Almanac Golf – Golf Capital: Stanford salutes at Evian but tragedy in Iowa



Angela Stanford was a surprise winner of the final major of 2018 the Evian Championship as the American benefitted from the profligacy of runner-up and countrywoman Amy Olson who finished back in second with Austin Ernst, Mo Martin and Sei Young Kim. Elsewhere Wu Ashun won on the European Tour as the PGA Tour took a week off before its season-ending climax which will be followed by the Ryder Cup. However the golfing results were over shadowed by the horrific death of Spanish golfer Celia Barquin in America.


Opening drive

Angela Stanford’s pair of 68’s on the weekend was enough to secure her first triumph since 2012 when her overall 12 under finish came after a dramatic Sunday at Evian-Les-Bains.


Stanford, 40, was with a group of players three shots back before Olson unraveled after she stepped on the 14th tee. A bogey on that hole opened the door and Stanford who had a wild few closing holes of eagle-double bogey-birdie-par for a 12 under score looked headed for a playoff until Olson double-bogeyed 18.


26-year-old Olson, for a player without even an LPGA tour victory to her name, may long rue Sunday as a big chance squandered. Several of the big names were well out of contention with players like Lydia Ko too far back even allowing for impressive rounds on Sunday.


Stanford’s major triumph came at her 436rd LPGA start and 76th start in a major. By way of comparison remember when Sergio Garcia won the Masters last year? He had gone 70 starts in a major without a victory.


China’s Wu Ashun won his third European Tour title when he triumphed in the KLM Open at the Dutch on Sunday. Wu entered the week ranked 344 but not without a hope given the fact he was coming off a T6 last start at the European Masters and given he led after rounds one and two he was a strong chance to replicate at the very least the previous week’s effort heading into the weekend. A closing birdie on the par five 72nd hole allowed Wu to prevail on 16 under ahead of overnight leader Chris Wood whom he had drawn level with on 15 after consecutive birdies.


The week the European Tour hosts the Portugal Masters at Vilamoura won last year by Denmark’s Lucas Bjerregaard.


Player performance notes

30 players tee it up in the US PGA Tour’s season-ending TOUR Championship this week. Recent years have seen players wins multiple events in the playoffs and last year Xander Schaufelle won at the East Lakes venue in Georgia. Three picks for the limited field.


Under 20: Justin Rose. Despite missing out two weeks back the new world number one can assert his authority with a victory here and if he got into contention on Sunday I don’t think he will make the mistakes he did on the run-in at Aronimink against Keegan Bradley.


Under 20: Tiger Woods. Okay this is one for the dreamers to a degree. But Woods has finished T6 or better in four of his last seven starts and, probably, should already have a win this season given the run he made at Valspar in March. Woods might have a limited impact at the Ryder Cup in terms of his matches as I don’t think he’ll play more than three so this could be his big moment in 2018.


20 to 50: Xander Schaufelle. Last year’s winner here was T3 in recent the BMW Championship which was a return to form after four poor recent results. As one of the impressive mid-20 year olds on tour it’s perhaps surprising Schaufelle hasn’t won this year after two impressive victories last season.


Greens in regulation

Hawaiian golfer Tadd Fujikawa’s claim to fame came before his professional career when he qualified for the 2006 US Open as a 15-year-old but last week he made more history in becoming the first male professional golfer to publicly come out as gay.


Fujikawa never hit any great heights in the last 12 years bar a few strong efforts in the Sony Open and he only dipped inside the top 1000 in the world during one stretch but he has won a PGA sectional event in Hawaii this year and had been playing the Canadian Tour recently.


Given the nature of these hitherto unknown announcement in men’s golf it will be interesting to see if the 27-year-old becomes a trailblazer in the sport in this regard.


Tap in

A tragic note to end the column on this week which comes only the weeks after the passing of Australian golfer Jarrod Lyle. Spanish golfer Celia Barquin was found dead on an Iowa golf course on Monday. Barquin was a rising star of the women’s game having claimed not only the European Amatuer Ladies title in July but also the Big 12 conference individual crown this year with her college Iowa State who had also named her Female Athlete of the Year previously.


A 22-year-old man has been charged with first-degree murder.


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. The composition of the field in the USPGA Top 30 “Grand Final” reflects the internationalisation of the sport. 4 Brits, 3 Aussies, 1 each from Italy, Spain and Japan. I’ll be barracking hard for Day, Lieshman and first timer Cameron Smith (now that he he has given up State of Origin he can pursue his golfing career). I fancy the Europeans in the Ryder Cup next week on a much harder course than PGA events.
    Dustin Johnson’s form has declined along with his marriage. Extra holes. Lost balls.
    I watched the final round of the Evian LPGA tournament on the shores of Lake Geneva in France. Amy Olson’s final hole choke was Normanesque. Par to win, bogey to tie. Hooked drive; leave second in rough; pitch on to the edge; putt 10 feet past; miss the one back. Ouch. Haunting.
    The Barquin murder is horrific. Out for early morning practice round alone in rural Iowa, and a young homeless man has been arrested who allegedly told a friend he wanted to rape and murder. Dark days.

  2. Sorry for the delay PB. Tragic about Barquin and Olson might have missed a mighty chance. Not sighted much on leaderboards since

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