Si Woo Kim wins Players Championship

Si Woo Kim wins Players Championship

Si Woo Kim wins the 2017 Players Championship

Si Woo Kim wins 2017 Players Championship

 

Ponte Vedra, Florida – 21 year old South Korean Si Woo Kim came of age on Sunday, surviving the newly renovated Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass, and outlasting the best field in professional golf to become the youngest winner in the 44 year history of The PLAYERS.

While many of the games’ best struggled on Sunday, Kim played steady and efficiently to eliminate any of the usual late final round drama that the PLAYERS is known for. Kim’s flawless bogey free 69 in the final round was the only of its kind (and the first at the PLAYERS since Tim Clark pulled it off in 2010), and resulted in a 10 under par total score and 3 stroke victory over Ian Poulter (71) and Louie Oosthuizen (73).

Si Woo Kim with the victory takes away a whole lot more than just the $1.89 million first place winnings, perhaps even more valuable is the long list of exemptions and invitations:

– 5 year PGA TOUR exemption

– 5 year exemption into the PLAYERS

– 2017 to 2019 U.S Open exemption

– 2017 to 2019 Open Championship exemption

– 2018 to 2020 Masters exemption

– 2018 Tournament of Champions

– 600 Fedex Cup points

“I am the youngest champion for this championship and I’m very honored to be the champion for this amazing major event,” Kim said. “Usually I’m very nervous but last year I won, and with the 2 year (tour) exemption – because of that, it allowed me to play aggressively and I wasn’t that nervous.”

There were many highlights throughout the week, with the Spaniards leading the way. On Thursday, Masters Champion Sergio Garcia aced the famous par 3 seventeenth and on Sunday Rafael Cabrera Bello made an albatross on the par 5 sixteenth.

Si Woo Kim’s winning bag at THE PLAYERS

– ’17 M1 460 Driver / 8.5* / MCA Tensei Blue TX

– ’17 M1 Fairway / 15* / MCA Kuro Kage Dual TiNi 80TX

– ’17 M1 Fairway / 19* /Matrix Speed Rulz 80C TX

– P750 Tour Proto Irons / 5-9 / KBS Tour-V 125

– P770 Irons / 3-4 / KBS Tour-V 125

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

 

 

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Jason  Bruno
LinksNation.com & GolfLife.com
Brian Harman wins the Wells Fargo Championship

Brian Harman wins the Wells Fargo Championship

Brian Harman wins the Wells Fargo Championship

Brian Harman wins the Wells Fargo Championship

Wilmington, North Carolina – World No.1 Dustin Johnson was charging up the leaderboard looking for his fourth win in a row. Ryder Cup hero and 54 hole leader Patrick Reed – otherwise known as “Captain America” was holding onto his slim lead. Pat Perez was surging, grabbing a share of the lead at one point. Rookie sensation Jon Rahm was moving into contention just two shots back and Hall of Famer Phil Mickelson was looking to break his winless streak in North Carolina. All of this was the story on the front nine, big names and great stories, but it was another lefty that would steal the show at Eagle Point for this year’s edition of the Wells Fargo Championship (Quail Hollow the regular host venue will have the PGA Championship in August) Friday was a tough day for the players on the Fazio layout (most of which had never seen before the week started) with winds whipping and temps colder than normal. Harman did some of his best work on cut day, moving up the board after carding a 3 under par 69.

After a final round 67, Dustin Johnson found himself tied for the lead in the clubhouse and seeking his fourth straight victory. Harman needed birdie to upend the games’ best player and notch his second tour win. After going wayward on his 271 yard approach into 18, Harman needed to get up and down to win, but he hit a less than mediocre chip and faced a 28 foot putt to close out DJ. Most would be thinking about getting down in two and taking their chances in sudden death – but not diminutive lefty. He poured the winning putt in the jar and erupted in celebration with caddie Scott Tway.

It was Harman’s first tour win in 3 years, “I knew it was going to be tough to birdie those last couple,” Harman said. “But I stuck to my game plan and just did it, did the best I could.” He finished with rounds of 71-69-70-68 (10 under par).

Johnson after making the cut on the number, shot 10 under for the weekend to finish tied with Pat Perez at -9. The final grouping struggled mightily on Sunday, Reed shot a back nine 40 for a 75 to finish out of the top 10. Alex Noren seeking his first PGA Tour victory shot 77 on Sunday.

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

 

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Jason  Bruno
LinksNation.com & GolfLife.com
Jonas Blixt and Cameron Smith win the Zurich Classic

Jonas Blixt and Cameron Smith win the Zurich Classic

Jonas Blixt and Cameron Smith win the Zurich Classic

Jonas Blixt and Cameron Smith win the Zurich Classic

Avondale, Lousiana – It took 5 days and 76 holes of golf, but Jonas Blixt and young Aussie Cam Smith outlasted Kevin Kisner and Scott Brown to win the Zurich Classic at TPC Louisiana on Monday.

As sunlight was vanishing on the 72nd hole Sunday evening, there was very little chance that a Monday playoff was even possible, but an epic walkoff shot by Kevin Kisner brought the house to its feet in an instant. Trailing by a stroke from the fairway on the par 5 – 18th, Kisner faced a must make 35 yard downhill chip shot for eagle that had to go in to stay alive – he took dead aim and as the ball trundled down the slope towards the target, it looked like it was coming in awfully hot. The ball skidded and rolled smashing directly into the flagstick and down for the hole out eagle. Easily the clutch shot of the year on tour. New life for Kisner/Brown after a final round 60 to tie the lead at 27 under par, but with sunlight done for the day, the playoff would start at 9am on Monday.

The playoff failed to reach the drama of the previous night, with very few spectators and both teams missing makeable winning putts on the first three playoff holes. Finally, on the fourth playoff hole (18th again) Cam Smith stuffed his approach and sank the short putt to finish off Kisner/Brown who missed an 8 foot birdie putt to stay alive.

The victory is the first for the 23 year old Smith who now gets into the Players, Memorial and the PGA Championship. Blixt, the 33 year old Swede gets his 3rd career PGA Tour victory and called “This one the most fun.”

Popular powerhouse teams like Rose/Stenson and Day/Fowler missed the cut.

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

 

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Jason  Bruno
LinksNation.com & GolfLife.com
Kevin Chappel wins the Valero Texas Open

Kevin Chappel wins the Valero Texas Open

Kevin Chappel wins Valero Texas Open

Kevin Chappel wins the Valero Texas Open

San Antonio, Texas – Kevin Chappel was 0 for 179 for his career entering the Valero Texas Open at TPC San Antonio. That is until he sank an 8 foot putt on the 72nd hole to finally become a champion on the PGA Tour.

“I felt like I had some unfinished business here,” Chappell said. “A lot of hard work went into this, and I don’t think I would have had it any other way. Those people that know me (know) I do everything the hard way . . . and 180 starts later, that’s pretty hard.”

Chappel’s final round 68 was good enough for -12, the target score that he and caddie Joe Greiner had predicted they’d need to win. Brooks Koepka fired a final round 65 to reach 11 under to tie Chappel who still had three holes remaining.

Koepka waited on the range to see if a playoff was in the works, then Chappel sank the winning putt. Koepka praised Chappel: “It’s kind of amazing that he hasn’t won, how good he’s played.”

Kevin Tway and Tony Finau finished tied for third at -9.

Be sure to check out last week’s Linksnation Tour Report here.

 

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Jason  Bruno
LinksNation.com & GolfLife.com
Wesley Bryan wins at Harbour Town

Wesley Bryan wins at Harbour Town

HILTON HEAD ISLAND, SC - APRIL 16: Wesley Bryan celebrates with the trophy after winning the 2017 RBC Heritage at Harbour Town Golf Links during the final round on April 16, 2017 in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

Wesley Bryan celebrates his first win on the PGA Tour at Harbour Town.

Wesley Bryan wins at Harbour Town

 

Hilton Head, South Carolina – In the 49 year history of the RBC Heritage at Harbour Town Golf Links no native of South Carolina had ever won the event – until Sunday. Wesley Bryan, the 27 year old known for his trick shot prowess, is now a PGA Tour Champion. Bryan started the day 4 shots back, but his final round 67 that included a mistake free inward nine with birdies on holes 13 and 15 (to reach -13) was just enough to hold off five time RBC runner up Luke Donald who once again came close but finished a shot back at 12 under par.

After a bogey at the third, it wasn’t looking like it would be his day, but four consecutive birdies on holes 4 thru 7 got Bryan right back into contention. “I knew if I could get off to a hot start I’d be able to put a little pressure on the leaders,” Bryan said. “I didn’t get off to a hot start, and honestly there were doubts, but I turned it around and made those four birdies in a row and was right back in it. Honestly I got a little lucky that the leaders didn’t keep going a little bit deeper, and (they) stalled out. Luckily I was able to make a couple on the back nine coming in.”

Wesley and his brother George known as the Bryan Bros Trick Shot artists on YouTube, had gained quite the following, but with Wesley’s success on Golf Channel’s “Big Break Palm Beach” and then 3 wins on the Web.com Tour last year, his competitive game was taking off. Now living in Augusta, Georgia (where he attended the Masters as a patron just over a week ago), he has earned himself a ride down Magnolia lane to play in the 2018 edition of the Masters.

“I’m really looking forward to it, I’ll get to sleep in my own bed,” Bryan said.”

Ollie Schniederjans, Will McGirt and Patrick Cantlay all finished tied for third at -11.

Scores: http://www.pgatour.com/competition/2017/rbc-heritage/leaderboard.html

 

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Jason  Bruno
LinksNation.com & GolfLife.com
Sergio Garcia wins 81st Masters

Sergio Garcia wins 81st Masters

Sergio Garcia wins Masters

Sergio Garcia becomes a major champion at last after winning the 81st Masters

Sergio Garcia wins the 81st Masters

Augusta, Georgia – The year’s first major rarely disappoints, and the 2017 edition wasn’t the exception. On a brilliant Masters Sunday day at Augusta National Golf Club, the roars on the back nine were there and so were the stars of the game. Only this time, it was one that was long overdue that shined brightest.

At 37 years old and riding an 0 for 73 drought since his first major as a profesional in 1999, it was Sergio Garcia that showed off his new positive attitude – overcoming past failures and a few hiccups early on the back nine Sunday to become a major champion for the first time in his career defeating Justin Rose on the 1st hole of a sudden death playoff (after both players finished regulation at 9 under par with final round 69’s).

Asked afterwards what he was most proud of from the long battle with Justin Rose? “The demonstration of my character and mentality,” Sergio said. “How positive I stayed even when things weren’t going that well on ten and eleven. That is something that I did very well the whole week and it’s something that I need to keep improving and keep getting better at.” Sergio credited friends, family and his fiancee – American Angela Akins for all of the positive notes during the week.

In case you were in a coma or took a leave of earth for the day, here’s a brief summary of the back nine at Augusta National on Sunday:

Knotted up at 8 under par after nine holes, the back nine was set up for high Masters drama. After an errant approach at the tenth brought bogey, and a pulled drive at the eleventh brought another, he dropped two shots behind Rose. Another pulled tee shot on thirteen left him in an unplayable situation, and it was looking like familiar territory. In prior failed attempts to win the big one, Garcia proclaimed, “the golf gods are against me”, and “I’m just not good enough to win majors”, but this was a different Sergio. After taking his drop and hitting his recovery short of Rae’s Creek he hit a fantastic wedge to about 8 feet and made the putt for par. When Rose three putted for his par, Garcia had new life. After a birdie at fourteen & two bigtime shots on the par 5 fifteenth produced eagle, it was all tied and the roars from the patrons were at classic Sunday Augusta volume. After both players stiffed approaches on the sixteenth, Rose made his uphill right to left putt, while Garcia left his left to right putt just short. Rose up 1 again. After Rose bogeyed seventeen and Sergio made a routine par, the two were tied standing on the 72nd tee.

After good tee shots, Rose hit first and received a great bounce off the greenside mound on the right and the ball trickled into very makeable birdie range – about 9 feet away. Sergio Garcia flushed his approach to about 5 feet setting up an epic finish. Without giving all of the horrific details, both players missed their putts to win in regulation, and the tilt carried on to sudden death. Back on the eighteenth for the playoff, Garcia again striped his tee ball while Rose blocked his short right into the trees, but got a fortunate kick back towards play but remained in the pine straw obstructed by a large Magnolia tree. Rose punched out. Sergio once again took dead aim and hit it to about 11 feet for birdie. Rose hit his third to about 12 feet and then missed his par putt. Sergio needing only two putts to win, drained it in one and the Augusta faithful erupted in jubilation chanting SERGIO! SERGIO! SERGIO! – knowing they had just witnessed an instant classic.

 

Sergio Garcia

After the final putt dropped, pure elation of a long overdue victory came out.

Rose said afterward, “If I had anybody to lose to, it would be Sergio. He’s had his fair share of heartbreaks.”

Sergio Garcia came to realize that if it was meant to be his time it would happen, “A lot of things were going through my mind, everybody that has supported me thru my moments, some (in the past) that hadn’t gone the way that I wanted, and some of the moments out here at Augusta that I maybe haven’t enjoyed so much and how stupid I really was trying to fight against something that you can’t fight, and how proud I was of accepting things. This week I’ve done it better than I ever had and because of that I’ve looked at the course in a different way.”

After all, the stars and planets were aligned, Sergio’s boyhood idol Seve Ballesteros would have been 60 years old Sunday. When Sergio’s last putt neared the hole it did look as if it was a bit off the mark until perhaps it got a friendly nudge, Just sayin . . .

The penultimate group of American favorites Rickie Fowler and Jordan Spieth fizzled with rounds of 76 and 75 respectively to finish at -1 in a tie for 11th.

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

 

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Jason  Bruno
LinksNation.com & GolfLife.com

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