Almanac Golf – Golf Capital: Hendry and SSP win their ‘majors’, Hadwin seals PGA triumph



A collection of golf news, notes and thoughts from the week across the globe covering Adam Hadwin’s maiden PGA Tour title and Michael Hendry winning the Brodie Breeze Trohpy for claiming victory in the New Zealand Open.


Opening drive:
On a weekend of fifth major’s two players won their home open in India and New Zealand with Hadwin, a Canadian, finishing on top at Palm Harbor to win the Valspar Championship.


Michael Hendry became the first Kiwi since Mahal Pearce in 2003 to win the New Zealand Open but it wasn’t without drama as Hendry needed extra holes to get past Brad Kennedy of Australia and fellow Kiwi Ben Campbell. The latter duo found the water at what was the 73rd hole for the week as Hendry picked up his first win since a triumph on the Japan Tour two years ago. One has to feel for Campbell in particular who also lost out in a playoff in the NZA PGA Championship recently. Two key moments in Hendry’s win were his eagles on 16 and 17 on Saturday at the Millbrook course.


SSP Chawrasia backed up his 2016 triumph to win the Indian Open this time at the new venue for the tournament – the highly demanding – DLF Golf and Country Club. However his fourth European Tour title was anything but easily despite the seven-stroke margin with his final score of -10 proving how hard the course was. Multiple players had chances throughout the weekend which was disrupted by delays but the six-time Asian Tour winner prevailed easily despite a cautious final hole bogey when playing partner Carlos Pigem was hacking his way across the final hole (Pigem dropped from a share of second to a tie for fifth.) The tournament was a long one for the players in terms of rounds but the high bunkers and rock cuts near the greens made for a challenging, if not drawn out, event.


Like two of the playoff protagonists at Arrowtown Hadwin, 29, found water late in his round on Sunday at the Valspar but Patrick Cantlay couldn’t roll in a key putt on the last to force a playoff. Moose Jaw-born Hadwin made headlines with a 59 recently but this item played well all weekend with rounds of 68-64-67-71. The PGA Tour stays in Florida this weekend.


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. The prestigious Arnold Palmer Invitational to be played on the outskirts of Orlando at Bay Hill Club and Lodge is our focus this weekend.


20 and under: Hideki Matsuyama. The Japanese world number four missed the cut in LA and was T25 in Mexico but won three starts back and shot a final round 67 here last year to finish T6.


20 and under: Henrik Stenson. The Swede was T7 at Valspar last weekend but has down well here before finishing three shots off the winner in 2016 when T3 and finished second here in Florida in 2015.


20 to 50: Tommy Fleetwood. Performed well to come second in Mexico at an unfamiliar course so his limited experience at the Florida venue compared to some of his other competitors might not be that big a disadvantage. Won in January in Dubai beating the likes of Dustin Johnson, Rickie Fowler and Stenson plus he is out early on Thursday in the second tee time timeslot of 7:47am.


20 to 50: Kevin Chappell. Has done little since he was second to Rory McIlroy in the Tour Championship but was second here to Jason Day last year with a similar form line. Like Fleetwood tees off at 7:47 am (but in a different grouping) on Thursday.


50 to 100: Adam Hadwin. Multiple wins already in 2017 for Dustin Johnson and Justin Thomas have taught us to ride the hot hand. Valspar winner Hadwin was T36 last year here when not having played well in the weeks prior so what could he do when in form?


100 to 250: Smylie Kaufman. Our ‘Spring Break 2016’ winners theory of recent times is in play but Kaufman has missed four consecutive cuts. However his T12 last year coincided with getting to a career high ranking of 48 so he likes the venue.


Greens in regulation:
The last several weeks of golf seem to have been about modified formats and new rules to develop the game but a hearty dose of realism and lack of progress is always lurking. Even Tuesday’s news that The Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers (not a joke, their actual title) had finally convinced their members to admit females to their ranks after a vote last year failed to gain the two thirds majority was worth reflection. The 80% who voted to overturn the male-only policy was up from the 64% last time but the numbers involved don’t exactly give you great confidence. 219 of the 600-plus eligible voters voted no last time and this time it was 123. That 80-odd members moved was good- but why not the rest? Especially with a spot on the Open rotation on the line for their Muirfield venue? As an aside, I think we might have found 123 people who voted Leave in the EU referendum.


Tap in:
Lydia Ko, who will tee it up in the LPGA Founders Cup in Phoenix this week, has recently reaffirmed her intention to retire… in 11 years time at the age of 30. This is interesting on a number of levels. Many of the USA’s top golfers come out of the college system, as do several from overseas, but it’s rare for a player to articulate a post-golf career so early in their professional career. Even more rarer that it’s not in golf course design! Ko, the current world number one, could potentially play for longer but perhaps she is mindful of a recent trend in women’s major winners. In the 20 major tournaments since 2013, when the top level of the female game added a fifth major, there has been only one major winner over the age of 31 when Suzann Pettersen (then only 32) won the Evian Championship. A 16 year-old Ko came second to the Norwegian in France on that occasion.


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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