Almanac Golf – Golf Capital: Korda’s jaw, Pepperell’s win, Justin and the sledger



A collection of golf news, thoughts and notes from the week which saw Justin Thomas climb into the top three, Eddie Pepperell break through on the European Tour and Jessica Korda win for the first time since 2015.


Opening drive
Justin Thomas needed only one hole in the playoff to win the Honda Classic and see off Luke List which prevented the Seattle-born player from grabbing his first PGA Tour victory. Now world number three Thomas has won eight times on the PGA Tour since November 2015. Thomas and List finished at eight under with a birdie each on the last when it looked like it might be a three-person playoff with Alex Noren. The Puerto Rico Open has been cancelled this year due to the ongoing impact of Hurricane Maria from late last year but the WGC Mexico Championship takes places at Club de Golf Chapultepec with Dustin Johnson the defending champion.


American Jessica Korda won on her seasonal return with an impressive 25 under at the Honda LPGA Thailand event in Chonburi. Korda, 24, won by four strokes from Moriya Jutanugarn and Lexi Thompson with Australian Minjee Lee a further three strokes back. The LPGA heads to Singapore for the HSBC Women’s Wold Championship in Singapore won last year by Inbee Park.


I’ve noted before how much I enjoy Eddie Pepperell, his blog and twitter feed are not your standard fare, so I was happy to see him rip off his hat in delight when he tapped in for victory at the Qatar Masters. Having led with Oliver Fisher at 16 under heading into the final day at the Doha Golf Club Oxford-born Pepperell recorded a two-under round to win by a shot from Fisher with Swede Marcus Kinhult third. The ET returns to South Africa for the Tshwane Open in Pretoria won in 2017 by South African Dean Burmester.


Player performance notes
Players I’m interested to see how they go with notes related to capital investment if that’s your thing. Kiwi Ben Campbell won the Horizon Golf New Zealand PGA Championship in Palmerston North. This week the Australasian PGA Tour, in an event co-sanctioned with the Asian Tour, shifts to the South Island for the ISPS Handa New Zealand Open at the Millbrook Resort in Arrowtown. Michael Hendry won in 2017. The early stages are played over two courses.


Under 20: Ryan Fox. New Zealander Fox was T3 in Malaysia two starts ago in a much stronger event and was T6 only three shots behind Hendry here last year.


Under 20: Lucas Herbert. Herbert missed the cut in Oman straight off a beaten semi-final effort in the Perth World Super 6 event so that’s not a major knock in my view. I also think he’s improved since he missed the cut here last year evidenced by his rise in the rankings from 501st to 178th.


20 to 50: Matt Millar. The Canberra golfer again showed his best recent form is in New Zealand with a T5 on the weekend having won the NZ Masters last month. Last year here he was T32


20 to 50: Anthony Quayle. The Queenslander was in with a chance to win last weekend and was T3 in the Victorian Open so is showing form in similar level events. A T15 last year included a 67-67 weekend performance.


100 to 200: Daniel Gale. Sydney’s Gale is one of the recent stars rising from the amateur ranks and this summer we’ve already seen the likes of Cameron Davis triumph. Gale qualified in for this tournament shooting 67 at Cromwell, 45 minutes away from this week’s venue.


Greens in regulation
Not only was the 73 holes eventful for Thomas at the PGA National Golf Course in Florida for the Honda Classic as multiple players held the lead late in the day he also had to deal with some terrible sledging from a spectator late in the round. The odd post-putt ‘get in the hole!’ this was not. Thomas’ win was the end of an eventful week which showed us even though Tiger Woods, with a 12th-placed finished, might not spook as many of the current crop of players in his pomp he can still make some players buckle. With two wins on the PGA Tour since November last year one would expect Patton Kizzire, 31, to have enough recent confidence when paired with Woods for the first time but this was not the case. Kizzire missed the cut with rounds of 74 and 78 as Woods finished the opening two rounds 11 strokes ahead of Kizzire. The Big Cat has still got it.


Tap in
Korda’s fifth career win was notable not just for the fact it included a course record 10 under 62 in the second round in Thailand but due to her comeback from an unusual injury. Beset with breathing issues and persistent headaches the Floridian has what she labelled ‘double jaw surgery’ in the off-season. This was a procedure which saw her end up with 27 screws in her face and a numb (but not painful) feeling. Korda’s previous best finish in a major was T5 in the 2014 British Open and this new surgery seems to have changed her confidence levels.


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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