Almanac Golf: Golf Capital – Double defences in the USA and Scotland, Top tours head to Asia

@hamishneal

 

A collection of golf news, thoughts and notes from the week which saw a double defence in Scotland and California plus both the PGA and LGPA are in Asia this week.

 

Opening drive
Wins to Tyrell Hatton in Scotland and Brendan Steele in California saw both players retain their titles from the respective tournaments after wins in 2016 as well. At the tri-course event on Scotland’s east coast finishing at the Old Course Hatton won his second European Tour title whilst Steele defended his crown at the Safeway Open – the PGA Tour’s first event of the 2017/18 wraparound season.

 

Hatton, 25- not quite 23 or 24, won after leading by five strokes coming to the final round and triumphed by three shots after he carded a six-under 66 on the Old Course. Hatton started and finished his tournament on the Old Course at St Andrews playing his middle two rounds at Carnoustie and Kingsbarns where he picked up two rounds of 65 proved crucial and gave him a good buffer over the weekend.

California native Steele was victorious for the second time at Napa Valley as he won by two strokes over Tony Finau before bushfires ended up raging near the course as extreme weather continues to take hold in the western state of the USA. Steele’s other PGA Tour win was back in 2011 at the Texas Open but he is right at home on the Silverado Country Club’s North Course.

Player performance notes
Players I’m interested to see how they go with notes related to capital investment if that’s your thing. The European Tour’s Rolex Series resumes with the Italian Open taking place at Monza. Italian Francesco Molinari is the defending champion at the venue which is in the same park area as the famous formula one race track.

20 to 50: Matthew Fitzpatrick. A winner only last month on the European Tour Fitzpatrick has finished 16th and third the last two years here. The 23-year-old already has four European Tour victories to his credit.

20 to 50: Alex Noren. The Swede is yet to play this event in this guise but in the last 15 months has won events in four countries so I think he has the versatility to adapt to the venue.

50 to 100: Lucas Bjerregaard. The Dane, already a winner this year, placed third two years ago and was 20th last year. Since his last win he’s finished eighth but missed the cut in Scotland which is understandable to a degree.

50 to 100: Nacho Elvira. Third here last year the Spaniard has posted a 7th and 11th in the last month but missed the final round in Scotland.

50 to 100: Ryan Fox. At a venue with not too manty dramatic hazards the Kiwi could go well and we have spoken about his ability at top level European events already this season. Fox, 30 , will be unencumbered by having a massive ego playing with him, more on that later, and has won in France (on the second tier) so has experience winning on the European mainland.

50 to 100: Joakim Largergren. I’m not getting off the Swede like I did Hatton and his finished in Scotland T12 is respectable form for this event in which he finished third two years ago.

Greens in regulation
The psychology of golf was well on display in Scotland over the course of the last week as Hatton outlined how the format (a celebrity pro-am teams event) helped elevate him to another links victory. Hatton was playing with actor Jamie Dornan, of Fifty Shades of Grey fame, and spoke about how having someone else to speak with other than his caddie relaxed him.

Hatton, now 22 in the world rankings, must keep up consistent form to take his place in the 2018 Ryder Cup. Regular individual strokeplay form will dictate his appearance or otherwise in the Ryder Cup next year and it’s worth noting Hatton did miss all four cuts in the majors this year. Dornan and Hatton were 12th in the team event which was won by Welshman Jamie Donaldson playing with Kieran McManus. McManus is the son of prominent Irish stud farm owner and two-time winner of the team’s competition himself JP McManus. Former Australia tweaker Shane Warne, playing with Kiwi Ryan Fox finished in a tie for fifth four shots back.

Tap in
The PGA’s foray into overseas venues continues with the CIMB Classic in Malaysia. The event at Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club’s West Course is co-sanctioned with the Asian Tour and has had PGA status since 2013. In that time it’s been won solely by Americans with the last two victors back-to-back champions (Justin Thomas 2015, 2016 and Ryan Moore 2013, 2014). Over in South Korea the LPGA’s KEB Hana Bank Championship takes place and all of the top ten will in attendance. The event at the Ocean Course at the SkyKY72 Golf and Resort venue in Incheon has been held nine times here previously but the event is 15 years old. Spain’s Carlota Ciganda won in 2016 and, unlike the men’s event this week in Asia, has had a variety of recent winners with Spain, Sweden, the USA and South Korean golfers all represented as winners since it’s inception.

 

This golfing wrap first appeared on The sideline of sport

 

About Hamish Neal

Born in Lower Hutt New Zealand Hamish is forever wedded to all things All Black, All Whites, Tall Blacks and more. Writing more nowadays in his ‘spare time’ (what is that anyway?) but still with a passion for broadcasting. Has worked in various sports development roles in England, Northern Ireland and Australia.

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