Almanac Golf: Golf Capital – USA wins at Liberty and ’24’ triumphs again



A collection of golf news, thoughts and notes from the week which saw the USA continue their dominance of the Presidents Cup, Ireland’s Paul Dunne win for the first time on the European Tour and Brooke Henderson claimed victory in the first LPGA foray into New Zealand.


Opening drive

A tenth victory in 12 editions of the Presidents Cup looked likely early in the piece at Liberty National when the USA won the first three foursomes matches on Thursday and it proved the case as they lead convincingly throughout the first three days. Before entering Saturday afternoon with the score-line 11.5 to 2.5 in their favour over the Internationals (minus Europe) the result was nearly confirmed late on Saturday before Anirban Lahiri and Si Woo Kim beat Kevin Chappell and Charley Hoffman to give the Internationals the slimest of hopes. With the event almost over on Saturday the USA headed into the last day of the four-day event needing one win from the 12 singles contests to register the victory and won three of them and halved another two with Daniel Berger getting the crucial win in the fourth match as the USA triumphed 19-11. Dustin Johnson wasn’t beaten all weekend picking up 4.5 points for the USA whilst Louis Oosthuizen (2.5) was the visitor’s best. Royal Melbourne is the tournament venue in 2019 with the December 9-15 event the third time Australia has hosted it.

It’s another cut and paste as we yet again laud another 23/24 year-old winning across one of the top tours after Paul Dunne fired a final round nine under of 61 to win the British Masters as Rory McIlroy made five birdies in his last seven holes. Not to be outdone Dubliner Dunne knocked in four birdies in his last eight holes, getting lucky in particular on the 11th hole after a wayward approach thundered towards the hole but only after pinging off a greenside sprinkler head. He also chipped in on 18 to seal the victory.

In it’s ninth year, but the first co-sanctioned with the LPGA, Canadian Henderson secured her fifth LPGA triumph with a comprehensive five-stroke victory in the New Zealand Women’s Open at Windross Farm Golf Club south of Auckland. Henderson, who only turned 20 last month, clinched the win on Monday after a delay caused by bad weather on Sunday which saw play (already taking place in atrocious conditions) suspended. China’s Jing Yan was second with tournament host Lydia Ko finishing T22. The LPGA’s Asian swing starts in just under a fortnight in South Korea.


Player performance notes

Players I’m interested to see how they go with notes related to capital investment if that’s your thing. The European Tour’s Tri-course tournament in Scotland sponsored by the luxury brand which might still make cigarettes features Carnoustie, Kingsbarns and the Old Course at St Andrews. Last year Englishman Hatton won the tournament.


Under 20: Rory McIlroy. He’s not won yet in 2017 and last went winless in 2008 (the second year of his professional career) but the Northern Irishman’s second to Dunne was a return to form after some reasonable rounds but not a complete tournament of his usual high standards for a while.


20 to 50: Thorbjorn Olesen. The two-time former winner (2012, 2015) hasn’t set the world on fire this season bar a GolfSixes win but he clearly loves the format and venues.


50 to 100: Florian Fritsch. The format here dictates success in the tournament as players familiar with the format, and can stand an amateur partner that may drag the chain, likely to do well. Fritsch has won the team category with footballer, and fellow German, Michael Ballack before and was T7 last year.


50 to 100: Ryan Fox. The Kiwi’s run from early July of 6-T4-T4 proves he is adept at links golf with the last two results in Ireland and Scotland and he has a T9 to his credit from last month behind Matthew Fitzpatrick in Switzerland at the European Masters.


50 to 100: Callum Shinkwin. If you go along with the theory of having to handle your playing partner as well as the pressure of a tournament Watford’s Shinkwin will have his work cut out pairing up with cricketer turned commentator Kevin Pietersen. He’s the right age for a breakthrough win (yep, 24) and was beaten in a playoff in the July’s Scottish Open.


50 to 100: Joakim Lagergren. Twice fourth at this event the Swede was T9 two starts ago and pulled out one of his fourth-place finishes last year after finishing T63 the week prior so he tends to regain form in Scotland.


Greens in regulation

It hadn’t even dawned on me, and I had long moved on from the coverage but it was appalling to see the appearance at the President’s Cup of the event’s namesake Donald Trump, especially given the turmoil in Puerto Rico and ongoing health-care bill issues in the USA. The tone-deaf human running the Twitter account for @PresidentsCup probably summed up how compliant golfing authorities are generally with the racist bigot currently residing in the White House when they excitedly proclaimed “For the first time in the event’s history, the sitting President is presenting the trophy.” Trump himself dedicating the trophy to those in Puerto Rico was stupid, but not surprising. One would hope the person running the tournament’s social media platforms could perhaps show come more tact. It’s not a good thing after all that Trump squeezed in this trip to New Jersey. I love golf but Trump’s continued association with the sport is a stain on it’s great players and a hinder to it’s development. Puerto Rico’s top ranked golfer Rafael Campos (currently 416 in the world) has been as high as 216 this year was playing the season ending second-tier tour Championship event won by Jonathan Byrd. Given everything going on in his homeland it was a great effort for Campos to even take part. Campos’ best result in 2017 was a seventh place finish in the Texas Open and he’s currently raising money for the relief effort. Best of luck to him in the future.


Tap in

After the tumult of the weekend in New Jersey the Safeway Open in Napa Valley commences the 17/18 PGA season before they head to Kuala Lumper for the CIMB Classic. The new additions to PGA Tour, some who qualified a few weeks back plus some on the weekend in the championship will be looking to get the jump on some of the big names but it’s interesting to note the likes of Phil Mickelson suiting up here given the President’s Cup was only last week. But lefty is without a solo stroke play win since the Open in July of 2013 and at the age of 47 the recent stats suggest California native won’t get to the magical mark of 50 individual career wins – he’s currently on 48.


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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