Kjeldson and Oleson (Courtesy of Scott Barbour/Getty Images)Kjeldson and Oleson (Courtesy of Scott Barbour/Getty Images)

Team Denmark Prevails, Tiger’s Long Awaited Return

Over this past weekend at the ISPS Handa World Cup of Golf in Melbourne, Australia, Team Denmark pushed its way out of a four-way logjam and successfully evaded the pack to capture the title.

Team Denmark was made up of PGA Tour Pro Soren Kjeldsen and Web.com Tour Player Thorbjorn Olesen, who played stunningly and took advantage of choice conditions in their second round to shoot a 12-under, 60.

The win this weekend marks the best finish for Team Denmark since its third place finish in 2013.

Among the pack behind the Danish duo of Kjeldsen and Olesen was Team United States made up of Jimmy Walker and Rickie Fowler. Team United States stumbled off the starting block and continued to falter day in and day out in this tournament, but stayed in contention by always staying below par and trying to play to each other’s strengths. As Team United States went into the clubhouse to sign on their card, they were approached by officials who wanted the team and their playing partners from Team England to review footage of Walker to see if he improved his stance in the trees on the 16th hole. Walker would eventually be cleared, but had Team United States been penalized, it would have put them six strokes behind Team Denmark as opposed to four headed into the final round.

This next weekend, Tiger Woods makes his long-awaited return to the PGA Tour at the Hero World Challenge in Albany; New Providence, The Bahamas. This return marks the first time that Woods will tee it up competitively in 16 months. Barring any major injuries, a 72-hole finish would be a good start for Woods and a competitive set of scores would be more positive re-enforcement for the 40-year-old.

 

 

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Hughes (Courtesy of AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton)

The RSM Classic Goes the Distance… and Then Some

The magic at Sea Island will continue this morning, when a four-man playoff tees off shortly after 8 a.m. EST. The playoff consists of Mackenzie Hughes, Blayne Barber, Henrik Norlander, and Camilo Villegas. The foursome played through two holes of the playoff, both on the par-4 18th, but had to stop on account of darkness. The next hole these men take on will be the par-3 17th hole.

Hughes, a rookie on the PGA Tour, is doing what he can to put together a win in his fifth start. Barber is in his third year on the PGA Tour, but hasn’t found much success. His only finish inside the top-5 came last year at the Honda Classic. Norlander lost his PGA Tour status but is putting in work on a sponsor’s exemption to try and get back to it. Last but not least, Villegas, a four-time PGA Tour winner. He currently has partial status on the tour this year but is working tirelessly to get back to full-time with a win here.

The Playoff originally started with five players, counting Billy Horschel, but he missed a par putt which would send him packing and on to the next event.

The quest to crown a winner at the RSM Classic will begin this morning, before the posting of this article, I will attempt to update this as the story develops.

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Pat Perez (Courtesy of Gregory Shamus & Getty Images/ via LATimes.com)

Perez Finishes with 67 for Second Career Win

When the sunset in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico, on the OHL Classica at Mayakoba, it would be Pat Perez who walked away victorious.  This was his second career win and his first since 2009.

Perez, in his third start since his shoulder surgery, was at 8-under heading into the third round.  He then shoved his way to near the top of the leaderboard by shooting a 9-under 62 in his third round. That round Perez carded an eagle and nine birdies, to just one bogey on the par-3 10th hole.

Going into his final round, Perez was behind the leader Gary Woodland by one stroke, but that didn’t deter Perez one bit. Perez burst out of the gates, notching three birdies through his first four holes, as Woodland hobbled across the starting line recording two bogies in his first three holes.

Perez then recorded two more birdies on the front nine, and one bogey on the back nine, before turning on cruise control and parring the rest of his holes, to give him a two-stroke victory.

Woodland, the leader through three rounds, seemed poised to nab the trophy heading into the final round, but a weak start left him playing from behind. It wasn’t until the 18th hole that Woodland would finally get to under par on his round. Albeit, Woodland didn’t have a bad weekend. Prior to his final round, Woodland had hit 48 of 54 greens, only missing two greens per round. In his final round, Woodland missed four.  This may not seem like a huge jump, but when you lose by two it’s hard to see that statistic as “not a big jump.”

Next week the PGA Tour heads to the Sea Island Resort in Sea Island, Georgia, to take on The RSM Classic. Last year’s winner Kevin Kisner will look to pawn his last start, an 11-over finish at the WGC-HSBC Championships, as a fluke and get off to a strong start this next weekend.

Until then, I’ll leave you on the lighter side.

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Gary Woodland (Courtesy of Getty Images)

Woodland on Top at OHL Classic at Mayakoba

Through two rounds at El Camaleon Golf Club in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico, Gary Woodland is atop the OHL Classic leaderboard with a total of 13-under-par. Woodland started off slow, going 1-over through three holes of his first round, but since then has been lights out. He would birdie the fourth hole with a 21-footer, and then refused to look back, carding 12 birdies and an eagle to just that early bogey. Woodland is set to tee off with Webb Simpson and Scott Piercy at 11:10 a.m. Eastern Time.

Trailing behind Woodland by a stroke is Webb Simpson at 12-under. Simpson, who once finished second in the FedEx Cup, has had a slow descent from grace, continuously finishing worse year after year.  But a win this weekend could have the potential to flip the script for him.

Simpson, like Woodland, has been immaculate, logging 12 birdies and zero bogeys through two rounds. One thing Simpson has been actively doing is varying his golf swing, which is what works for some people.

Behind the third place Scott Piercy, 11-under, is a logjam of competitors at 9-under. One of which is the 19th ranked player in the world, Russell Knox. Knox has finished inside the top-10 in his last two starts and in poised to make a run at a third this weekend. However, Knox got off to a rocky start in his second round by bogeying the first two holes, but in the spirit of making things interesting, he hauled off and birdied five straight after that.

Knox will be teeing off with Adam Hadwin and Abraham Ancer at 10:50 a.m. Eastern Time, with television coverage of the OHL Classic at Mayakoba starting at 1:00 p.m. Eastern Time on the Golf Channel.
Until then, I’ll leave you with a chuckle.

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Rod Pampling (Courtesy of Getty Images/ Via GolfWeek.com)

Pampling Notches First Victory in 10 Years at Shriners

After being cut from his first event of the year, the stars aligned for Rod Pampling as he brought home the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open with a total 20-under-par for his third win. The win Sunday was Pampling’s first since winning the Bay Hill Invitational in 2006.

Pampling started off Sunday strong getting to 4-under on the day before making the turn. However, after making the turn, the tires screeched and the engine sputtered. Pampling would bogey holes 10 and 12 after missing two close putts but after that, he was able to reset himself and go on a solid run. Pampling would rattle off back-to-back-to-back birdies from holes 13 to 15, to get to 5-under.

 

Pampling wasn’t done, though, he finished the final hole of his round with this epic walk-in/off birdie.

 

 

Early on in the round, the Shriners seemed to be out of reach of the 47-year-old Pampling, and up for grabs between Brooks Koepka and Lucas Glover. Koepka got off to a hot start, much like Pampling. However, a three-putt bogey on the fifth hole caused him to sputter and he couldn’t seem to get much else going in his final round.

 

 

Glover started off solid carding a 2-under through his first nine holes but struggled late as he bogeyed the 17th and 18th to drop to three shots behind Pampling.

 

Next week the PGA Tour heads to El Camaleon Golf Club in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico, for the OHL Classic at Mayakoba where Graeme McDowell will attempt to defend last year’s victory.

 

Until then, I’ll leave you on the lighter side.

 

Pampling wasn’t done yet, he finished the final hole of his round with this epic walk-in/off birdie.

 

Early on in the round, the Shriners seemed to be out of the hand of the 47-year-old Pamplimg and up for grabs between Brooks Koepka and Lucas Glover. Koepka got off to a hot start, much like Pampling, but a three putt bogey on the fifth hole caused him to sputter and he couldn’t seem to get much else going in his final round.

Glover started off solid carding a 2-under through his first nine holes but struggled late as he bogeyed the 17th and 18th hole to drop to three shots behind Pampling.

Next week the PGA Tour heads to El Camaleon Golf Club in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico for the OHL Classic at Mayakoba where Graeme McDowell will attempt to defend last year’s victory.

Until then, I’ll leave you on the lighter side.

Hideki Matsuyama (Courtesy of AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

Matsuyama Grabs First WGC for Asia, Gribble Gets First Win

Hideki Matsuyama played his last 45 holes at the WGC-HSBC Champions without a bogey. That streak helped propel the three-time winner to a 23-under par on the tournament and a lead of seven or more strokes over the likes of Henrik Stenson and Rory McIlroy.

Matsuyama led after 54-holes and had no intention of relinquishing the lead, shooting a 6-under, 66 in his final round at the WGC-HSBC Champions. Last year’s winner, Russel Knox, was three strokes behind Matsuyama, so a repeat winner was a possibility. But Knox’s 2-over, 74 in his final round put a hamper on that.

While Matsuyama is a third-time winner, this win marks the first time that an Asian player has won a WGC event, making the win just a little more special.

While the WGC-HSBC Champions was going on in China, Cody Gribble took home the Sanderson Farms Championship in his first full year as a PGA Tour professional. The event, which took place in Jackson, Mississippi; was not easily won as Gribble had to dig himself from the 1-over hole he put himself in after the end of his first round. Gribble shot a 9-under, 63 to get back to 8-under on the tournament and it all seemed to click for him from there. He shot a 5-under third round and a 7-under final round to nab the trophy.

Next week the PGA Tour heads to TPC Summerlin in Las Vegas for the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open where Smylie Kaufman will try to defend his title and grab his second win in his second season on the PGA Tour.

Until then, I’ll let you judge how much the Golf God’s love Rory McIlroy.

Rod Pampling (Courtesy of Steve Dykes / Getty Images)

Pampling Holds Onto Lead at Shriners After Round Two

With round two of the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open suspended due to darkness, Rod Pampling sits atop the leaderboard at 14-under-par, for now.

Pampling, who shot an 11-under 60 in his first round, couldn’t find that same spark in his second round but still maintained the lead shooting a 3-under 68. In the early goings of Pampling’s round, it seemed like he was going to struggle as he was 2-over through his first five holes. Pampling managed to get back to even-par on his round before making the turn and even turned his round around for the better as he matched four birdies to one bogey to get to 3-under on the day.

Not far behind Pampling sits Brooks Koepka at 13-under. Koepka started his second round strong but almost immediately faced a challenge as he bogeyed his third and fourth holes to get to one-over. Through some slick maneuvering and an eagle right before the turn, Koepka was at 1-under through nine holes. Koepka got to 5-under on his round, thanks to this putt.

 

Koepka’s 5-under would have been enough to get a share of the lead but a missed putt from just under 5 ½ feet on the 18th hole put him one behind Pampling.

The reason I said Pampling held the lead for time being is because Aaron Wise, who sits at 12-under currently, still has four holes left to go in his second round. Wise shot a 30 in his first nine to get to 6-under on the back and then birdied the par-4 second to get to 7-under on the day. Wise still has a shot to take the lead even before the third round starts.

Tee times for the third round have yet to be posted but television coverage of the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open is scheduled to start at 4:30 p.m. EST on the Golf Channel.

Until then, I’ll leave you on the lighter side.

Hideki Matsuyama (Courtesy of AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

Matsuyama Holds 54-Hole Lead at WGC-HSBC

In the wee hours of this Saturday morning, the guys on the PGA Tour were finishing their third round of the WGC-HSBC Champions at Sheshan International Golf Club in Shanghai.

As it sits right now Hideki Matsuyama is the 54-hole leader at 17-under-par, with a gang of golfers over three strokes back. Matsuyama, a 24-year-old from Japan, has made himself a force to be reckoned with over the last month or so on the PGA tour.  He definitely showed it this weekend, recording 23 birdies to just six bogeys.

Over the course of his last 11 par-5’s, Matsuyama has birdied 10 of them. The one hole he didn’t, he saved par.


Currently, there are two storylines to keep on the back burner. The first is if Matsuyama wins this weekend, he’ll be the first Japanese player to win a World Golf Championships event. The second is Russel Knox, 14-under-par, doing what he can to reclaim his title at the WGC-HSBC. If he manages to do so, Knox will be the second person to ever defend a title at a WGC event.

The star-studded lineup that many people were talking up heading into this weekend just hasn’t been itself so far. FedEx Cup runner-up Dustin Johnson sits at 2-over, Bubba Watson is at 4-over.  Matt Kuchar, Rory McIlroy, and Henrik Stenson all sit eight strokes behind the leader at 9-under, which in comparison to many golfers is incredible, but it’s not what the public expected.

Kuchar did bag a 193-yard hole-in-one on the par-3 17th hole.

However, it’s still very early in the PGA Tour season and there’s still plenty of time for these guys to break out the big guns and record a couple of wins.

Until then, I’ll leave you on the lighter side.

 

Justin Thomas (Courtesy of Stanley Chou / Getty Images via LATimes.com)

Thomas Battles Back to Capture Second Straight CIMB Classic

After shooting an eight-under-par, 64, Justin Thomas was able to reclaim his title at the CIMB Classic over names like Hideki Matsuyama and 54-hole leader Anirban Lahiri.

Thomas, who finished at 23-under-par for the event, quickly gained ground on the leader, Lahiri, in the fourth and final round carding four birdies in his first five holes. Thomas was then able to play take some deep breaths and play the game his own way knowing he had caught up. That would lead to four more birdies on the day capped off by this putt Thomas rolled in on the par-4 17th.

Lahiri faltered out of the gate shooting a quadruple bogey on the par-5 fourth after getting his ball stuck in a tree.

Lahiri was able to keep his wits about him after the catastrophe and regain some ground carding a birdie on the fifth and an eagle on the sixth hole, only after knocking down a downhill 35-footer.

Matsuyama, who carded a six-under 66 to finish second at 20-under, golfed extremely well at Kuala Lumpur, carding 23 birdies and an eagle. Matsuyama’s downfall was a minor malfunction as he made the turn to the back nine in his first round. A double bogey on the 10th put Matsuyama at a two-over-par deficit and allowed Thomas to go up by five strokes after he shot an eight-under, 64.

This upcoming week, the PGA Tour jumps on a plane for just over five hours as it heads from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to Shanghai, China for the WGC-HSBC Champions where last year’s winner, Russell Knox will defend his title against a star-studded lineup featuring the likes of Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson, and Henrik Stenson.

I don’t know about you, but I’m excited. Until then I’ll leave you on the lighter side.

(Courtesy of MOHD RASFAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Lahiri Holds Hefty 54-Hole Lead for First Time

Through three days, given the international time difference, at the CIMB Classic, Kuala Lumpur has provided several sights to see and some really good golf. As it sits now, Anirban Lahiri, 19-under, holds a four-stroke lead over last year’s winner, Justin Thomas. Lahiri has separated himself from the pack by shooting a 7-under, 65 while just about everyone else near the top of the leaderboard either remained stagnant or was playing catch up.
Lahiri broke onto the playing scene last year and hasn’t really done much to pad his resumé, given this is his first 54-hole lead. If Lahiri can remain on top it would be a fantastic spot to show up Thomas at a course he absolutely dominates, and take home his first win.

 

With a place so interesting and exotic, you would think that Kuala Lumpur may have more than the eyes can see, and you’d be right. Before teeing off for the third round, a six-foot python slithered out onto a green on the course and gave a couple of people a fright.

 

 

The snake was subsequently bagged by four members of the course and released back out into the wild.

 

Kevin Na notched a hole in one on the par-3 eighth hole from 177 yards out; but currently, at 6-under, Na doesn’t really have any influence on how this event will turn out.

Paul Casey, 9-under, entered the CIMB Classic coming off of four straight fourth-place finishes, but hasn’t found the same amount of success at Kuala Lumpur. Aside from his first round, Casey hasn’t put himself in positions to climb the leaderboard.

Given the time difference, the fourth and final round will tee off sometime during Saturday night.

But until then, I’ll leave you on the lighter side.

 

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