Tour Rundown: Jutanugarn goes the distance, DeChambeau survives playoff
If ever a golfer were dismissed, it was Ariya Jutanugarn on the second playoff hole of the USGA Women’s Open. Come to think of it, the same happens with Bryson DeChambeau, each time he goes into scientific detail about a swing or a shot. #KeepGolfWeird might never be the hashtag that #KeepAustinWeird is, but golf needs its unanticipated stories and its outliers. Golf reflects life, and those anomalies are less rare than some would attribute. After a tremendous week of June golf, let’s run it all down in this week’s Tour Rundown.
Jutanugarn does the unthinkable…twice, at the U.S. Women’s Open
If you followed the Twitterverse, one anachronistic word was linked to Ariya Jutanugarn in the waning moments of regulation play: meltdown. Time to put that word to bed. Not an appropriate nor accurate metaphor, under any circumstance. If you’ve not played Shoal Creek in Birmingham, Alabama (I did, in April) then you don’t have an idea of how challenging the back nine is. Fred Couples does; he lost a lead with four consecutive bogeys on 13-16 in 1990, losing the PGA Championship in the process to Wayne Grady. Ariya Jutanugarn and last week’s field also know. It wasn’t that anyone could lose a seven-shot lead with nine to play (cough, Palmer, cough) but that someone might actually build such a disparity.
One of the commentators related Jutanugarn’s applause for her opponent’s playoff birdie as being resigned to her fate. Note to commentator: Jutanugarn does that for all of her opponents. She respects clutch play in others, which might allow her to summon her own successes under great pressure. She did that in spades on Sunday at Shoal Creek. Ariya Jutanugaran is a powerful player, with a tendency to miss left when the game is on. She missed right a few times on Sunday, as well, but found an enviable calm after each shot. Her playoff opponent, Kim Hyo-joo, did the same when faced with a daunting deficit. Two kindred spirits then met for four extra holes of golf on a Sunday afternoon. Jutanugarn parred them all. After an opening birdie, Kim went bogey-par-bogey, and Jutanugarn had her second major championship, ninth LPGA victory, and third consecutive playoff win. Brava! What an Ariya.
From a seven-shot lead, to a playoff, to the top once again. Ariya is the 2018 champion!
— USGA (@USGA)
DeChambeau conquers foes in playoff for Memorial title
It’s difficult to win on the PGA Tour. Even a guy who owned the amateur world, as Bryson DeChambeau once did, needs to establish himself at a new level in the big leagues. DeChambeau took another step toward another level on Sunday, dispatching Kyle Stanley and Byeong Hun An in two playoff holes for career win No. 2 at Jack Nicklaus’ Memorial Tournament. A look at the top give golfers offered an episode of Young and Younger, as names like Patrick Cantlay, Peter Uihlein and DeChambeau populated the list. Justin Rose and Dustin Johnson (T6 and T8, respectively) were the first, established names to appear on the leader board. Golf has a way of teasing its followers, offering a week where all the up-and-comers dispatch the old guard, then following it up with a glimpse of the Wise and the Wizened.
DeChambeau didn’t exactly play like a champion over the closing holes of regulation. He bogeyed two of the final five, including the last. An did have the right stuff, making birdie at two of his final four to tie the Physicist. As for Stanley? He had every ingredient in his broth: a double, four consecutive birdies, and a closing bogey when par would have won. Off they went to extra time, where An and BD eliminated Stanley with par on the first hole. At the second playoff go-round of the closing hole, DeChambeau would have a run at birdie, but not before An tugged his approach, then hit a recovery shot for the ages. In the end, the putt and celebration of Bryson are the stuff that makes up human DNA: unbridled, well-earned joy.
What a putt. ????
What a reaction. ???? has claimed in a playoff!
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR)
Olesen holds off world’s hottest golfer for victory No. 5
His first name is Jacob, but when you might be called Thor, you use your middle name to ensure it. Thorbjorn Olesen of Denmark held off Francesco Molinari of Italy, by one stroke, thanks to a clean card on day four. Molinari, last week’s winner at the PGA Championship of Europe, needed the same card to force a playoff, but a penultimate-hole bogey, sandwiched by 5 closing birdies, did him in. Molinari was brilliant all week, opening with consecutive 66s, and then went one better on Sunday, with 65. Problem was, Olesen was spectacular, salvaging a disastrous 68 in round two with two 65s and Sunday’s 64.
How spectacular? 24 birdies and one eagle on the week spectacular. He made four bogeys, including two on day one, but compensated with surreal putting and ball striking. Oh, and nerves of steel, as exemplified by his sandy at the last (putt from about seven feet) for par.
England’s Lee Slattery had the third-round lead, thanks to a wondrous 62 on Saturday. His week-low round included eight birdies, one eagle AND a bogey. Alas, Slattery summoned 67 on Sunday, but all it got him was solo third spot, thanks to the fireworks of Olesen and Molinari. Although not convinced in the slightest that Molinari will win the US Open in two weeks, don’t be surprised to see his name on the leader board at Shinnecock Hills. As for Olesen, a solid career took one step closer to a spectacular one with Sunday’s victory.
That winning moment.
— The European Tour (@EuropeanTour)
Joey Garber and his flow take Rex Hospital Open on Web Tour
After gaining fame on the , Joey Garber turned his attention to golf. OK, cards on the table…part of that was invented. Garber does play golf, however, has massive lettuce on his scalp, and is quite good at his chosen profession. How good? He won on Sunday in Raleigh, moving from 50th spot to 6th on The 25 chase for a PGA Tour card. Garber held off Hank Lebioda and Scott Langley, both tied for 2nd at -17, by a putt or a chip or whatever you will.
The Georgia alum had four birdies in his first seven holes on Sunday to join the chase for the title. Despite an erratic back nine of four pars, three birdies and two bogeys, Garber managed to ease past the competition for his first Web.Com Tour win. In all, 2 more golfers stood at -16, with 4 more at -15 on the week, giving credibility to the term “bunched up.” So many golfers, so much talent, only one trophy. Hats off to Garber and his mane. If ever a field of lettuce were worthy of champion’s status, it is this one.
“It was bunched up. So, I’m glad I didn’t see any leaderboards.”
Just the final one , with ‘s name all alone at the top.
— Web.com Tour (@WebDotComTour)