Almanac Golf: Golf Capital – Thitikul’s record, major golf gets trumped again

A collection of golf news, thoughts and notes from the week which saw a record-setting weekend with wins to, Spain’s Jon Rahm in Northern Ireland, American Xander Schaufelle triumphed for the first time on the PGA Tour plus golf has a new ’youngest-ever’ winner.


Opening drive:

Brisbane’s Katherine Kirk claimed the Sky Woman trophy with victory in the Thornberry LPGA Classic in Wisconsin. It was Kirk’s first win at this level since 2010 and her third career crown which pushed her over the USD4 million mark. Kirk held a four-shot lead heading into the fourth round and despite a bogey in 17 which saw late drama Kirk held on to gain a spot in the major this week, which we will cover shortly.


Jon Rahm blitzed the field in shooting seven under on Sunday to win the Irish Open by six strokes at the Portstewart Golf Club near the Giant’s Causeway. The margin was convincing but after an incident on the sixth hole earlier on Sunday Rahm’s marking of a ball came into question’t-penalised/85690 but recent rule alterations meant the 22-year-old wasn’t penalised. The Arizona State graduate will bypass this week’s Scottish Open at Dundonald Links before the British Open at Royal Birkdale.


Last month we noted about the clutch of players aged 24 doing well on the PGA Tour and it was a 23-year-old with Xander Schaufelle’s biridie on the 18th on Sunday which saw him claim the Greenbrier Classic, and a spot in the Open. Schaufelle’s final act saw off the challenge of Robert Streb, who also lost in a playoff in this tournament in 2015  – the last time it was played, plus Sebastian Munoz (who led heading into Sunday.) Heading from West Virginia to TPC Deere Run in Illinois the PGA Tour’s John Deere Classic is on this weekend.


Player performance notes:

Players I’m interested in to see how they go with notes that interest me related to capital investment if that’s your thing. Bedminster in New Jersey, home of Trump National Golf Club hosts the third women’s major of 2017 with the US Women’s Open . Brittany Lincicome won via a playoff in 2016 but the news heading into this weekend is the probably appearance of the course owner and Russian enthusiast Donald Trump. Flight paths have been restricted at the venue and as a result of weak USGA decision-making in recent years the ‘goon in chief’ will likely take the focus of whomever wins*


Under 20: So Yeong Ryu. The two-time winner already in 2017 (the only player on the LPGA Tour to do so) and started with a 69-68 in the in the women’s PGA championship before finishing T14 having won the ANA Inspiration (the year’s first major) in April.


Under 20: Amy Yang. Another winner already this year, Yang was T4 in the major two weeks ago in Illinois and was T2 the tournament prior in Arkansas.


20 to 50: Brooke Henderson. Aside from winner Danielle Kang, Henderson was the only play to shoot sub-70 in each of her rounds in the major last month, the Women’s PGA Championship, and she won on tour in early June. The Canadian is already a major winner after the Women’s PGA Championship win last year and could have two before she turns 20.


20 to 50: Anna Nordqvist. Beaten by Lincicome here last year the Swede has already won in 2017 and is a major winner, albeit eight years ago, in the Women’s PGA Championship.


50 to 100: In-Kyung Kim. The five-time winner on the LPGA tour won in New Jersey earlier this year and has gone close in the majors, including second in the 2013 US Open. Also won last year in China and Germany.


10 to 200: Leona Maguire. The top ranked amateur won the Ladies British Amatuer title last month and the Irish Olympian has bypassed some majors this year already to concentrate on her college career so it’s notable she’s decided to play here.


Greens in regulation:

Kiwi Ryan Fox is among the seven players from across the Irish Open and Greenbrier Classic host of the players that qualified for the 146th Open with their finishes on the weekend. Fox, David Drysdale and Richie Ramsey qualified from the event in NI. It was close for Fox and Drysdale whose T4 with Daniel Im meant they needed the tiebreaker of ranking to gain the spot with American Im to one to out. The USA Schaufelle, Streb, Munoz and Jamie Lovermark gained trips to the course in Southport. Schaufelle hasn’t even been to Europe let alone played golf there so it will be an interesting experience for the native of La Jolla, California.


Tap in

Victory on the Ladies European Tour wouldn’t ordinarily rate highly in the golf results section but this weekend as different with a record-breaking win to Thai golfer Atthaya Thitikul when she prevailed by two strokes in the Ladies European Thailand Championship. Thitikul, aged 14 years 4 months and 19 days, to beat the record for winning on a professional level in terms of youngest player, a record that Lydia Ko held with Thitikul two days younger on the Sunday. The EUR45,000 (approx. AUD67,375 ) first place prizemoney went to Mexican Ana Menendez.


*Karen Crouse of the New York Time wrote about the impact of the Trump on this tournament and elements the players have to consider when commenting on the issue. She spoke to several players recently and the incident with Cristie Kerr in this piece took a turn I was not excepting and is worth your time.



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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