Almanac Golf: Golf Capital – Fowler wins in Florida, WGC goes to to Mexico



A collection of golf news, notes and thoughts from the week across the globe covering tournaments in Mexico and Singapore plus more.


Opening drive:
It was home victories for players in the USA and South Africa with Rickie Fowler winning the Honda Classic and Darren Fichardt saluting in the Joburg Open, whilst Amy Yang won in Thailand for her third LPGA victory.


Fowler registered his fourth career PGA win when he triumphed by four strokes at PGA National in Florida despite finding the water late in his round on Sunday. Fowler, 28, picked up his first win in 13 months by firing consecutive rounds of 66 and then 65 on Saturday to hold the lead heading into the final day before he got the lead out to five strokes at one stage. Countrymen Morgan Hoffman and Gary Woodland tied for second at eight under.


Fichardt secured a return to The Open for the first time since 2010 when he won the Joburg Open by stroke from Welshman Stuart Manley and Paul Waring of England who both finished a stroke back at -14. The latter duo also get a spot at Royal Birkdale after their efforts at the Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club. The European Tour stages a further event in South Africa this weekend with the Tshwane Open in Pretoria.


Yang moved to eight in the world with her win at the Honda LPGA Thailand. Firing a 22-under tournament record Yang logged a final round four under to ease to victory. Fellow South Korean’s So Yeon Ryu (-17) and Sei Young Kim (-15) filled out the top three. The world’s best two female players Lydia Ko and Ariya Jutanugarn were in a group of players T8 that finished 11 strokes behind the winner. Yang, 27, had to play 23 holes on the final day due to a host of rain delays at the Siam Country Club.


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. Saying bye bye to the ‘Blue Monster’ and in a delicious irony the first WGC event for 2017 heads from the Trump-owned venue to Club de Golf Chapultepec located 15 kilometres to the west of Mexico City’s CBD.


20 and under: Dustin Johnson. After his win in the US Open last year he triumphed in the WGC event in Ohio at his next start so the new world number one winning here in his first start after his victory two weeks ago in Los Angeles is not out of the question.


50 to 100: Brooks Koepka. The altitude of the venue could benefit long hitters and Koepka, who won in Japan in November, is in the top ten in this statistic for the season on the PGA Tour.


50 to 100: Thomas Pieters, of the usual European Tour players in attendance the Belgian, ranks the highest (eighth overall) for the season in driving distance and finished T2 in LA.


50 to 100: Charl Schwartzel. The world number 27 has missed his last two cuts but did finish third in the DP World Tour Championship – the European Tour’s end of season event and a consistent player at an unknown venue is normally a reliable option.


50 to 100: Jimmy Walker. A major winner from last year has been in good form in his last two outings with T11 in LA and T21 last weekend in Florida.


200 to 500: Sam Brazel. With a new venue for all bar one of the players recent form counts and since his December win in Hong Kong Brazel has had a respectable T12 in Malaysia.


Greens in regulation:
Recent Women’s Australian Open winner Ha Na Jang is the defending champion for the HSBC Women’s Champions event in Singapore following Yang’s victory in Chonburi. The New Zealand swing of the PGA Tour of Australasia commences with the NZ$125,000 NZ PGA Championship to be played on the North Island at the Manawatu Golf Club in Palmerston North. Queensland’s Brad Kennedy won in 2016 when the event was held at Auckland’s Remuera Golf Club. Focus then moves towards the ISPS Handa New Zealand Open a week later in Arrowtown – which is worth significantly more than this week’s tournament at NZ$1,000,000.


Tap in:
Aside from the afore-mentioned irony about the move away from a Trump venue for this weekend Billy Horschel, even though he didn’t end up qualifying, still managed to lace the venue shift with a hint of unnecessary panic unnecessary panic saying his wouldn’t have gone due to security issues. The part of Mexico City the event is in, Naucalpan, does have the eighth-highest crime rate in the country but it is in a major city so that’s not surprising. However the security at the surrounding player hotels etc to the venue is probably on the increase this weekend. Elsewhere Rory McIllroy has caused controversy agreeing to play with Realtor-in-Chief Trump recently in Florida. Aside from the political aspects it was interesting that McIlroy, recovering from stress fractures, decided to play given it wasn’t in his planning. Perhaps a good sign for this weekend that he’s ahead of his rehab But, the Ulsterman has (rightly) had fellow pros such as Australian Bryden Macpherson point out the thought one needs to take when agreeing to play golf with such a divisive figure. Maybe McIlroy will reflect on his decision in time. But more realistically, given most of the PGA Tour is Republican, it’s likely to be an echo chamber response from his peers.


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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