Almanac Golf – Golf Capital: Park’s major double, Irish Open focus in Europe

@hamishneal

Sung Hyung Park added to her 2017 US Women’s Open title winning the Women’s PGA Championship in Illinois via a playoff, seeing off So Yeon Ryu and Nasa Hataoka. Elsewhere there were wins to Francesco Molinari on the PGA Tour and Alex Noren in France on the European Tour.

 

Opening Drive
A dramatic Sunday saw the Women’s PGA Championship going 74 holes as South Korean Sung Hyung Park won at the second playoff hole prevailing over Hataoka (who was eliminated at the first playoff hole) and then Ryu. Park birdied 16 to win the title after a final round 69 got her into the playoff following Ryu’s final round 73 which saw her give up a three-shot lead she had heading into Sunday. Hataoka had been the big mover with a stunning final round of eight under 64 having entered the day five shots adrift.

 

This week the Thornberry Creek LPGA Classic returns for a second year on tour. Last year Australian Katherine Kirk won the debut event at the course in Oneida, Wisconsin.

 

Tiger Woods claimed his third top ten of the year and moved to 67 in the world but, like the rest of the field, the 14-time major winner was playing a different tournament for most of the weekend at TPC Potomac as Francesco Molinari won the Quicken Loans Nationals. A comprehensive eight-shot triumph had Molinari (at 21 under) clear of Ryan Armour with Sung Kang a further shot back and Abraham Ancer back in fourth with Woods. Xander Schaufelle is the defending champion at this week’s Greenbrier Classic at the Old White course in West Virginia.

 

It was an Italian winning in America at Maryland but it was nearly the reverse across the tours with American Julian Suri close to victory in France before an 18th hole double bogey allowed Alex Noren to win the Open de France at this year’s Ryder Cup venue – le Golf National near Paris. Noren finished at seven under and benefitted from Suri (who finished second with Russell Knox as did Chris Wood) finding the water on 18 at the third Rolex Series event of 2018. Noren has won every year since 2015 and has moved to 14 in the world rankings.

 

Player Performance Notes
After the Rolex Series event on the continent it’s time for key events in the British Isles which start with the Irish Open at Ballyliffin in County Donegal. Stung after last week’s playoff miss in the USA here is a look at some strong hopes for the links challenge.

 

Under 20: Jon Rahm, The defending champion from last year’s tournament when it was held at Portstewart comes in with similar form to last time. Rahm went missed cut at the US Open before a T10 in France and this year he went missed cut at the Open before T5 last weekend. He’s won three times since that triumph with eight other top ten finishes.

 

20 to 50: Paul Dunne. Winner with Gavin Moynihan of the Golf Sixes in May Dunne was T21 last week in France. He’s also finished in the top ten in Spain and China this year and he will be the local that might not be under that mush pressure this week with Rory McIlroy’s Foundation hosting the tournament.

 

20 to 50: Russell Knox. T2 in this event two years back Knox solidified his return to form with the T2 finish in France on the weekend. Despite the fact he hasn’t won since 2016 the one time top 20 player has bounced back to close to his best with a recent T12 at the US Open.

 

50 to 100: Ryan Fox. This time last year Fox broke into the top 100 on the back of a great trio of results in France followed by the Irish and Scottish Open going 6-T4-T4. The New Zealander was T8 month ago in Italy and plays well at links venues.

 

Greens in regulation
Two-time US Open winner (in 2001 and 2004) Retief Goosen failed, just, to qualify for the latest edition of the US Open recently so he didn’t get a chance to return to the site of his triumph at Shinnecock Hills but the South African will get the chance to improve on his career best finish of T5 in the Open Championship when he tees it up at Carnoustie after qualifying for the third major of the year earlier in the week. Goosen was one of the 12 qualifiers this week across four venues as he came through the 36-hole event at Prince’s in Kent.

 

Tap in
Back to Park’s win and the dramatic finish in Illinois on Sunday was not easily followed in Australia (Monday morning) with Fox Sports making a hash of their coverage of the third women’s major of the year.

 

Foxtel Help attempted to defend their 4pm AEST replay of the final round noting that the tee times were moved up due to the weather. This is true, but NBC still stuck to their same scheduled coverage time (starting at 5am AEST) which took I’m the final holes of regulation plus the playoff. So no adjustment was needed by Fox Sports. It was almost as they never planned to show the round live at all…

 

Two other golf tournaments were on across the multitude of Fox Sports channels. The PGA Tour event won by Molinari plus the US Senior Golf Open (won by David Toms in Colorado.) But how an elite women’s major is not prioritised over both, or at least the Senior Open, is baffling.

 

Like last year’s debacle in the Evian when the final round was also not covered live Fox Sports/Foxtel has again displayed poor programming judgement when it comes to women’s golf majors. It further brings into question the federal government’s decision to give them $30 million to cover women’s sport with no sensible parameters around the use of those funds. Nothing has been produced that, for example, outlines how Fox Sports will be obliged to show at least all the majors live, in full, in the future. Over to you Mitch Fifield.

 

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.

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