Almanac Golf: Golf Capital – Thompson’s brickyard blitz, Fitzpatrick’s fourth European crown



A collection of golf news, thoughts and notes from the week which saw Lexi Thompson tune up for the year’s final major with a victory in Indianapolis plus a win for Matt Fitzpatrick in Switzerland after he beat a distracted Scott Hend in a playoff.


Opening drive
It’s always interesting when a new event comes up, and especially one a week out from a major, but the Indy Women in Tech Championship presented by Guggenhiem was a clunky name but produced a quality winner with Lexi Thompson winning for the second time in 2017 winning at the Brickyard Crossing Golf Club. Thompson’s four-shot triumph over Kiwi Lydia Ko was a welcome result given she has lost three playoffs in 2017 (including the debacle at the ANA Inspiration.)


Thompson’s sole major victory came in 2014 and she heads to France this week in form.

Sheffield’s Matt Fitzpatrick beat Queensland’s Scott Hend in a playoff to win the European Masters in Crans Montana in Switzerland and with it his fourth European Tour title despite the fact he is still only 23 (there is that age 23/24 – again.) Hend was three clear at the start of the fourth round and both players scattered birdies and bogeys in their round but Fitzpatrick shot an impressive 64 to force a playoff before he won on the third extra hole after Hend had a chance to claim the title on the second playoff hole.


Hend’s playoff defeat, his second in two years at the tournament, was perhaps not surprising. The event was stop-start due to poor weather/light but the Australian was focused elsewhere throughout the week with his children stuck at home in Florida waiting for possible evacuation due to Hurricane Irma. To make matters worse Hend’s wife, Leanne, was his caddy at the event so the duo would have had some anxious times. Thankfully all seems okay as Hend now completes in the playoffs on the USA’s second-tier.


Fitzpatrick’s victory was something for England for the weekend after their amateur side was trounced 19-7 but the USA in the men’s amateur team event the Walker Cup held at the Los Angeles Country Club. The GB and Ireland side lost eight of the first 12 matches on Saturday and players including the USA’s Maverick McNealy, who has featured in multiple PGA Tour events this year, were superior with McNealy alone going 4-0 in his matches.


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 Evian Championship – the year’s fifth and final female major of the season. In Gee Chun won at the French venue of Evian-Les-Bains in 2016.


Under 20 Lexi Thompson. No American has won the event since it’s been a co-sanctioned major (2013) and before then you have to go back to 2007 for a USA victory (Natalie Gulbis) of Thompson needs to buck a huge trend.


Under 20: So Yeon Ryu. The South Korean was T2 here last year and a win would give the 27-year-old world number one a third career major. Her rounds of 66-66-69-66 that week were impressive.


Under 20: Lydia Ko. The Kiwi romped to victory by six shots in 2015 to win her first major but hasn’t won for over 12 months however her second placing behind Thompson might be the turnaround that is needed.


20 to 50: Minjee Lee. It’s hard to gauge the form of the new three-round event at the Brickyard Golf Club but Lee’s final round 67 was an equal-best of the day and the Australian can’t be far off a win this year. Lee was disappointing T67 here last year.


20 to 50: Sei Young Kim. The South Korean, who won the matchplay event back in May on the LPGA tour, shot a final round best of 64 last year here in finishing fifth.


50 to 100: Jodi Ewart Shadoff. IK Kim won the British Open, the most recent major with Ewart two shots back in second for her best career major result. The 29-year-old Englishwomen was T13 a few weeks back in Portland so is matching it well with the world’s best recently


Greens in regulation
After a week off following the FedEx Cup playoffs resume in Illinois near Chicago with the BMW Championship at Conway Farms. There are 30 spots up for grabs for the finale TOUR Championship event in Atlanta with some big names set to miss out. This year’s Masters winner Sergio Garcia (34) and multiple-major winner Phil Mickelson 36 are on the bubble for qualifications to the fourth event. Well back though is last year’s TC winner Rory McIlroy, currently 5st.


Tap in
After an English win in the Alps the European Tour heads to Holland for the KLM Open at a links venue in Spijk – The Dutch. Appropriately a Dutchman, Joost Luiten, won the event in 2016 and he features again in a field lacking some punch with the USA taking focus and the next Rolex Series event in Europe (the Italian Open) still a month away.


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.

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