Almanac Golf: Golf Capital – Drought-breakers and a week of Mexican fun


A collection of golf news, thoughts and notes from a week of significant drought-breaking wins and more thrilling golf entertainment.


Five-time major winner Phil Mickelson beat Justin Thomas in a playoff, Michelle Wie won as another Korda almost claimed victory in Singapore and Daniel Nisbet won the New Zealand Open.


Opening drive
The drought-breaking weekend of golf commenced when Caboolture’s Daniel Nisebet overhauled Terry Pilkadiras in the New Zealand Open for only his second professional triumph. Nisbet at 27 under won at Arrowtown to go with his 2016 triumph in Hong Kong on the PGA Tour of China. Pilkadaris, who is yet to win on the Australasian PGA Tour, will very much see this as an opportunity lost.


A four-year winless run was ended when Michelle Wie’s final round final round 65 saw the American edge ahead after a monster putt on 18 and eventually see off four players a shot back including overnight leader Nelly Korda in Singapore. Wie’s last win was the 2014 US Women’s Open. Korda went into the final round at the HSBC Women’s World Championships looking to complete a unique family double with sister Jessica having won the week prior but Wie’s final round 65 left Korda, Brooke Henderson, Danielle Kang and Jenny Shin in a tie for second. Wie’s clutch putt from off the green on the last hole gave her the decisive lead before she watched Kang miss a chance to force a playoff in the following pairings.


Having last triumphed in 2013 at the Open Phil Mickelson finally registered professional win 49 when he prevailed over Justin Thomas in the first playoff hole in the WGC event in Mexico. Thomas had a great hole out on the 72nd hole for eagle to force the playoff before 47-year old Mickelson won the first extra hole. The PGA Tour resumes in Florida this week with the Valspar Championship.


Pretoria’s Tshwane Open was won by 10-tine tour pro winner George Coetezee who entered the tournament as one of the favoured players. This weekend the European Tour heads to India and is to be played at a diabolical venue designed by the legendary Gary Player. Recent ET winner Eddie Pepperell said the course was ‘designed by Satan.’ Last year local SSP Chawrasia claimed victory.


Player performance notes
Players I’m interested to see how they go with notes related to capital investment if that’s your thing. Shifting to the US PGA Tour the Valspar Championship, won last year by Adam Hadwin, takes place in Florida. Tiger Woods plays the Copperhead course in Palm Harbor for the first time.


Under 20. Justin Rose. World number five Rose was T8 in his last event in the USA and he has a solid record at this event with two top 10 finishes including an eighth in 2014 plus two other top 20 events. The Englishman won four starts ago in Indonesia.


20 to 50: Tony Finau. The American was second in his last start in the states (the Genesis Open) and his fifth place finish here last year shows he likes the course. He hasn’t won since 2016 so it would snap a streak similar to other recent golf victories.


20 to 50: Adam Hadwin. Canadian Hadwin’s last victory was here and he’s finished T6 and T9 in his last two starts so has roared back into form before his title defence.


20 to 50: Henrik Stenson. The Swede has an impressive recent record of 7-11-4 in this tournament and won as recently as August last year.


50 to 100: Branden Grace. A winner in November in South Africa Grace finished with a 68 in Mexico to end up T30 but he has won in nearby South Carolina.


Greens in regulation
Another drought was also snapped when England’s Meg McLaren triumphed in the NSW Women’s Open. The event finished off a period of high profile events which kicked off in early February with the joint event of the Victorian Open and was highlighted by Jin Young Ko’s Australian Open triumph. McLaren’s victory in the Women’s Open was her first on the Ladies European Tour and came after the Wellingborough native finished at ten under. Sarah Kemp (T5) was the best placed Australian behind 23-year-old McLaren.


Tap in
It’s not a tap in it’s a hole-in-one but Ross Fisher’s 1 during the WGC Mexico Championships was a great shot – it’s even better with the local Mexican commentary on it! Enjoy.


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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