Justin Thomas wins PGA Championship

Justin Thomas wins PGA Championship

Justin Thomas

Charlotte, North Carolina – Justin Thomas fired a final round 68 to win the 99th PGA Championship at Quail Hollow for his first career major championship. Entering the final round two shots back, Thomas made a back nine run that started with his birdie putt on the tenth that hung over the lip of the hole for just about 10 seconds before it finally dropped. At the thirteenth, he chipped in from 13 yards away to increase his lead to two shots. After a striped 7 iron on the par 3 – seventeenth, he buried a 15 ft putt to reach 9 under par and all but put away the battle for the Wannamaker. An errant drive at the last cost him a shot, but not the victory, he finished at 8 under par winning by two shots.

Quail Hollow proved to be a stern test despite plenty of rain that made conditions much softer tee to green than Kerry Haig and the PGA were looking for, but the new greens at Quail Hollow that are equipped with Sub-Air, kept the putting surfaces firm and and fast throughout the week. Finally, over the weekend the weather in the Queen City cooperated and the field staff set up the course for some Sunday scoring (with 25 players shooting under par rounds, 15 of those were in the 60’s).

Afterwards the new PGA Champion spoke to the media “I can’t put into words, I wish my Grandpa could be here for it, it’s so special to get it done. I’m glad we have a trophy now”

Challengers Hideki Matsuyama (who shot a final round 73), and 54 hole leader Kevin Kisner (74) fell off the pace early on the back nine, but a new group of players joined the fray late Sunday – Francesco Molinari and Patrick Reed both fired 4 under par 67 to tie for second with Louis Oosthuizen who shot 70. The runner up finish for Oosthuizen marked his fourth runner up finish in a each of the 4 majors for his career, (he referred to it as the “Runner-up Grand Slam”).

In winning the PGA Championship, Justin Thomas became the eighth player in history to do so as the son of a PGA Professional. Justin’s father Mike is a PGA Master Professional at Harmony Landing Golf Course in Goshen, Kentucky. His Grandfather Paul, is a retired PGA professional who has been a member since 1956.

Scores: https://www.pga.com/ events/pgachampionship/ leaderboard

 

Picture
Jason  Bruno
LinksNation.com & GolfLife.com
The Country Club of Whispering Pines

The Country Club of Whispering Pines

The Country Club of Whispering Pines

The Country Club of Whispering Pines is a 36-hole facility owned and managed by Brown Golf Management who also owns nearby Foxfire Golf Club. This gives local Brown Golf members access to 72 holes of championship golf in the Pinehurst Area of North Carolina! More on that in a minute.

The original 18 holes at the Country Club of Whispering Pines opened for play in 1962. An additional 9 holes were added in 1965, and the club operated as a 27-hole facility for about 4 years until 1969 when the final 9 holes were added. Since then, changes have been made and some hole rerouting has taken place and the Country Club of Whispering Pines is now a 36-hole facility. The courses have been renamed the River (formerly the West) Course, and the Pines (formerly the East) Course. Both courses were designed by Donald Ross protégé Ellis Maples way back in 1959 and 1965 respectively and share one thing in common – variety. One example of this is the types of grass used on the greens – The Pines features Champion Bermuda and The River, Bent grass.

The Country Club of Whispering Pines

Before your round, head over to the practice area, where you’ll find a full-length driving range, a practice pitching green complete with sand bunkers, and two putting greens to get you ready for your round.

The Pines Course
The Pines course has been referred to by some as an “inland links” style course, because of the absence of water. Donald Ross’ influence is evident in the way this Maples design hugs the natural contour of the land, as well as in the use of open, hardpan areas in the rough that are sparsely covered with pine straw and native grasses. You’ll also see his touch in the shaping of the greens and positioning of the sand traps. A great golf course from a golf design icon.

From the back tees, The Pines plays 7,094 yards to a par of 72, with a course rating of 74.5 and a slope of 134. Most golfers will find that the White Tees (6,409/71.1/131) offer an adequate test. Although the Pine Course offers generous fairways, you’ll still end up hitting every club in your bag because of the variety of holes. Ladies will have a great time from the Red Tees (5,324/71.4/121).

Memorable Holes
The par 5, 5th hole is not only the toughest ranked hole on the course, it’s also one of the more scenic holes out here. From the White Tees, the hole plays 544 yards, so for most of us, it’s a 3 shot hole. There’s a large pine tree on the right side off the tee that needs to be avoided; your best line is to bisect the left bunker and the pine tree. The landing area for your layup shot is wide open and the right center of the fairway will leave the best angle in to the green. Your approach shot is about half a club downhill over water to a large green protected front right and back left by sand. It’s easy to see why this is the toughest hole; it takes 3 good shots to get on and an accurate pitch if you want to score better than average.

Another hole that will test your mettle is the par 4, 10th. It plays 401 yards from the Whites Tees, predominantly uphill. It’s a narrow hole that requires two long, straight shots into another oversized green which is fronted by bunkers on either side.

With all of the elevation changes out here, you’re in for an interesting round. You’ll be hitting from uphill, downhill and side hill lies, but that’s a lot of what you find in the area. Trust me, it beats flat! Let me leave you this this piece of advice: if you tend to slice your tee shots, use a white ball. It will make it that much easier to find on the range!

The River Course
The River Course features towering oak trees that line the fairways and overhang several greens. The River course is not as demanding as the Pines Course (a slope of 130 on the River versus 134 on the Pines); however, you’re still going to have to play the role of shotmaker if you want to score well out here. Especially on the back none, where water is present on every hole. The greens are smaller and the rough is thicker, so it’s best to be hitting out of the short grass on a regular basis. There’s more emphasis on accuracy than on distance.

The River Course plays to a par of 71, and from the back tees, plays 6,521 yards with a course rating of 70.8 and a slope of 130. Most golfers will choose the White Tees, which play 6.044 yards (69.0/126) and be challenged the entire round. Ladies typically play from 5,140 yards.

Memorable Holes
The 4th hole plays 396 yards from the White Tees and requires you to thread your tee shot through a narrow opening between pine and oak trees. If you can hit a draw, now’s the time. A good drive will leave a negotiable-length approach shot to an elevated green that slopes severely from left to right. It’s handicapped number 5, but plays much tougher.

Number 10 is where the water really starts to come into play, and in a big way. It’s a big, sweeping dogleg right par 5 that plays 533 yards from the White Tees. If you try and cut the corner or hit it too far right, there is a pond waiting to greet your golf ball. Although it brings the sand traps up near the green into play more, this hole is best played down the left side.

Your round on the River Course concludes with the toughest hole on the back nine. Number 18 plays 394 yards from the White Tees. It’s another hole where left is best and takes the pond on the right out of play. Avoid the bunker that guards the left side of the green and the one short right and you’re well on your way to a successful completion.

The Country Club of Whispering Pines

The two courses at The Country Club of Whispering Pines offer peace and relaxation. Out here, you far removed from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, all that’s left to do is put that little white ball in the hole. Eighteen times!

I spoke with several members while I was there who all raved about the dining room and how well Brown Golf Management was doing in restoring the club to its former splendor. The Grill features all of your clubhouse favorites and what’s most impressive – they all taste good. From the Grilled Reuben to the Ellis Maple Burger, you’ll enjoy every bite. They also feature several beers on tap and have a full bar.

The Country Club of Whispering Pines

According to the members, one of the best thing about joining the club is that you have access to unlimited golf at two 36-hole facilities in the Pinehurst area, as well as unlimited range balls.

The Country Club of Whispering Pines also has 32 hotel-style rooms as well as 9 condo/suites for those looking for a stay and play vacation. The rooms are a short walk to the clubhouse and first tee include free wireless Internet access, unlimited use of the outdoor pool and tennis courts (as well as the 24-hour fitness center.

For more information on The Country Club of Whispering Pines or to become a member, visit their website www.countryclubofwhisperingpines.com.

Blackmoor Golf Club Feature

Blackmoor Golf Club Feature

Blackmoor Golf Club – Gary Player Meets the Grand Strand

Blackmoor Golf Club

Gary Player has played and designed golf courses all around the world, but there’s only one Gary Player Signature Course on the Grand Strand – Blackmoor Golf Club. Designed to be challenging, yet fair, Blackmoor features well-groomed fairways and greens and modest elevation changes, primarily through moving earth. The course was built on the historic Longwood Plantation, which runs parallel to the Waccamaw River.

Blackmoor Golf Club plays 6,614 yards from the back tees, with a course rating of 71.1 and a slope of 126. Blackmoor is also a favorite of female visitors to the Myrtle Beach area and plays 4,807 yards. Play from the yardage that best suits your game and you’re sure to have a good time.

Blackmoor Golf Club

This Gary Player signature course takes advantage of the natural terrain as well as beautiful vistas, producing a combination of shot varieties, which adds to your enjoyment no matter how good or bad you’re playing. Marshes, wetlands and/or water come into play on about half the holes and the green complexes are well protected with either sand or grass bunkers and swales. With all of the thought Player put into this course, he has made it challenging for low handicappers and enjoyable for high handicappers.

Easily the most memorable hole on the golf course is Number 8, a par 4 that plays 347 yards from the White tees – much shorter with Option B. “A Tale of Two Fairways” would be an appropriate name for this hole. The conventional, aka wider fairway is to the left, making this a dogleg right. You can leave driver in the bag with this route and hit a 3-wood or hybrid off the tee. That should leave a moderate chip shot into the green.

Option B is for the gambler in you. Number 8 gives you an option to go directly at the green, up a narrow alleyway which plays about 270 yards. Be warned, hit it straight or pay the price. Either way, you end up at a gently undulating green protected with bunkers left – or behind the green – depending on your route. Executed correctly, Option B could help you pick up a shot on the field.

The par 3, Number 4 is by no means the longest par 3 on the course -it’s a mere 130 yards – but at the same time this scenic hole is definitely no pushover. With a little bit of intimidation from the pond in front and the long, narrow bunker left of the green, this hole will get you thinking. It also has one of the deepest greens on the course, so proper club selection is essential.

Number 10, the only dogleg left at Blackmoor, is also handicapped as the hardest hole on the course. Favor the left side of the fairway on this 365-yard hole par 4; a well-placed shot of about 230 yards will leave an approach of less than 140 to a kidney shaped green that is well protected by bunkers. This is one of those holes where brains are better than brawn. A back left pin position is best attacked from the front right as the green is very shallow back there. A challenging hole that can be tamed with two well thought shots.

Even without the old slave cemetery that runs down the left side of this hole and dates back to the 1800’s, Number 13 (478 yards from the White Tees) would still be a good hole. Add in the cemetery and good becomes great! Calling this a dogleg right doesn’t do it justice; it’s more like a 45° right turn. A long fade off the tee goes a long way in lessening the burden on your second shot, where, depending on your length off the tee, you’ll have a decision to make. Anyone with a clear shot at the green needs to go for it; there’s not a lot of trouble around the green other than a bunker on the right side and trees on the left if you’re way off. The green slopes from back right to front left, so do your best to keep the ball below the hole.

Blackmoor also has an excellent practice area with a full length driving range where you can hit every club in the bag to your heart’s content, and a putting green. The clubhouse features a well-stocked pro shop with all of your favorite logoed Blackmoor gear and a grill and bar that serves all of your favorite libations and clubhouse food. The burgers are unbelievable.

Blackmoor Golf Club

There’s nothing not to like at Blackmoor Golf Club. From the moment you pull up to the bag drop to the last drink you order at the Grill, Blackmoor’s staff is friendly and courteous. General Manager Bob Zuercher has been at Blackmoor for 30 years and has ridden the roller coaster of Myrtle Beach golf. He is to be commended for having a great staff and for making an enjoyable golf experience that much more enjoyable. It’s no wonder the Myrtle Beach Golf Course Owners Association has seen fit to name Blackmoor “Myrtle Beach Golf Course of the Year”.

Half of the holes at Blackmoor are doglegs and will require not only proper club selection but also good placement if you want to score well. Many greens are elevated and require you to fly it on the green as opposed to running it on. All of the greens roll fast and true.

If you’re looking for an enjoyable round with some great people, you need to consider playing Blackmoor Golf Club on your next visit to Myrtle Beach. For more information on Blackmoor Golf Club or to book your next round, Click Here.

Golf Life Contributor
David Theoret

Hideki Matsuyama wins WGC Bridgestone Invitational

Hideki Matsuyama wins WGC Bridgestone Invitational

Hideki Matsuyama

Akron, Ohio – Hideki Matsuyama fired a final round 9 under par – 61 winning the WGC Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club in grand style. The 25 year old from Japan started hot on Sunday and never let up, his clean card included an eagle at the par 5 – 2nd, then birdies at the 3rd, 4th, 9th, 13th, 16th, 17th and 18th. Matsuyama began the day two strokes back, but won going away with a decisive 5 shot margin – finishing at 16 under par.

Hideki’s 61 tied the course record held by Jose Maria Olazabal (1999) and Tiger Woods (who did it twice – first back in 2000 when the event was still the World Series of Golf and then in 2013). Sergio Garcia was the last to do it in 2014. The victory was Matsuyama’s second WGC victory (he won the HSBC Champions last fall in Shanghai, China). With the win,Hideki Matsuyama takes over the lead in the Fedex Cup standings and looks to be one of the favorites going into the PGA Championship this week at Quail Hollow.

In response to persistent expectations and pressure from a nation that is desperate to have their first major champion, Matsuyama is well aware of Japan’s hunger: “I hope their expectations aren’t too high,” Matsuyama said. “But my expectations really at the beginning of this week weren’t that high either, and here we are.”

Dustin Johnson and Matsuyama have now combined to win the last five WGC events.

54 hole leader Zach Johnson shot 68 to finish solo second at -11.

Scores: http://www.pgatour.com/leaderboard.html

 

Picture
Jason  Bruno
LinksNation.com & GolfLife.com
Dunes West Golf & River Club Feature

Dunes West Golf & River Club Feature

Dunes West – An Arthur Hills Lowcountry Masterpiece

Dunes West

Although Dunes West Golf and River Club opened in 1991, the history of the land can be traced back to 1696, although the land wasn’t developed for another sixteen years or so. Shortly after being developed it was purchased by Captain John Vanderhorst, Joseph Vanderhorst and Thomas Lynch, the same family that owned most of Kiawah Island – in 1712. They kept it in the family for over 100 years. Fast forward to 1937 and Henrietta Hartford, one of the wealthiest women in America, buys the land and marries Prince Guido Pignatelli of Italy. The land would become known as Pignatelli Plantation and Henrietta – aka Princess Pignatelli – has a nine-hole golf course built.

Dunes West Golf and River Club is ideally situated along Wagner Creek and the Wando River, offering up some spectacular views of the surrounding aquatic life. The course itself was designed by renowned golf course architect Arthur Hills and is a “must play” for any golfer traveling in or around Charleston, SC. Dunes West has been proclaimed by both Golf Digest and Golf Magazine as a “Top 10 Resort Course”.

Dunes West

The course plays 6,859 yards from the back tees, with a course rating of 73.0 and a slope of 134. Most golfers will find that the Blue Tees (6,100/69.0/122) will give them all they can handle and still maintain a little dignity.

Hills took full advantage of both the Wando River and Wagner Creek when he built this masterpiece. As you make your way around the course, you’ll see saltwater marshes and coastal tidelands; all commonplace for those who live in the South Carolina’s low-country, but visually stunning for those who don’t.

Dunes West

Although the current version of Dunes West does not resemble the 9-hole original course in any way, shape or form, the clubhouse does sit on the very spot of the princesses’ 32-room mansion. The oak trees that frame the drive up to the clubhouse, as well as the right side of the 18th fairway serve as a reminder of the properties history; they were planted by Princess Pignatelli herself.

Like most Arthur Hills, there’s a lot of mounding in the peripheries of the fairways and around the green complexes. Grass bunkers and swales are every bit as challenging as the light, fluffy sand you’ll find in any of the traps. Greens come in all shapes and sizes, most have subtle undulation and all roll true.

There were several challenging holes on the front nine at Dunes West, but none more memorable than the four finishing holes. Number 15 is a Par 5 that plays 481 yards from the Blue Tees has two sets of four fairway bunkers that challenge players off the tee and in the landing zones. The first set are on the edge of the fairway and shouldn’t cause much trouble; the second set bisect the fairway and catch a good deal of layup attempts. A shot from the left side of the fairway bunkers leaves an easier approach and somewhat takes out of play the greenside traps on the right side of a slightly elevated green. A long drive up the left side sets up a good opportunity to get home in two and go for broke.

Number 16 is the toughest hole on the inward nine and plays 369 yards from the Blue Tees. Water come into play over the trio of fairway bunkers on the right off the tee, but is more in play on your approach shot. An ideal tee shot is between the 150-marker and the trees on the left; that will leave a manageable yet challenging approach shot over sand to a small green with water waiting if you hit it right. The green is small with subtle undulations.

Number 17 is a par 3 that plays 169 yards and is by far the most challenging par 3 at Dunes West. With water on the right side and sand left and long, there is no room for error off the tee. Miss the left fairway bunker long and you’re facing a tough lie in a grass swale. The green is small and slopes left to right. Best of luck!

Number 18 is a great finishing hole. This dogleg right par 4 will give any golfer all they can handle from the back tees; from the Blue tees, it’s a manageable 383 yards. There’s not the usual plethora of sand you find on many holes; in fact, there is none. Your biggest challenge on this hole is to control your drive off the tee. Keep it in the short grass and leave yourself a clear shot into the green and you’ll finish strong; just be sure to avoid the marsh area short left.

Before your round, be sure to visit Dunes West’s practice facility. There’s a full length driving range with multiple targets that will let you hit every club in your bag. The short game area has a sand trap for extra practice and there is a large practice putting green as well. If you’re having troubles with your swing, set up a quick lesson with one of the club’s trained PGA professionals.

In addition to a superb golf course, Dunes West also has a 6000-square foot clubhouse with full service dining. The Grille is open every day from 8am to 3pm; breakfast is served Wednesday – Sunday from 8am – 11am and lunch is served daily from 11am – 3pm. Brunch is available on Sundays from 8am – 12pm. One of the specialties at The Grille are the tacos, which come in several varieties, and the burgers are outstanding. On Thursdays, The Grille is open for dinner with delectable entrees of beef, chicken and fish.  There’s also a full array of country club amenities including swim and tennis.

Dunes West

Because of its location, Dunes West is a picturesque and memorable location for weddings. Their experienced event and culinary staff can help you put together your special occasion. It’s also a great venue to host your next tournament or golf outing.

For more information on becoming a member, you can call Dunes West at (843) 856-9000 or visit them online at www.duneswestgolfclub.com.

Golf Life Contributor
David Theoret

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