Almanac Golf – Golf Capital: Hall gets fame, Thomas wins before PGA defence


On the weekend of the Women’s British Open Georgia Hall won the prestigious crown in Lancashire as American Justin Thomas triumphed in Ohio the week before his US PGA Championship defence.

Andrew Putnam and Gaganjeet Bhullar won alternate events for the PGA and European Tour respectively as Putnam won by four points in the Barrcuda Championships’ modified stableford event whilst Bhullar triumphed in the Fiji International.

Opening drive

Georgia Hall, 22, started Sunday one stroke behind Pornanong Phatlum before her final round of five under 67 saw Hall finish at 17 under two clear of the Thai golfer to claim the Open at Royal Lytham and St Anne’s. Hall took the lead on the 16th with a birdie before Phatlum double-bogeyed 17.

Dorset local Hall, the first British winner since Catriona Matthew in 2009, was methodical in her preparation which saw her claim her second title as a professional since the 2016 Victorian Open. Hall consulted Tom Lehman, winner of the 1996 men’s Open at the same venue, to gain in-depth knowledge of the course. It proved an astute move with only three bogeys all week who shared the win with her father and caddy Wayne.

Justin Thomas won for the eighth time in his last 43 starts when he romped home by four shots at the WGC event in Ohio as a great tune-up to this week’s PGA Championship in Missouri when the 25-year-old defends the title he won last year at Quail Hollow in North Carolina.
Thomas dedicated the victory at the Firestone Championship South Course to Australian golfer Jarrod Lyle.

India’s Gaganjeet Bhullar secured his first title since last October in Macau winning at the Natadola Bay Golf Club course in Fiji by one stroke on 17 under 274 over Northern Territory golfer Anthony Quayle. New Zealander Ben Campbell and South African star Ernie Eels were back in third.

Player performance notes

This week we head to the American Mid West for the 100th edition of the PGA Championship at the Bellerive Country Club in St Louis.

Under 20: Jason Day. World number Day won the Wells Fargo in May and won this event in 2015. Not only is he a former winner Day owns a record 12 strokes better (at 46 under)) in the tournament since 2013 than any other players. Despite various venues the Queenslander clearly likes the tournament.

Under 20: Justin Thomas. It’s simply hard to ignore the form of Thomas given he is also the defending champion. The trend of recent major winners is they have won prior that year and the now world number two has won twice in 2018 with two other top four finishes.

20 to 50: Brooks Koepka. The Bellerive Country Club hasn’t hosted a major since the PGA in 1992 and it’s last PGA Tour event was in 2008 so a player used to adapting to a venue would be suited here. Koepka’s dual US Open crowns came under hard circumstances which saw other top-liners fall away plus in recent year’s he’s won around the world in Turkey and Japan.

200 to 500: Russell Knox. The Scot won the Irish Open on the British Links swing recently and is very familiar with a variety of tracks. The 33-year-old controversially missed Ryder Cup selection in 2016 despite a PGA Tour win that year. His T12 in the US Open in June helped bring him back into form and it was his best result since a T10 in Hawaii in January.

Greens in regulation

The ending in Fiji was as dramatic as it was confusing. Bhullar’s chip for eagle on the 17th looked as if he had joined Quayle in the lead but coming back from the commercial break it was noted a scoring error amended Quayle’s round to nine under and had Bhullar in the lead as he played the last. Mistakes happen but I must admit it seemed unusual the scoring error wasn’t noted in any of the post-tournament reports on the websites of the Australasian, Asian or European Tour – the three tours were jointly hosting the event.

Tap in

Wednesday at the famous Gleneagles course in Scotland signalled golf’s latest foray into a teams event with the European Golf Team Championships. Linked to well known European Championships in sports including athletics and rowing golf gets in on the action with medals up for grabs in the multi-sport event which straddles competitions in Glasgow and the German capital of Berlin.

Men’s and women’s team match play will take place at the PGA Centenary venue plus a foursomes stroke play mixed team event. The mixed event final is on Saturday with the men’s and women’s events concluding on Sunday.

With the PGA Championship on for the men and no LPGA event this week the big names in attendance are primarily female with first-time major winner Georgia Hall and four-time major winner Dame Laura Davies taking part. In fact the English duo will be paired together on the back of Davies having won the Seniors Women’s Open in Chicago last month.

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.


  1. John Butler says

    Hamish, following on from your piece last week, the PGA has just notified the passing of Jarrod Lyle.

    Very, very sad.

  2. Georgia Hall was a great story winning the British Womens Open last weekend. Enormous long term planning and attention to detail in achieving her win. I was barracking for Perth’s Minjee Lee and I thought Georgia was putting too much pressure on herself. But she rose above it.
    Her Dad is a 2 handicapper and has always been her mentor/early coach/now caddy. A plasterer and her mum is a part time hairdresser. They sacrificed enormously for her to realise her dreams. No country club wealth there. Dad once sold his golf clubs (I could have helped out most weeks) to finance a trip away to a youth tournament in Scotland. She had to forgo invitations to top US amateur tournaments because there was no money.
    Like you I fancy my man Day this week. He is in good form and the long softer courses for the PGA suit his game. High ball flight and great wedge/short game. Fingers crossed.
    As with JB I mourn the passing of Jarrod Lyle. A life that found more divot holes than anyone deserves. Wonderful tribute from Ryan Lavner recalling the scars that cancer treatment at a young age leave on a person. Great to see the PGA players and wider golf/sport community get around his family. I am sure that cancer as a teenager would have disqualified him from ever getting any sort of insurance cover. Vale’ Jarrod. You’ve found the green.

  3. Peter I’d heard another piece about Georgia Hall noting that not only had she missed amateur events that she’d qualified for some majors but couldn’t afford to go. That Lavner piece on Jarrod Lyle was a great insight

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