Almanac Golf: Golf Capital – Lee wins third title and Thomas defends crown in Malaysia


A collection of my golf thoughts from the week with a look to the week ahead which sees the leading male and female players in the game both playing in tournaments in Asia.


Opening drive:
American Justin Thomas won again in Malaysia for the second year running as three-time major winner Padraig Harrington scored a drought-breaking win claiming the Portugal Masters. In China Australian Minjee Lee claimed her third LPGA title.


Thomas benefitted from an early fourth round collapse from Indian Anirban Lahiri, who led the CIMB Classic after the third round, eventually winning by three strokes. Lahiri made all casual golfers and weekend warriors go “I know how you feel” when he took a nine (!!!) on the par five third hole in his final round to open the door for Thomas. What was bizarre about Lahiri’s quadruple bogey was it didn’t involve any water hazards and simply two hacked shots that really cost him. Eventually finishing in a tie for third Lahiri’s tee shot got wedged in a tree and his eventual approach to the third green was so miscued it landed in the tee box over the right hand corner of the green.


Also in Asia Australian Lee won the Blue Bay LPGA event after she had led for almost all of the tournament before holding off challenges from Jessica Korda and Ariya Jutanugarn with that trio well clear (five strokes at least) of the remainder of the field. Lee, 20, has won nearly two million prizemoney in her career earned on the LPGA with the now world number 16 at $1,985,635. The LPGA swaps with the PGA heading to the same course they played in Kuala Lumpur this weekend for the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia tournament. Interestingly, Korda won this tournament in 2015.


Whilst the big guns will head to China there is a regular PGA tour event with the tour back in the USA with the Sanderson Farms Championship in Jackson, Mississippi, an event won by Peter Malnati last year.


Irishman Harrington won the European Tour’s Portugal Masters in Vilamoura. 2008’s US PGA champion had Andy Sullivan closing in but a crucial birdie on the 17th gave him enough breathing room to win by a stroke.


Player performance notes:
Players I’m interested in to see how they go with notes that interest me and/or are related to capital investment if that’s your thing. The final WGC event for the year will be played at the Sheshan International course in Shanghai. Scotland’s Russell Knox, who were wrote about last week, is the defending champion in the elite 78-player field.


Under 20: Rory McIlroy. The Northern Irishman closed with a 66 last year at this tournament and after a brief break could content immediately. Would love an early tee time in round one to set the benchmark on the day.


20 to 50: Hideki Matsuyama. The Japanese golfer won his home open a fortnight back and contented in Malaysia to finish second. Two of the last three winners were yet to win majors, although Dustin Johnson has gone on to done so and Matsuyama fits that profile of a player coming into a key part of his career at the age of 24.


20 to 50: Patrick Reed. Proven experience in the tournament and having an established, if not elite, record is important at this event and Reed (T7) last year has both.


20 to 50: Danny Willett. Like Reed has done well here before and shot a terrific ten under in his final round here last time to finish three shots off the winner.


50 to 100: Branden Grace. The South African disappointed in his last few weeks in this neck of the woods but has a liking for this tournament with a T5 last year.


50 to 100: Tyrell Hatton. For all the big names playing here winning form matters and Hatton has done so recently albeit under different circumstances in Scotland in a tournament linked to a pro-am played across three courses.


50 to 100: Alexander Levy. The Frenchman is a previous winner in China and has, like Hatton, won recently (last month in the European Open) so has plenty going his way.


200 to 500: Haotong Li. The Chinese golfer was T7 last year here and won the China Open in May at only 21 years of age is still hugely promising but could kick on with a significant win


Greens in regulation
We possibly need to re-name one of our sections ‘amateur corner’ after another big result to rising star after Brett Coletta won the Queensland Open on Sunday. Victorian Coletta, 20, continued his good run of form with victory at the Brisbane Golf Club and in doing so was the first amateur since Stuart Appleby in 1991 to win the event in the sunshine state. Whilst not quite on the level on Curtis Luck’s great run of results of late Coletta’s three-shot victory is notable with key tournaments in Australian in the coming months.


Tap in
Heading towards the World Cup of Golf from November 24 two key PGA Tour of Australasia events the NSW Open then the Australian Open come up in November. Given the Masters isn’t running locally this year is this NSW Open, starting at Stonecutters Ridge on November 10, the new leg of the Australian Triple Crown? Or, do we need a new name for the ‘big two’ events (the Australian Open and the Australian PGA Championship) that is more creative than the ‘big two’. Suggestions on a postcard, tweet or in the comments.



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.

Leave a Comment