Almanac Golf: Golf Capital – Rose reigns in China, sport and politics collide in Wellington



A collection of golf news, thoughts and notes from the week as which saw Justin Rose benefit from Dustin Johnson’s collapse in China, Ryan Armour broke through on the PGA Tour, Christie Kerr won her 20th career title and Chinese amateur Lin Yuxin fired his way into two majors in 2018 with victory in Wellington.


Opening drive
Dustin Johnson led by six strokes coming into the final round of the HSBS Champions WGC event in Shanghai before Justin Rose, who started the day eight shots behind the American, prevailed by two strokes over Johnson and his countrymen Brooks Koepka. Johnson’s 77 included five bogeys and whilst Rose was inconsistent his eight birdies and three bogeys were enough to see him comfortable by the time he hit the green at 18 on the Sheshan International Golf Course. Johnson became the fourth player in 21 years in a PGA-sanctioned tournament to have a six-stroke lead and not win, and yes the first of those players in that stretch is Greg Norman at the 1996 Masters.


American Kerr won the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia to become the first 40-year-old to win since 2011 on the LPGA. Any one of five players could have won the event at TPC Kuala Lumpur but Kerr’s birdie on 18 edges her closer to Hall of Fame qualification. China’s Shanshan Feng returns to the Toto Japan Classic in Irabki as defending champion for this week’s event following her T2 last weekend behind Kerr.


In addition to the WGC event Mississippi hosted a PGA Tour-sanctioned event with Ryan Armour, 41, winning for the first time since he first started playing on the PGA Tour a decade ago. Armour’s five-shot victory in the Sandersons Farms Championship came in his 105th PGA Tour start and saw him ease to victory after he took a five stroke margin into the final day having been at the head of the leaderboard since round one.


Player performance notes
Players I’m interested to see how they go with notes related to capital investment if that’s your thing. The sixth leg of the Rolex Series heads to the Turkish capital Antayla for the Turkish Airlines Open at the Regnum Carya Resort.


Under 20: Henrik Stenson. This year is a stronger event after several big names missed this tournament last year with several citing security issues. Stenson won in August and his placing behind Rose in China sees him on of the most in-form players.


Under 20: Matthew Fitzpatrick. The world number 33 won the European Masters in September and hasn’t finished worse than T15 in his five starts since with a T9 in China last week.


20 to 50: Peter Uihlein. A winner at the pointy end of the second-tier Tour recently Uihlien missed his next two cuts before a T10 and T5 in Malaysia and China respectively.


50 to 100: Haotong Li. The Chinese player fired the best of the round 65 in the final round here last year and his ultimate finish of second came after a run of poor results with a T18 the best in the five rounds prior. Not matter his form the 22-year-old likes this venue.


50 to 100: Julian Suri. Last year Thorbjorn Olesen was T2 in June before saluting in this event so Suri’s victory in August can be looked upon favourably.


50 to 100: Nacho Elvira. The Spaniard was disappointing last time out on Andalucia missing the cut but he had two top eleven finishes around a month ago. Last year he was ninth here with two rounds of 67.


Greens in regulation
Following Stephen Leaney’s recent win in Western Australia it was another lesson in persistence on the Australasian PGA Tour when Michael Sim claimed victory in the Queensland Open by a stroke over Kiwi Kieran Muir and Oliver Goss of WA on Sunday at the Royal Brisbane Golf Club. Sim, also of WA, won for the first time since 2009 plus for the first time in Australia. Sim, 33, is a three-time winner on the second-tier in the USA and can now head to qualifying for the Japan Tour in good form knowing he has a tour card for the balance of the season in Australasia. Both Leaney and Sim’s recent triumphs, and even Armour’s this week in the States, are evidence that applying yourself over the long-term can have benefits eventually.


Tap in
Lin Yuxin secured a ticket to the Masters and the Open next year when the 17-year-old went biridie-birdie-eagle to win by three strokes at the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship at the Royal Wellington Golf Club however there was an interesting story about one player entered in the event who never got there. Jordan-based Iraqi golfer Amer Radee was denied a place in the event after he had multiple visa applications denied by NZ authorities, this came despite Iragi Golf Federation boss Laith Barnouti offering a bond to ensure Radee would depart New Zealand after the event. Fairfax New Zealand reported on the history of Radee who has had plenty of success in Jordan. The news of the 30-year-old (yes 30) getting denied entry comes on the back of the Australian federal government via their Foreign Minister Julie Bishop denying entry to North Korea’s Under 19 side who were set to play in the qualifying tournament for the next AFC Under 19 championships. The result has seen the qualifying pool (group J) pulled from the Victorian city of Shepparton with Hanoi in Vietnam the new host. So the commonly trumpeted refrain about sport and politics not mixing… even the politicians who tell us that sport and politics should not mix know sport is often the victim of politics, and it’s usually more than the other way around.


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. Royal Wellington was gorgeous to look at last weekend. A river runs through it. Spectacular. Did you get out to see any live Hamish? Lin Xuyin is a leftie! So common in cricket and baseball, but still unusual in golf. Mickelson and Harmon on the USPGA. The American Petersen on the European tour. Can’t think of any in the LPGA. Why is it so? Used to be that there weren’t many cheap used left hand clubs lying about for kids to start with. But surely we are past that now. Any theories?
    Great to see Stephen Leaney win again. He is aiming for the US Senior tour in 2 years time. Simple, elegant swing. He was runner up to Jim Furyk in the 2003 US Open, but fell foul of vertigo problems later in his career. Cured it by cutting out dairy (not a message Kiwis would like to hear) after years of testing and medications!

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