Almanac Golf – Golf Capital: Lopez joins a legend, two veteran triumphs, Australian Open for all

@hamishneal

No this is not a post from 2014 but veterans Matt Kuchar and Lee Westwood broke significant losing streaks claiming wins in Mexico and South Africa respectively on the weekend as the LPGA produced a first time-winner with Gaby Lopez claiming the spoils in China. This week the Australian Open becomes ‘the Open for all’

Opening drive

American Matt Kuchar edged Kiwi Danny Lee by a stroke in the Mayakoba Classic to claim his first win on the PGA Tour since November 2014, and this first win anywhere since the 2015 Fiji International. Kuchar, 40, survived Lee’s six under par round of 65 with his own two under score to finish at 22 under, enough to secure the win.

Although Kuchar got a slice of luck as he stood on the 72nd tee with a one stroke lead. His tee shot looked bound for trouble when a fortuitous bounce out of the trees sent the ball nestled safely in the middle of the fairway. Mini-crisis adverted he parred the hole for his 14th professional victory.

England’s Lee Westwood started Sunday at Sun City two shots behind Sergio Garcia but produced a stellar round of 64 to win the Nedbank Challenge in South Africa by three strokes from the Spaniard. The comeback actually started at the last hole Sunday with Garcia bogeying the last and Westwood picked up a stroke to cut the margin before getting to work on Sunday. Westwood, 45, now has 43 triumphs as a professional.

In a hint of irony the week the male PGA Tour event was in Mexico that nation gained it’s second LPGA Tour victor as Gaby Lopez won the Blue Bay LPGA event in China. Lopez, who finished at eight under one stroke clear of Ariya Jutanugarn, joins 27-time winner LPGA winner Lorena Ochoa as the only Mexican winners on the top female tour. It’s not often one bogeys the final two holes and wins but Lopez, 25, now has her first significant result since joining the LPGA in 2016.

Player performance notes

The first of a great few weeks in Australian golf sees The Lakes in Sydney host the Australian Open as we get a small amount of international stardust with local Cameron Davis the defending champion. This comes after Jake McLeod won the NSW Open at Twin Creeks on Sunday.

Under 20: Abraham Ancer. With two top five finishes already this season on the PGA Tour Mexico’s rising star is in form even if somewhat fading after an opening round on 65 before eventually finishing T21 in his home nation last weekend. Less pressure this week in the Harbour City.

Under 20: Cameron Davis. PGA Tour rookie and defending champion Davis won in Nashville on the second-tier tour in the USA this year and was T3 in the Web.Com’s season ending event.

Under 20: Brandt Snedeker. The nine-time PGA Tour winner has won on this tour in 2016 when he blitzed the field by nine strokes in Fiji.

50-100: Nick Voke. The world 259 has come on in leaps and bounds with three wins in the PGA Tour of China this year including two starts ago. Kiwi Voke’s NSW Open result of T55 was disappointing but he does have multiple Top tens on the local PGA tour in 2018.

Greens in regulation.

Two main tours produce their finales this weekend with Francesco Molinari almost assured of winning the season-long title for the European Tour with the DP World Championship taking place in Dubai. England’s Tommy Fleetwood (who ironically went 4-0) playing with Molinari in the Ryder Cup can catch the Italian but he would need to win at the JJumeirah Golf Estates course and have Molinari finished outside the top five which is an unlikely set of results given his Open winner’s 2018 form. In Naples Florida the LPGA’s denouement sees Ariya Jutanugarn defend her crown in the CME Group Tour Championship. Jutanugarn leads the standings heading into the event at the Tiburon Golf Club’s Gold Course with Australian Minjee Lee in second and Brooke Henderson of Canada in third. The PGA Tour heads to Georgia with the RSM Classic at Sea Island which Austin Cook won in 2017.

Tap in

A week after bemoaning the addition of a tournament in Saudi Arabia to the European Tour’s schedule next season it was great to see a further step towards inclusion in golf coming up this week at the Australian Open. The Australasian PGA Tour event will include Paralympic hopefuls on the course with the staging of Australian All Abilities Championship happening in parallel with the Open. The news is even more welcome given the fact the mainstream tournament lacks a stone cold star (Sorry Keegan Bradley) In fact Spain’s Juan Postigo is world number two and is one of eight overseas competitors in the 12-player field who start their event on Friday. The news is very much welcome given the disappointment I noted in the past that golf is not yet included in the Paralympics, and at this stage won’t be so until at least 2028 with the 2024 application having been rejected (!) I know right!

 

This golfing wrap first appeared on From the sideline of sport

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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.

Comments

  1. Enjoyed the final round of the Nedbank Challenge in South Africa more than any recent tournament. Sergio Garcia, Louis Oosthuizen and Lee Westwood – three “old” stagers – cut and thrust all round. Sergio playing well but unable to buy a putt seeing his lead whittled away. The effortless elegant power of Louis. Westwood was just ‘in the zone’ and holed everything. Played the best round of golf I have seen from him in years.
    Having his new partner on the bag seems to have worked a treat. Certainly easier on the eye than Billy Foster. I wonder how it will go as a permanent arrangement when he has a slump? That would test the best relationship.
    The Australian Open has become the Bob Cunis of golf tournaments. So much positive like the disabled participation, but so much ordinary with the absence of top players these days. Great ideas from Geoff Ogilvy.
    https://www.golfaustralia.com.au/feature/ogilvy-tarnished-how-the-stonehaven-cup-lost-its-lustre-515337

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