muñoz, Jones finished well, He birdied 3 of his final 7 holes to match the Colombian in the runner-up spot.
Both Ledesma and Muñoz sit inside the Top 25 in the chase for a PGA Tour card, while Jones rests in the 31st spot, ever so close to the promotion.
Lead back up to three.
First birdie on the back nine today. is two holes away from winning .
— Web.com Tour (@WebDotComTour)