Almanac Golf: Golf Capital



It was a Sunday of two playoffs in the USA, but one which didn’t look likely with nine holes to go as Ariya Jutanugarn won the US Women’s Open in dramatic fashion as Bryson DeChambeau secured victory at the Memorial in Ohio. On the European Tour Thorbjorn Olesen earned a one stroke triumph over Italian Francesco Molinari to secure the Italian Open – his first Rolex Series triumph.


Opening drive

It was a difficult manner in which to claim her second major but Thailand’s Ariya Jutanugarn eventually prevailed late on Sunday at Shoal Creek to win the US Women’s Open after a four-hole playoff over Hyo Joo Kim at the Alabama venue.


Following rain delays Jutanugarn ended up playing 50 holes over the weekend to win the title – 28 holes on Saturday (the end of her second round then her third) before the 22 holes on Sunday which included the final round plus the four play-off holes.


As if the volume of work wasn’t big enough the 22-year-old came back from a back nine implosion on the final day when she saw a seven-stroke lead evaporate as she shot 41 across the back stretch to fall into the extra holes. The playoff started with a two-hole aggregate playoff before the sudden death holes, which Jutanugarn parred both after up-and-downs out of the sand.


This week sees the LPGA move to New Jersey with the Shoprite LPGA Classic presented by Acer at Stockton Seaview near Atlantic City.


Californian Bryson DeChambeau edged out fellow American Kyle Stanley first and then South Korean Byeong-Hun An after the trio finished at 15 under to win the Memorial at Muirfield Village in Dublin (no not that one), Ohio.


A closing round 64, which included an up-and-down par on the 18th, gave Thorbjorn Olesen his first win since 2016 to claim the European Tour’s Italian Open. The Dane was somewhat of a villain at Gardagolf as Molinari was bidding for back-to-back home opens plus back-to-back triumphs following his triumph the week earlier in England.


Player Performance Notes


The FedEx St Jude Classic at TPC Southwind in Memphis is an interesting prospect with the US Open at Shinnecock Hills in New York a week away. Here are some players with interesting prospects this weekend after we got the winner home last weekend in Birmingham.


Under 20: Brooks Koepka. Hamppered by injuries since his US Open triumh last year Koepka has played only 14 times since that win but he has returned in great form after been off from most of January until May with a T42, T11 and second place finish in Texas recently.


Under 20: Phil Mickelson. Lefty has won this year and has good form at the Tennessee tournament with having not finished worse than 11th in his last five goes here, including a second two years ago.


50 to 100: Matt Jones. The Australian, who admittedly hasn’t won since 2015, has been in great form recently with a T13 at the Byron Nelson and he did finish T5 at the Tour Championship last year which might be a good guide for an event missing some big names the week before a major.


100 to 200: Braden Thornberry improved each round (71-69-67-65) to finish T4 here last year. Recently we’ve seen top amateurs raise their game on tour and Thornberry (who still intends to return to colleague for his senior year should also be buoyed by the fact he has qualified for the US Open.


Greens in regulation

It was major winners, recent European Tour winners and gun amateurs highlighting those competing for spots in next week’s US Open (the men’s version) across two countries early this week. With nine venues going in the USA and one (Walton Heath) in Surrey, England there was a host of qualifiers who many would be surprised were even needing a last chance to make this major.


Chief amongst those was 2013 Masters winner Adam Scott. The Australia, who was ranked 12 in the world this time last year, has dropped to 62 and feel just outside of a guaranteed slot.


Joining Scott is rising Australian Lucas Herbert who might be one of the big stories out of the qualifier. After a recent third-placed finish in Sicily the Victorian gained one of the four spots on offer at Portland Golf Club in Oregon winning by four strokes.


Tap in


Daimond Country Club in Atzenbrugg, Austria hosts the inaugural Shot Clock Masters. The basics of the modified format at what was once the Austrian Open sees a shot clock in play on every shot.


The official European Tour shot time allowances will be in force: a 50 second allowance for a “first to play approach shot (including a par three tee shot), chip or putt” and a 40-second allowance for a “tee shot on a par four or par five, or second or third to play approach shot, chip or putt.” There are two ‘time extensions’ (which are similar to time outs) allowed per player per round plus a buggy with each group will have a mounted clock to allow people to track the time.


Of all the modified formats this is the most transparent in it’s focus but on face value it’s no Golf Sixes in terms of ongoing drama. The fact it comes after two Rolex Series events on the European Tour and the week before the US Open means it lacks big stars plus whether players notoriously linked to slow-play would ever enter these tournament makes the motivation (and possibly the sustainability of this event) the most dubious of the fresh formats which have commenced in recent years on the ET. The jury is out until Sunday in Austria.


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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