Almanac Golf: Golf Capital – Leishman wins the King’s Event, Match Play heads to Austin



A collection of golf news, notes and thoughts from the week with wins to Marc Leishman and Anna Nordqvist and a look to this weekend’s WGC Match Play in Texas.


Opening drive
Australian Leishman broke a five-year drought in the USA when he edged home to win the prestigious (even if some big names were missing this year) Arnold Palmer Invitational whilst Nordqvist won by two strokes in Phoenix.


Leishman’s key to victory late in the fourth round was his eagle three on 16 with his final round of 69 enough to see him home over Americans Kevin Kisner and Charley Hoffman (who both shared the lead coming into Sunday at -11) a shot back from Leishman’s final 11 under figure. Given recent health issues with his wife Audrey, it was a very well received result.


The WGC match-play event in Texas attracts the top players this weekend but there is a further PGA Tour event with the Puerto Rico Open at the (breathe Hamish) Trump International Golf Club Puerto Rico located in Rio Grande.


Swede Nordqvists’s 25 under score capped her seventh LPGA tour triumph and meant the 29 year-old has now won every year since 2014. Her two-stroke triumph at the Wildfire Golf Club was set-up by a terrific 11 under 61 in the third round – a course record. This weekend the LPGA heads to California for the Kia Classic in Carlsbad where Kiwi Lydia Ko is the defending champion.


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. It’s an early start this weekend with the match play event at the Austin Country Club commencing on Wednesday. Having had a go at the tournament bracket these are my semifinalists.


20 to 50: Hideki Matsuyama. Already a winner in 2017 the Japanese player won twice in his group last year here so has scope to progress in this format. He’s got a potential tough run which could include Thomas Pieters and, in the quarter-final, Jordan Spieth.


50 to 100: Rafa Cabrera Bello. The Spaniard faces a relatively easy opening round group in terms of players with experience plus he made the semi-finals here last year.


50 to 100: Russell Knox. Was left out of the European Ryder Cup side despite been a top PGA Tour player last year. Knox has missed three cuts in his last four tournaments but doesn’t face a strong group.


50 to 100: Brooks Koepka. I’m a fan of the American and he did well in the Ryder Cup last year winning a key singles contest when he beat Danny Willett on the Sunday.


Greens in Regulation
This comes with the caveat that athletes who speak their mind are always welcome on these pages but, Rory McIlroy needs to pull his head in. Weeks after playing golf with American King Donald Trump, McIlroy derided, rightly so and as this column did, the members of Muirfield who didn’t vote for female membership. However McIlroy said he wouldn’t have a cup of tea with the members. Rory, why have your standards changed so quickly over sexism and inclusive behaviour? We hope you enjoyed #harmonyday.


Tap in
Enough about ranting at Rory, let’s finish with a look at the fun of the weekend in Florida – the wildlife. Cody Gribble and Smylie Kaufman had different approaches to one of the local alligators.


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. I enjoyed watching Leishman win again. For a big bloke his short game is his strength. Very laconic and doesn’t look like an athlete, but has a sublime touch. I reckon the trouble with a lot of golfers like ML is that they don’t accept a responsibility as entertainers. Bland and boring.
    Speaking of boring – that course in the Arizona desert for the LPGA had no rough and mile wide fairways. Everyone shooting 20 under is REALLY boring.
    Matchplay the week before the US Masters makes no sense. JDay needs a solid Derby Day workout but will probably get knocked out early. Whatever happened to Greater Greensboro – the Hotham Handicap of golf? Surely not still underwater.
    My dad is on an NZ holiday at the moment and tells me the cost of everything is sky high. You kiwis must be rolling in it. Thanks for the regular golf updates Hamish.

  2. Just saw a tearful Jason Day withdrawing from the World Matchplay Golf because his mother is undergoing surgery this week for lung cancer. Prayers and fingers crossed. XXXXX.
    I remember watching her being interviewed outside the office she worked at after he won the US PGA at Whistling Straits in 2015. Salt of the earth lady with the biggest heart. After his father died and he went off the rails as a teenager, she mortgaged the house to send him to the Hills Golf Academy in Queensland.
    JDay wears his heart on his sleeve at the best of times. Reports say he brought his mom over to the US for treatment at the start of the year after she was given a year to live by her Australian specialist.
    A lot of ‘experts’ (including me) have been critical of his limited playing schedule this year and several late withdrawals from tournaments. We never know what is going on behind the scenes in the lives of others.
    Respect and prayers.

  3. Peter, Yes very sad news about Jason Day’s mum, clearly his mind is elsewhere. And probably has been so for a while. As for the schedule it’s somewhat off the week of the Mexico WGC event isn’t the match play tournment. As you suggest the strokeplay event this week would probably suit players better.
    As for your dad’s holiday. I’m going to assume he’s down south around Queenstown or staying in Auckland. Tourist areas getting expensive everywhere I guess. At least he’s not trying to buy a house in Auckland!

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