Almanac Golf – Golf Capital: Three upsets for 25-year-old trio in rankings shock, Thorp’s Torrey triumph

Shock wins for Michael Kim, Brandon Stone and Thidapa Suwannapura across the top tours highlighted the week before the Open at Carnoustie. Such was the unexpected nature of the trios triumphs their combined ranking was 1,010 prior to the weekend. Elsewhere Canberra’s Adam Thorp announced himself on the junior stage winning a feature world junior event in California.

Opening Drive

Brandon Stone, 25, collected the first of the upset victories when he closed in on a European Tour first in winning the Scottish Open. The South African’s final round 60 (10 under) was ever so close to the first ET score of 59 as he won by four strokes at 20 under over column pick Eddie Pepperell at the Gullane course in East Lothian. This was Stone’s fourth professional win but, significantly, the first outside of his home nation.

Seoul-born Michael Kim (also 25) was another easy winner with a 27 under score at the John Deere Classic in Illinois to break a 122-tournament winless streak. The first time PGA Tour winner started the day with a five-stroke lead before a bogey-free round of 66 saw him win by eight over fellow American trio Bronson Burgoon, Joel Dahmen, and Sam Ryder plus recent winner Francesco Molinari.

Bangkok native Thidapa Suwannapura’s triumph in the Marathon Classic in Ohio saw her become the first Thai golfer not named Jutaugarn to win on tour and came courtesy of her win in extra holes over Brittany Lincicome after the duo finished at 14 under. Completing the set of 25 year-olds Suwannapura (similar to Kim) had gone 120 LPGA starts without a victory. However she does have seven other titles from minor tours in Asia.

Player Performance Notes

Located at the Carnoustie Golf Club in Angus Scotland the 147th Open, the third men’s major of 2018, is this week’s focus. ‘Carnasty’ will be familiar even to fringe golfing fans who may have memories of Jean van de Velde’s brutal bunker, burn and water-based disaster in 1999 when he blew a lead on the 72nd hole before falling in a three-man playoff.

Under 20: Rory McIlroy. The Ulsterman is the only player in the field to boast Top five finishes in the last two editions of the Open and recent major winners generally all have a win to their credit earlier in the year.

20 to 50: Alex Noren. The course set-up for the Alfred Dunhill Links event can be kinder but the Swede’s course record on this track in 2016 should be noted. He won last time around in France which was his first triumph since May last year. At number 11 he’s got Jon Rahm (5), Rickie Fowler (7) and Tommy Fleetwood (10) the highest ranked players ahead of him yet to win a major.

100 to 200: Haotong Li. The Dubai Desert Classic winner was third last year at his Open debut and a respectable T16 at the recent US Open. His last start saw him finish T23 after he opened 66-65 at the Scottish Open. Missing the cut the week prior in Ireland might not be the worst thing for the 22-year-old.

200 to 500: Eddie Pepperell. When the Englishman strikes form on links courses he can hold it and if not for a bonkers final round from Stone in Scotland he’d have two wins in his last nine starts. Plenty of bigger name players would snap up that sort of form.

Greens in regulation

Coming off her playoff defeat Lincicome will become the first LPGA player in a decade to feature in a men’s PGA Tour event when she tees it up in the Barbasol Championship in Kentucky. With the event shorn of the Tour’s best due to the Open Lincicome will feature in the event which includes 2014 Fed Ex Cup winner Billy Horschel. Michelle Wie was the last female player to feature on the PGA Tour and only one of the four female players to tee up in a men’s event has made the cut – multi-sport star Babe Zaharais. The champion Olympic sprinter and javelin winner from the 1932 Games made the cut in the LA Open in 1945. The LPGA’s next event is the Ladies Scottish Open which will also take place in East Lothian as the men’s event did at Gullane Golf Club later this month from July 26.

Tap in

Whilst eight Australian’s will take to the course at Carnoustie it should not be forgotten about the great week Australian junior golf has had. With players in the mix at key amateur and junior events there was one big success and a near thing at Torrey Pines.

Canberra’s Adam Thorp edged home by a single stroke on the South Course at the California venue to claim the IMG-backed Junior World Golf Championships. American Chase Sienkiewicz was second in San Diego to Thorp who will now consider options from at least five colleges. The event, won by Jason Day in 2004 and Tiger Woods in 1991, was also a big result for New South Wales golfer Doey Choi who placed second in the girl’s event, four back from Taiwan’s Tzu-Yi Wang. Choi combined with fellow Sydney-sider Stephanie Kyriacou to win the teams event

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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