Almanac Golf – Golf Capital: Kim’s record in Wisconsin, Knox and Fox in Irish playoff

@hamishneal

Scotland’s Russell Knox won the Irish Open as links golf clicked into gear in the British Isles this weekend. Over in the USA Sei Young Kim broke an LPGA scoring record in Wisconsin as Kevin Na won for the first time in seven years on the PGA Tour after he triumphed in West Virginia.

Opening Drive
County Donegal’s Ballyliffin Golf Club hosted the European Tour’s Irish Open but it probably should have been in Limerick as Inverness-born Russell Knox defeated Kiwi Ryan Fox at the first playoff hole to claim his first Rolex Series win.

Fox, who lead after the first round and was up near the lead most of the way, had a chance to win it on the 72nd hole with a putt that lipped out. Knox holed a monster birdie putt to force the playoff having come into the day six shots from the lead – but only two adrift from Fox. With overnight leader Erik Van Rooyen (two over 74) having slipped away Knox and Fox stood alone at 14 under ahead of Jorge Campillo. Knox then holed another huge putt on the 18th to win for the first time in two years. Fox gets a spot in the Open but is still seeking his first ET victory. This week Gullane, about 30 kilometres from Edinburgh, hosts the Scottish Open with final spots on the line for the Open at Carnoustie.

¬Spain’s Carlota Ciganda signed for a final round eight under 64 to finish at 22 under at the Thornberry Creek LPGA Classic… but that was only good enough for second as 25-year-old Sei Young Kim claimed a seventh LPGA title in record-setting fashion in Oneida, Wisconsin. Kim surpassed the previous record for a four-day tournament of 27 under which she held jointly with Hall of Famer Annika Sorenstam.

Seoul-born Kevin Na produced a comprehensive win and then an emotional response to breaking his 167-tournament winless run at TPC Old White in West Virginia. Victory in the A Military Tribute at The Greenbrier (Classic) came after he fired a 19 under score which was five clear of fellow American Kelly Kraft. Na’s other PGA win came in October of 2011 in Nevada.

Player Performance Notes
Following the playoff quinella we look at the Scottish Open which is the fifth of the eight Rolex Series tournaments this season on the European Tour. Gullane Golf Club located in East Lothian hosts the tournament and Rickie Fowler last won here in 2015 with Rafael Cabrera-Bello the defending champion.

20 to 50: Ryan Fox. After last week’s playoff defeat Fox could drop away here but given he rebounded with consistent effort after near misses in France and Ireland this time last year he can play with freedom with the Open spot wrapped up.

20 to 50: Russell Knox. It’s rare to go with two column picks in consecutive weeks but Knox’s top ten finish at Gullane in 2015 to go with his winning links forms makes him a very solid prospect.

20 to 50: Matt Kuchar. Second to Fowler here in 2015 Kuchar and second in the Open last year. However the Floridian hasn’t won since 2015 but he’s got the experience to thrive here.

50 to 100: Eddie Pepperell. The Englishman was fourth here in 2015 and won the Qatar Masters in February at a venue with similar traits to this links venue in Scotland.

Greens in regulation
In the John Deere Classic at TPC Deere Run the defending champion will be taking something out of his gear bag after American Bryson DeChambeau has been told by the USGA that he can’t use a protractor. The NCAA champion from 2015 was barred from using the item (which he might still have kept from college) to check pin locations as it was deemed an ‘unusual device.’ I appreciate his level of detail. Good luck to him in his title defence at Illinois.

The LPGA event in Ohio this week (the Marathon Classic) presents an interesting defending champion with IK Kim a four-shot winner here last year. This was weeks before she won the Women’s British Open held at Kingsbarns in Scotland.

Tap in
With the (men’s) Open later this month news of an American major making the move was confirmed on Tuesday. To avoid the maelstrom of the start of NFL and College Football seasons in the USA the US PGA Championship has been shifted from August to May to allow an earlier start for the PGA Tour’s season-ending FedEx Cup series. This means the three American men’s majors will run consecutively with the Open, next year to be held at Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland, the final major of 2019.

This golfing wrap first appeared on From 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.

Comments

  1. Peter_B says:

    The links golf in Ireland and Scotland over these 3 weeks is a wonderful return to natural golf in natural surroundings after the trumped up (pun intended) manicured courses of the USPGA. The Kim Kardashian courses.
    It has been unusually hot and dry in the UK and all the courses are described as “crispy”. Very browned out fairways and rough with the only ‘green’ on then putting greens. I guess they don’t put irrigation pipes on the fairways because of the usual abundant rain.
    New Zealander Ryan Fox played magnificently tee to green. Long driving and wonderful wedges. Putts worse than JT Harms. Had birdie chances inside 12 feet on the last few holes and in the playoff and never looked likely.
    By contrast Russel Knox was 40 metres shorter off the tee and hit in the rough, but holed successive 40 foot birdie putts to both make the playoff and then win it. Drive for show – putt for dough.
    My brother and a good mate will both be in Scotland for the Open and playing some courses while they are there. Jealous – one for the bucket list.

  2. The format change to the three links venues, four if you count France was a great move. Can’t believe it’s not been this way for ages. Baked fairways for this week should be interesting.
    Hope your brother and his pal enjoy the Open.

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