Almanac Golf: Golf Capital – Nordqvist wins Evian farce, Leishman lines up for playoff bonus


A collection of golf news, thoughts and notes from the week which saw Anna Nordqvist claim a second career major, Australia’s Marc Leishman dispatched an elite field in the BMW Championship and Romain Wattel won his first European Tour title.

Opening drive
Swede Anna Nordqvist survived a final day of pressure which saw four players tied for the lead late on the back nine before prevailing over American Brittany Almore on the first playoff hole to claim the Evian Championship – her first major win since the Women’s PGA in 2009.

Nordqvist’s victory in the rain on Sunday came after a farcical start to the tournament. With wet weather setting in on Thursday officials, with a host of players having started their round, took players off the course (nothing unusual there) but then came the odd decision in calling the round off for the day mid-afternoon to annul the scores already registered and reduce the tournament to 54 holes. With no LPGA event this weekend coming up and considering the event was a major this seemed a daft move. The player to benefit mostly from this was Sung Hyun Park with the world number two starting six over after five holes. The following day she posted eight under to lead after ‘round one’

Without wanting to jeer for Park there was some justice that she dropped away on the final day firing a 77 to finish T26. But she did still claim $31,000 worth of prizemoney when her start should have had the South Korean chasing after early on Thursday.

At Conway Farms Marc Leishman posted the biggest win of his career to rise to 15 in the world rankings, but also giving himself a strong shot at winning the FedEx Cup bonus after he trounced the field by five strokes in the BMW Championship. The Victorian’s only blemishes on the final day were bogeys at five and 13 but it was an otherwise comfortable win with Justin Rose and Rickie Fowler sharing second.

In Holland on the European Tour Frenchman Romain Wattel won by a stroke over rising Canadian star Austin Connelly. This weekend the Portugal Masters in the Algarve is the ET event with Ireland’s Padraig Harrington the defending champion.

Player performance notes
Players I’m interested to see how they go with notes that interest me related to capital investment if that’s your thing. The TOUR Championship in Georgia is the final leg of the PGA Tour’s FedEx Cup playoffs. Rory McIlroy won this event last year, but the Northern Irishman hasn’t qualified this time around for the elite 30-player field.

20 and under: Jordan Spieth. The three-time major winner won the TOUR Championship in 2015 and has won three times this year. The Texan closed with a 65 to finish T7 last weekend and is the only player featuring here to win at East Lake.
20 and under: Justin Thomas. Spieth’s good friend was T6 in this event last season and has won five times since then including a major. Thomas was T47 in Chicago for his worst result since missing the cut at the Open but he has gone bad result-good result a few times in his career..
20 and under: Marc Leishman. The playoff format has seen a single player win two events in each year since 2012 with Rory McIlroy having done it twice since 2012. Leishman is aiming for his third win this season and was a comprehensive winner in Illinois..
50 to 100: Xander Schauffele. The Greenbrier winner got a run going on Sunday to qualify for this weekend, ultimately finishing T20, and it is a terrific effort in his first full season playing the PGA Tour to make this event.

Greens in regulation
The $10 million FedEx Cup bonus could still be won by fourth-placed Leishman or another of the players in the top five of the playoff standings (Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Dustin Johnson and fifth-placed Jon Rahm) with a win on their own – they don’t require other players to finish in certain positions. However the story of Patrick Cantlay, whatever the result, is noteworthy. Former top-ranked amateur Cantlay started the weekend in 41st and got in to the field of 30 for this tournament after finishing T9. The ex UCLA Bruin has suffered tragedy recently when close friend Chris Roth died in his arms after he was hit by a car last year. Despite playing only 12 tournaments this year after he started his season in March due to ongoing back issues he has made the 30-player elite field at East Lake.

Tap in
It was another dramatic finish for a women’s major with the French event going to a playoff but in a disappointing situation the final day was not televised live on television in Australia. This was despite Fox Sports carrying the first three days live/ One could access the action on Sunday via a YouTube live stream but the fact the final round of the final major of the year wasn’t broadcast live was nothing short of disgraceful programming. In the past when Fox Sports’ platforms of channels have been full with other live sport the programmers have shifted events to Fox Sports News or utilised the ‘red button’ interactive function. Why have they gone backwards in this coverage? It’s concerning when Foxtel have been given $30 million to broadcast women’s sport from the federal government but there have been no programming requirements made public and they haven’t been decided (this is according to a staffer of federal Communications Minister Mitch Fifield who admitted the government can’t program TV networks.) This raises the possibility of Foxtel using a portion of the funds to pay their broadcast deal fee with the LPGA but then warehousing the coverage to a delayed scenario. For example playing it the next day at midday, which is what happened with the Evian Championship this week. The paradox is this came on the weekend with great coverage of the Matildas (Australia’s national women’s football side) across Fox Sports and the ABC. Yes it was a big occasion with Australia at home to footballing giants Brazil, but the fixtures were friendlies and Nordqvist’s triumph was a major which finished at 2am on Monday morning but somehow couldn’t be broadcast at all live on the final day. One step forward, two steps back with coverage of women’s 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. Haven’t seen any golf for a few weeks Hamish. Will be in Lisbon this weekend when the Portuguese Masters is played, but sport is all football over here. Round ball variety. Will be in Vilamoura on the Algarve the week after. Have to convince the Avenging Eagle that she needs shopping time alone while I test out the bung knee on a course.
    Read about Marc Lieshman’s triumph on the BBC Sport website. Winning these big money end of season tournaments on the US Tour is almost Majors pressure and field depth.
    Agree heartily with your comments about Foxtel and the shoddy treatment of women’s golf. Just another under the table bung to Rupert.
    Thanks for keeping us up to date on the greatest game of all.

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