Almanac Golf: Golf Capital – Playoff wins for Wang and Lincicome, Rahm home in La Jolla

@hamishneal

A collection of golf news, notes and thoughts from the week across the globe from Qatar to the Bahamas and San Diego plus a look to tournaments in Dubai and Australia this weekend.

Opening drive:
Two playoffs and an eagle putt on the 72nd hole highlighted top flight golf across the globe on the weekend with wins to Jeunghun Wang, Brittany Lincicome, and Jon Rahm – the latter their first pro crown.

South Korean Wang was the first of the trio to win claiming the Qatar Masters on the first hole of the playoff. Wang, 21, has now won three times since May (two of those in a playoff.) Wang’s extra-hole triumph at the Doha Golf Club came over South African Jaco van Zyl and Swede Joakim Lagergren (both of whom are yet to win on the European Tour.)

Lincicome prevailed over Lexi Thompson in the Bahamas Classic with the America needing only the first playoff hole with a birdie giving the 31-year-old her seventh LPGA tour win. Thompson was well placed after the second round when she carded an impressive 12 under par on the par 73 course. The mark has only been bested once on the LPGA by Annika Sorenstam when she recorded 59 on the par 72 Moon Valley Country Club course in Phoenix.

In the northern San Diego suburb of La Jolla on Sunday in the US PGA Tour Spain’s Jon Rahm knocked home a long-range eagle putt on 18 to win the Farmers Insurance Open by three strokes from American Charles Howell II and Cheng Tsung Pan of Taiwan. Rahm is high up in the market for this weekend’s Phoenix Open – the greatest show on grass. This is the tournament which features the infamous party hole on the 16th. Last year Hideki Matsuyama triumphed after Rickie Fowler threw away his lead by blasting a ball into the water on the 17th before doing the same in the playoff when the 17th was the fourth deciding hole.

Player performance notes:
Players I’m interested in to see how they go with notes that interest me related to capital investment if that’s your thing. The European Tour’s Middle Eastern swing concludes with the Dubai Desert Classic which features Tiger Woods (who missed the cut on the weekend in his full field return for the season.) Masters champion Danny Willett returns to defend his crown.

20 and under: Henrik Stenson. The Open champion has three wins to his credit in Dubai and likes the Emirates Majlis course having broken par in 15 of his last 16 rounds here.

20 to 50: Matthew Fitzpatrick. Column favourite who I think can add to his win in Dubai last year when he triumphed in the ET’s season-ending World Tour Championship over Tyrell Hatton

100 to 200: Jorge Campillo. The Spaniard was in contention last weekend in Doha before finishing five shots from the top. He was badly let down by his third round 75. The 30-year-old was T9 in the WT Championship last year in Dubai so appears to have improved on his desert golf form compared to earlier in 2016

100 to 200: Nacho Elvira. Like his countryman Campillo, he was in contention last weekend in Qatar before finishing two shots off the lead in a tie for sixth. This was a huge improvement on his three missed cuts in the Middle East last year. He’s leapt 112 spots in the rankings since then to 142.

100 to 200: Curtis Luck. The West Australian, who claimed the US Amateur Championship last year, has a US Masters spot and will have an interesting lead-up to playing at Augusta in April. This is the first high-quality field he will face in the next few months. He could revel in the opportunity after a commendable T49 in Abu Dhabi a fortnight ago which doesn’t sound good at face value finishing 14 shots behind winner Tommy Fleetwood but he did fire a second round 65.

200 to 500: Nathan Kimsey. With an early tee time in round one, the Englishman can improve on his T9 last weekend in Doha where he was only three strokes from the winner on a crowded leader-board.

Greens in regulation:
Aside from the playoff contest in the Bahamas there was a note of interest with one of the LPGA’s new additions on Sunday. Nelly Korda, 18, finished T5 in what was her debut LPGA tournament. If the name is familiar in a sporting context you are right. Korda is the youngest daughter of 1998 Australian Open men’s singles winner Petr Korda. Dad Korda has caddied for Nelly before and eldest sister Jessica, 23, (who has won four pro titles) but he missed this event because he was watching their brother Sebastian, 16, at a futures level tennis tournament in Florida. Mother of the siblings Regina Rajchrtova was a pro tennis player herself having represented Czechoslovakia in the Olympics.

Tap in:
The Australian LPGA’s RACV Gold Coast Challenge gets underway on Thursday and the tournament favourite is Indian Olympian Aditi Ashok. The two-time Ladies European Tour winner is the second Indian-born golfer to earn an LPGA tour card. Access to the sport of golf in Indian, whilst improving, is still very low with this piece in The Guardian last week pointing out “40% of the (nation’s 210) golf courses are on military bases and restricted to military personnel.” For the men at Huntingdale Golf Club in Melbourne Marcus Fraser (who won the Maybank Championship in Malaysia last year) is the favourite for the opening event of the 2017 Australasian Tour – the Victorian PGA Championship.

This golfing wrap first appeared on From the sideline of sport

About

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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