Almanac Golf: Pacific run



A collection of golf news, thoughts and notes from the week which has seen world number one Dustin Johnson win in Hawaii plus the New Zealand Masters will take place near Auckland on the Australasian PGA Tour.


Opening drive


Dustin Johnson, one of only a few players to win on multiple occasions in the USA in 2017, got 2018 underway with a huge win in Maui. Johnson shot the best round of the tournament (eight under 65) on the final day. The American capitalised on Marc Leishman’s tumble down the leaderboard on Saturday and went clear on Sunday to finish at 24 under eight strokes ahead of Jon Rahm. The tour stays in Hawaii for the Sony Open this week.


The European Tour resumes with two events this week. Gauteng hosts the South African Open and in Malaysia the Eurasia Cup takes places. The Eurasia Cup sees two 12-man sides from Europe and Asia face off in a Ryder Cup-style event. The biennial tournament takes place at the Garden Course, Glenmarie Golf and Country Club in Kuala Lumpur.


Player performance notes


Players I’m interested to see how they go with notes related to capital investment if that’s your thing. Honolulu’s Waialae Country Club hosts the Sony Open. After last week’s limited field event it’s a full deck for this PGA Tour event


20 to 50: Tony Finau. After opening with a 64 here last year Finau finished T20. He ended 2017 inside the top 16 at five of his last six starts including a second place at the Safeway.


20 to 50: Brian Harman. Four consecutive top eight finishes in Korea, China the USA mainland and China shows Harman’s versatility and he has a bit of course for finishing T20 last year. Has last start third has his at a career-high ranking of 23.


20 to 50: Gary Woodland. Owner of three top 13 finishes in his last three goes at this tournament Woodland hasn’t won since 2013 but clearly likes this event.


50 to 100: Jamie Lovemark. The American was T4 here last year and has done well at PGA Tour events off the American mainland with a T5 in Korea late last year, but he did miss his next two cuts.


50 to 100: Ollie Schniederjans. With a respectable T27 debut in this event last year Schniederjans went on to post four top tens in his first full year on the tour. He was second to Henrik Stenson in his best result last year at the Wyndham Championship back in August.


Greens in Regulation


As the PGA Tour resumed tour officials announced they will support a fundraising drive for Australian golfer Jarrod Lyle. Facing a third bone marrow transplant for acute myeloid leukemia Lyle, 36, had the condition return in July of last year. Should you wish to support ‘January for Jarrod’ you can do so here. The campaign has already raised over USD 20,000


Tap in


Wainui Golf Club north of Auckland is the venue for the New Zealand Masters which will take place from Thursday. Whilst the Australian Masters hasn’t taken place since Peter Senior’s triumph at Huntingdale in 2015 this event will offer up a pro-am format of sorts. As outlined by 50 amateurs will join the remaining 50 professionals following the traditional second round cut and the professionals will continue to compete for the title, as well as engage in a separate team competition with their amateur partner. 2016 Olympian and European Tour regular Ryan Fox is favourite to win. Interestingly the Australian Masters website is still open with IMG telling us they will announce plans about the future of the event last held in 2015 ‘in the coming months.’ The new direction seems to be taking a while and the hope for another Australian Triple Crown anytime soon seems forlorn.


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. Dustin Johnson (“so thick light bends around him”) hits a 430 yard drive (that’s about 2 of mine) to 2 feet from the pin at the 12th hole in the final round of the “Tournament of Champions” (why not call it the World Series?) in Hawaii. Impressive but “the greatest shot of all time” as one commentator called it? Gimme a break – downhill and downwind in a tournament that meant nothing when he was 6 shots in front already?
    Modern professional sport – if you can’t give ’em bread, give ’em circuses.

  2. Hi Peter, I think BrandelC might have been on the tequilas or something in Hawaii with that call!Greatest shot at that tournament that week maybe. That’s it.

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