Almanac Golf – Golf Capital: Johnson’s Memphis title, Shot Clock stories

With the US Open coming up this week Dustin Johnson jumped back into the number one spot with a win in Memphis, Annie Park claimed her first LPGA victory and Finland’s Mikko Korhonen won the Shot Clock Masters six strokes, the same margin of victory as Johnson.


Opening Drive:


Coming into the final round Johnson co-led the St Jude Classic by five strokes with fellow American Andrew Putnam but his four under round capped by a hole-out eagle with his approach to the par four 18th gave him an eventual winning margin of six strokes at TPC Southwind with JB Holmes four strokes behind Putnam.


Annie Park started the final round of the Shoprite LPGA Classic in New Jersey four strokes adrift of Sei Young Kim but ended up at 16 under one clear of Sakura Yokomine. Park’s eight under 63 on Sunday helped her climb the leaderboard but not before Yokomine’s 10 under 61 which matched Kim’s second round score as the best in the three-round tournament. Canadian Brooke Henderson, who withdrew from the US Open recently due to the passing of her grandfather, is the defending champion at this week’s Meijer LPGA Classic in Grand Rapids Michigan.


Finishing at 16 under Mikko Korhonen was the only player to shot sub-70 each day at Diamond CC near Vienna to win the inaugural Shot Clock Masters. Scot Connor Syme put in a meritorious effort to finish second closing with two rounds of 69. The time-focused event was another recent first in the European Tour.


Player performance notes:


From Erin Hills in Wisconsin to Shinnecock Hills Golf Club in New York the 118th US Open is the golfing highlight for this week with Brooke Koepka the defending champions in the second men’s major of the year. Last week our closest pick was Phil Mickelson (T12).


Under 20: Justin Thomas. The American is on a great run of form stretching back to the Tour Championship last year when he was second. In that period (15 starts) he hasn’t finished worse than T22 and includes two wins. Ranked eighth for driving distance the PGA Championship winner will have a big advantage on many others here.


20 to 50: Phil Mickelson. In with Mickelson again for the second week running. The 47 year-old was second here in 2004 when the Long Island venue last hosted the Open (won by Retief Goosen) and this is the major he is yet to win with six (!) second or tied-second place finishes stretching back to 1999.


20 to 50: Adam Scott. The Australian had to qualify for this event after dropping out of the year top 60 and he did play here in 2004, albeit missing the cut. Stories of players qualifying then winning are in recent open history (see Campbell, Michael 2005) and Masters winner Scott is genuinely top class.


500 to 1000: Sam Burns. The Louisiana native has rocketed up the rankings mixing and PGA Tour starts this year including a second tier win in April. He;s gone from 1812 this time last year to 167. I’m mostly drawn to his 11th position in the driving stats on a course that is longer than previous editions here.


Greens in regulation:


As it is the Open there are plenty of great stories from a range of the qualifying events and amateurs. Garrett Rank, current NHL referee, is in the field after making it out of one of the sectional qualifiers last week. Canadian Rank officiated in three play-off games this season so we are not talking about one of the also-rans in the refereeing ranks. Some great insight on the competitors can be found here by’s Ben Coley.


Tap in:


Reflecting on the Shot Clock Masters from Austria it was interesting to note how players used the time extensions and also how the clock timings are set aside with longer allowances for a lost ball. The latter when the veteran Miguel Angel Jimenez was well in contention on Friday.


This tournament was the first individual event to be subject to these conditions (it has been used in the team Golf Sixes events) but it took until the third round when three players (Clemens Prader, Grant Forrest and Andrea Pavan) fell foul of the shot clock.


Two more dropped a stroke in Sunday after time violations with Austrian Markus Brier (approach on seventh) and Swede Oscar Stark (putt on the fourth) going one second (!) over the allotted time.


The issue, as noted last week, is whilst the half an hour or so average round time was shaved off across some of the rounds in Atzenbrugg this weekend it won’t have an impact on the players it’s targeted at until it’s enforced across the respective tours.


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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