Almanac Golf: Golf Capital – Millar is the man in black, Hawaiian playoff after false alarm



A collection of golf news, thoughts and notes from the week which has seen Australian Matt Millar claim the second win of his professional career with victory in the New Zealand Masters plus there was plenty going on in Hawaii, and not just on the golf course at the Sony Open.


Opening drive

The first ‘Black Jacket’ has gone to Canberra’s Matt Millar after the 41-year-old benefited from the capitulation of overnight leader Daniel Pearce to claim the inaugural New Zealand Masters. Millar won by four strokes with a final round 67 to finish at 11 under at the Wainui Golf Club after Pearce, who led by two strokes after 54 holes, couldn’t cope with the wind on the final day and fired a final round 78 to drop into a tie for sixth. Millar will now focus on the other Australasian PGA Tour events in the next month or so which start with the Victorian Open from February 1.


78 holes were needed to find a winner in Hawaii with Patton Kizzire beating countryman James Hahn at the sixth extra hole to win the Sony Open at Waialae Country Club in Honolulu after both players finished at 17 under. Kizzire has now won twice in two months on the PGA Tour. The tour returns to the mainland with the Career Builder Challenge at the Stadium Course in La Quinta, California with a few tracks in use before a cut on Saturday.


England’s Chris Paisley won for the first time in six years, and the first occasion on the European Tour, when he beat South African Branden Grace in the SA Open in Gauteng. Paisley’s three-stroke win was unexpected once world number 28 Grace hit the lead over the weekend but Paisley’s final round 66 proved crucial.


In Malaysia Team Europe won the Eurasia Cup after overcoming deficits at the end of play on Friday and Saturday. Winning seven of the first eight singles matches on Sunday to win the team event over the Asian outfit 14-10 at the Glenmarie Golf and Country Club in Kuala Lumpur. In a good pointer for the Ryder Cup Tommy Fleetwood and Tyrell Hatton each won three from three points available over the three days.


Player performance notes

Players I’m interested to see how they go with notes related to capital investment if that’s your thing. The European Tour heads to the United Arab Emirates for two events – the first of which is the Abu Dhabi Championships at the Abu Dhabi GC. Englishman Fleetwood won last year.


Under 20: Dustin Johnson. The American has won already this year and was T2 behind Fleetwood here last year so likes the venue.


20 to 50: Matthew Fitzpatrick. The 23-year-old won in the UAE in 2016 and has won four times already on the ET in four different countries. Since his last win in September Fitzpatrick has finished no worse than 19th.


20 to 50: Tyrell Hatton. The Englishman went 3-0 at the Eurasia Cup and if not for a final round 75 which dropped him to T13 would have finished well in contention last year


20 to 50: Thomas Pieters. The Belgian has missed the cut twice here but has also finished second and fourth. Given he scored the decisive singles win for Europe last weekend it might be more of the 2016 Pieters here.


100 to 200: Jeung-Hun Wang. 11th at his course debut last year Wang followed that up by winning the Qatar Masters a few weeks later. He did taper off a bit with 11 missed cuts in 2017 but at 22 has plenty of talent.


Greens in regulation


When is a health scare not a health scare? When it happens to Rory McIlroy apparently. The Northern Irish golfer told James Corrigan of the UK Telegraph about a health check-up which detected “a slight heartbeat irregularity called a flat or inverted T wave” but the world number 11 insisted it wasn’t a heart scare. I’m no doctor but if something has two names it’s at least of some concern, and certainly newsworthy. Especially for a player who has had a range of health and fitness issues in recent years.


Tap in

Kizzire’s victory in Hawaii might actually have been the third most interesting occurrence in the weekend in Hawaii. Players, along with residents and tourists, got a huge shock when a ballistic missile warning which was sent on Saturday. The false alarm notice sent 38-minutes later eased fears and perhaps that helped Kizzire in the playoff. Elsewhere camera operators and technical crew went on strike over pay and conditions which severely limited the TV coverage for the tournament’s final round.


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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