Almanac Golf – Golf Capital: Day wins again, Irish delight at Golf Sixes




Jason Day’s second win of the year plus a terrific second edition of the Golf Sixes highlight the news, thoughts and notes from the last week. Day’s win at Quail Hollow sets the scene for this week’s PGA Tour event, The Players Championships – dubbed the fifth major.


Opening drive

Jason Day moved back into the top ten (now ranked seven) as he picked up his 12th PGA Tour triumph winning by two strokes at the Wells Fargo Championship in Charlotte. Day finished two clear of five-time PGA Tour winner Nick Watney and 2015 NCAA College champion Aaron Wise. The two stroke buffer for Day, who was wayward off the tee over the four days, was what he started the final round ahead by which means he moves to a 50% record (9/18) when leading or co-leading heading into the final round of a tournament.


Coupled with his Famers Insurance Open triumph Day is now the fourth player to win twice this season on the PGA Tour and this sets him up well ahead of this week’s tournament in Florida.


Team Ireland claimed the Golf Sixes title at the Centurion Club in St Albans with the duo of Paul Dunne and Gavin Moynihan losing only once across the two days, ironically to the French team (Mike-Lorenzo Vera and Romain Wattel) in the group phase who they beat 2-0 in the final. The six-hole greensomes format saw some great tactical golf with the shorter hitters responsible for often getting the ball on the fairway on the longer holes before the ‘bombers’ on each team unleashed. This was highlighted by the Australia duo of Wade Ormsby and Sam Brazel with Brazel using the experience of having made last year’s final to put in another strong performance before losing to France in the semi-finals. Both all-female teams made the quarter finals and the Irish winners were late wildcard entries. This week the European Tour heads to Sicily for the Rocco Forte Open won last year by Spain’s Alvaro Quiros.


The regular LPGA tour players endured a frustrating week in the USA as Sung Hyun Park won the LPGA Texas Classic in an event shortened to 36 holes. The 2017 LPGA Rookie of the Year was teeing off well after India’s Aditi Ashok set the clubhouse lead mark of six under on Sunday. Park went on to win by a stroke from American Lindy Duncan as half the field finished their tournament on the ninth hole (how deflating?) with the weather playing havoc at The Colony course in Texas all week. After a week off the LPGA moves to Virginia for the Kingsmill Championship.


Player performance notes
Players I’m interested to see how they go with notes related to capital investment if that’s your thing. Can we go much better? Three of the four picks last week topped their group and the Irish won the event. With The Players Championship taking place we look at the tournament at TPC Sawgrass which saw a shock win for Si Woo Kim.


Under 20: Justin Thomas. Two years ago the American was T3 in this Florida event. This result came after he missed the cut at the Wells Fargo so maybe his T21 last weekend at that tournament is a good lead-up.


50 to 100: Francesco Molinari. The Italian has consecutive top seven finishes here (T7 followed by T6 last year), four top tens in total at TPC Sawgrass and also finished T16 last week in North Carolina.


50 to 100: Alex Noren. The Swede, who won four times in 2016, played this event last year for the first time and logged a very solid T10 finish including opening with a 68. Following that result he won the BMW PGA Championship in Surrey.


50 to 100: Ian Poulter. The Englishman won the Houston Open to get into the Masters and then followed his T44 at Augusta with a T7 at the RBC Heritage. Poulter, 42, was T2 here last year.


Greens in regulation

I really enjoyed what I saw of the Golf Sixes this week. From the England men’s team wearing a different replica football kit each day (England 1982 on the Sunday) to the fact junior players got to tee off on each hole after the pros was a great way to engage fans. England’s Eddie Pepperell has floated the option of adding amateur teams next year which has merit but additional women’s sides would also be useful. The TV coverage missed some key action, especially early in the quarter finals on Sunday, and given you are following four matches that really shouldn’t happen. However this is only really a small quibble about what continues to be a fun event which should offer a template for other tours to follow more often. The format shows stars are useful but not a necessity given the point of difference it offers.


Tap In

Whilst the Golf Sixes bought some further promotion to elite female players in the UK such as English duo Charley Hull and Georgia Hall there is still more to do in the game as the push towards equality continues.


In the week New Zealand Football joined Norway in paying their female players the same as the males Melissa Reid, who played the Golf Sixes as part of the European Women duo with Spain’s Carlota Ciganda, highlighted the fact several Ladies European Tour players also have part-tine jobs.


There are a limited amount of events for the females to play in Europe. The LET features only 14 events this year. Even more amazingly only three events are in the northern summer – one in July and two in August (which includes the Ladies British Open.)


In January we wrote about the higher prizemoney on offer in men’s golf compared to men’s tennis but Reid’s points about equality are further highlighted when it’s noted only the top 50 players on the LET earn greater than the average UK salary for a female of GBP25,000.


Golf Sixes provides a greater opportunity for showcasing golf but it’s tournaments, tours and the leading golfing bodies need to do more around equality in the sport. A bigger schedule of tournaments for the LET would be a good start.


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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