Brooks Koepka wins 117th U.S. Open

Brooks Koepka wins 117th U.S. Open

Brooks Koepka

Erin, Wisconsin – The 117th U.S Open at Erin Hills had a bit of everything – The drama of an aging legend still looking to complete the grand slam that ended up missing the event because of his daughter’s high school graduation, fescue rough that early in the week had to be measured in feet not inches, weather that didn’t quite cooperate with the planned firm and fast links-like playing surface, and by Friday evening the top 3 players (and 6 of the top 10) on the planet were all trunk slammin. Also, a record tying 63 (or breaking – whichever way you choose to look at it) was shot on Saturday by Justin Thomas. Oh, and how could I forget, a tragic blimp crash as well. As a matter of fact the USGA media staff were handing us memos in the press room stating their non-involvment before the privately owned midwest Hindenburg even made touch down on farmland next to the golf course.

At 7,800 yards, the thought was a brutish linksy type layout with it’s usual windy conditions would punish the competitors in typical blue blazer/Far Hills, N.J style, but when mother nature had other plans – dumping copious amounts of rain early in the week, the  course turned into a massive dart board. When you give the best players in the world, soft playing conditions with very little wind (until Sunday) they go low. And go low they (many of them) did.

Once the dust cleared from all of the above and the final round began on Sunday, it was a certainty that someone would capture their first major (the top 16 on the leaderboard at Erin Hills were all non-major winners).

By the back nine on Sunday, the competition had whittled the challengers down to four players: Brian Harman (the 54 hole leader), Brooks Koepka (who was leading the field in Greens Hit in Regulation), the Uk’s Tommy Fleetwood and Japanese superstar and World no.4 Hideki Matsuyama. Fan favorite Rickie Fowler struggled all day and never seriously mounted a charge. Matsuyama, who was the hottest player on the course finished an hour before the leaders with a final round 66 to post 12 under par in the clubhouse. Tommy Fleetwood, the slight Englishman playing with Koepka, just couldn’t match the horsepower and precision being displayed by the 27 year old native of the 561 area code. The diminutive Harman lasted the longest in the challenger role, but faltered on the back nine starting with  his bogey on the short par 4 twelfth.

Eventually Koepka just outlasted the field with his flawless ball striking, his only bogey was a 3 putt on the 10th. He pulled away in vintage business-like Tiger Woods fashion. After a great up and down save at the 13th, he rattled off 3 straight birdies to grab command for good. Koepka’s clutch bunker shot at the short par 4 – 15th was mighty impressive, and when he rolled in another at the 16th, it was time to start engraving the trophy. Koepka’s four shot victory is the first major of his young career, his final round 67 to reach 16 under par was the stuff that legends are made of. The 272 total score ties four players – Nicklaus, Janzen, Woods and Jim Furyk for the third lowest total in U.S Open history. Only McIlroy’s 268 at Congressional (2011) and Martin Kaymer’s 271 total at Pinehurst (2014) are lower. Koepka’s -16 score in relation to par ties McIlroy’s mark from 2011.

Koepka, who is the first ever Florida born U.S Open Champion reflected afterward:”The par save on 13, that built some confidence,” Koepka said. “That was kind of the changing point of the round for me.”

This year’s U.S Open also was the first time in the history of the championship that any player other than the winner finished double digits under par, 7 players managed the feat at Erin Hills:

Koepka       -16
Matsuyama  -12
Harman       -12
Fleetwood    -11
Schauffele   -10
Haas          -10
Fowler        -10

The design collaboration of Hurdzan/Fry/Whitten on central Wisconsin farmland is only 11 years old, and similar to taking the U.S Open in 2015 to Chambers Bay, this was another big gamble by Mike Davis and the USGA. To bring America’s National Championship to a venue with zero history showed a less than typical conservative mindset from the folks of Far Hills, N.J. Given the conditions, the course held up fine, and likely will return to a future Open as par 71 scorecard.

Brooks Koepka’s key stats for the week:
62 of 72 Greens in Regulation = 1st
49 of 56 Fairways Hit = T4
322.1 Driving Distance = 7th
21 Birdies = T2
1.17 Putts Per Hole = T51

*check out our blog section for images from our coverage from Erin Hills

Scores: http://www.usopen.com/

 

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Jason  Bruno
LinksNation.com & GolfLife.com
Jason Dufner wins the Memorial Tournament

Jason Dufner wins the Memorial Tournament

Jason Dufner wins the Memorial Tournament

Jason Dufner wins the Memorial Tournament

 

Dublin, Ohio – If all you saw was the first two rounds and the final putt on Sunday you came away from the 2017 Memorial thinking it was a Jason Dufner wire to wire snooze fest. Zero drama right? Nothing could have been further from the truth. It was day three and four of this tournament that included a collapse, two late final round weather delays and an epic walkoff by the “Duf” himself.

It did indeed start out as a runaway by the former Auburn standout at Jack Nicklaus’ annual PGA Tour stop just outside of Columbus. In this edition of the Memorial, Jason Dufner ran the tables in rounds one & two with a pair of 65’s – and led by five strokes entering Saturday.

It’s a strange game, and after being in absolute cruise control Thursday & Friday, the wheels came off on moving day. Dufner moved into reverse shooting 77, allowing the field to swallow up his lead and leave him searching for answers on the range late Saturday. He vowed not to leave the course angry, so he worked through the process and re-grouped for Sunday (now trailing by four shots).

On Sunday he bumped into Jack Nicklaus and declared “I’m still in this thing, anything can happen, I still have a shot.” Indeed, he did. Dufner stood on the 72nd tee on Sunday with a two shot lead and made his worst swing of the day – blocking his tee shot right, into the nastiest rough on the property – leaving no other shot but a pitch out.

Then the horn sounded for rain delay #2. After 1 hour and 17 minutes,  the six remaining players resumed play at 8;05 eastern. Dufner attempted to punch out to the fairway but never made it, he advanced his ball about 90 yards but it was still in the rough. Meanwhile his closest challenger – Rickie Fowler stood in the middle of the shortgrass with just a wedge in hand. A birdie/bogey scenerio looked very possible at this moment. Dufner hit his sand wedge approach (his 3rd shot) to the middle of the green 32 feet away. Just as it looked like a playoff, Fowler pulled his pitching wedge left of the putting surface completely short siding himself in the thick stuff (instantly, birdie became a very unlikely possibility). Dufner could likely end Fowler’s hopes with a two putt bogey, but stepped up and drained the long range bomb to seal the deal. Walk off putt, GAME OVER!

It was the first time anyone had shot a third round 77 and won on tour since Nick Faldo did it in 1989. Kenny Knox also did it in 1986 at the Honda Classic. 

As it turned out Dufner shot a final round 68 to finish at -13, winning by three shots. Afterward he discussed his thoughts about coming back from his third round debacle, “Yesterday was not my best day,” the 40 year old native of Ohio said. “But I had to get over it quick. It’s a 72 hole tournament, there’s a lot of things that can happen out there. I knew I was still in the mix.”

Anirban Lahiri shot 65 on Sunday to finish tied with Rickie Fowler (70) for 2nd at 10 under par. 54 hole leader Daniel Summerhays shot a final round 78 to finish T10 at 7 under par. 

 

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

 

 

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Jason  Bruno
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Approach® S6 Garmin GPS Golf Watch

Approach® S6 Garmin GPS Golf Watch

Garmin Approach S6 Watch

Garmin Approach S6 Golf Watch

 

I have reviewed several GPS watches from different companies, this will be my first review of a Garmin product. The watch I am going to review for you is the Approach S6 GPS Watch. Garmin is an industry leader in GPS devices so I was really excited to give the watch a try. Garmin makes products that are engineered on the inside for life on the outside. They do this, so there customers can make the most of the time they spend pursuing their passions.

OVERVIEW

The Garmin Approach S6 Watch uses First-of-its Kind GPS Technology, the S6 is also Garmin’s Slimmest, Lightest Golf Watch. Featuring swing metrics: SwingTempo, TempoTraining and SwingStrength™

A dedicated CourseView button with Green View for manual pin positioning. PinPointer blind shot assistance lets you know where the pin is, even if you can’t see it.

It has a Touchscreen, with a high-resolution, glove-friendly if you happen to wear the watch on your opposing hand. The watch comes pre-loaded with precise distances for more than 40,000 golf courses around the world; there are no subscriptions or fees required.

The battery life is up to 10 hours in GPS mode; up to 20 weeks in watch mode. The Approach S6 is a slim, lightweight, feature-packed hi-resolution color touchscreen GPS golf watch with first-of-its-kind swing metrics.

Swing Metrics

You can use the S6 to train your swing with swing metrics, featuring SwingTempo and TempoTraining. SwingTempo measures the relationship between upswing and downswing and expresses it as a ratio. In studies of successful golf swings, an ideal ratio of 3:1 has emerged, even with individual variations of speed. TempoTraining uses the 3:1 ratio and gives you audible tones to synchronize your swing mechanics and fine-tune swing tempo. Which makes S6 as valuable on the driving range as it is on the course. I suggest that you use this feature when you are practicing or on the range as it requires more interaction with the watch and to do that during a normal round would be a distraction to other golfers.

Garmin Approach S6 Watch

Full Color Course Maps

The S6 features full-color course views for more than 40,000 golf courses around the world and a dedicated CourseView button to get you to the second shot view quickly. Preview doglegs, traps, water hazards and pin positioning from wherever you are on the course, or clubhouse. This feature works well even with a smallish display. It would come in really handy on a course that you are not familiar with.

Garmin Approach S6 Watch

PinPointer

The PinPointer blind shot assistance feature — previously only available in their top-of-the-line handhelds — gives you a directional arrow to the green. Now you can know where to line up your shot, even if you are in the woods or deep in a trap. So if you happen to go on a deep woods adventure or just lose your way you can quickly find a distance and direction back to the green.

Touch and Move the Pin

The Green View feature shows you the true shape and layout of the green even if you are behind it. Use the color touchscreen to manually drag-and-drop the pin to the day’s location. As you move the pin, your distance-to-the-pin numbers will change respectively. This is especially helpful on par 3’s where you’ll be able to dial in the distance you need to fire away with confidence. If you happen to play a course where they provide you with a pin sheet you can add those positions while you wait in the fairway.

Garmin Approach S6 Watch

Instant, Simple and Precise

The S6 is rugged and water rated to 5 ATM (50 meters), it displays yardages to the front,middle and back of greens on a high-resolution, glove-friendly color touchscreen. And, it lets you manually position pins, get distances to doglegs and layups, customize yardage points (mark traps and hazards) and print digital scorecards for Stroke play and Stableford.

Smartphone Notifications

If you are the golfer that is always checking your phone for messages and notifications you will never miss another text, email or alert just because your smartphone is stored away safely in your bag. The S6 acts as a wireless extension of your Android™ smartphone, iPad® or iPhone® 4s or later, displaying whatever your device does, right on your watch. Now you can read that email or text you’ve been waiting for, via Bluetooth®, even in the middle of the fairway, as long as it doesn’t slow down play!

Longer Life Battery

The S6 features more battery life for longer play or more rounds. Easily get in a weekend of GPS golf with up to 10 hours in full GPS and up to 20 weeks, depending on mode, before the lithium-ion battery needs to be recharged. If you use the Bluetooth feature to keep track of your phone messages this will draw down your battery quicker. I always recharge my watch after every use to to make sure I start the round with a full charge.

Preloaded Courses and Free Updates

The S6 is their lightest, thinnest golf watch, but they have preloaded it with more than 40,000 golf courses from around the world — without any extra fees or paid subscriptions requires. In addition, you’ll be able to download free course updates whenever they become available. I suggest loading up the course a couple of minutes before you are ready to tee off to save any possible delay on the first tee.

Garmin Approach S6 Watch

Customize Distances

The S6 gives you distances to the front, back and center of the green, as well as distances to doglegs. It also allows you to input and save customizable yardage points — such as water hazards or bunkers — from anywhere on the course.

Garmin Approach S6 Watch

Keep Handicaps, Scores and Measure Shots

The S6 has handicap scoring options for individual holes, player’s local handicap or index/slope method. Scoring options include Stroke play and Stableford, and you can save, review, share and print scorecards from your computer. Plus, when you hit a big one you can see how far it went with the Measure Shot feature.

Garmin Connect™ Golf

Garmin Connect is the online golf community that lets you play, then share and compare. Download your round and compare it to your last round, track improvements to your handicap for every course you play. Garmin Connect Golf can even assemble your ideal round combining your best score for each hole to get your ideal 18 for that course.

An Everyday Watch With Style

The S6 even tells you the time imagine that. The S6 also features an odometer to see how far you walk. A round timer also is included to keep track of how long it takes you to play 18 holes. With the yardage distances at your ready you find your round times dropping.

Overview of the watch specifications:

  • Lens Material glass
  • Strap material TPU
  • Physical size 45 x 45 x 14.2 mm
  • Weight 1.6 oz (46.6 g)
  • Water rating 5 ATM
  • Battery type rechargeable lithium-ion
  • Touchscreen Display type sunlight-visible, transflective memory-in-pixel (MIP)
  • Display size 1.0″ (25.4 mm) diameter
  • Display resolution 180 x 180 pixels Color display
  • Battery life Watch mode: Up to 20 weeks
    GPS mode: Up to 10 hours
  • Memory/history 512 MB
  • Clock Features,Time/date, GPS Time SyncG, Automatic daylight savings Alarm clock, Sensors: GPS, Compass, Gyroscope, Accelerometer
  • Daily Smart Features, Connectivity Bluetooth® Smart, ANT+®, Smart notifications, Smartphone compatibility iPhone®, Android™, Windows®
    Compatible with Garmin Connect™ Mobile, Training, Planning and Analysis Features, Touch and/or button lock

Golfing Features

  • Yardage to F/M/B (distance to front, middle and back of green)
  • Yardage to layups/doglegs
  • Measures shot distance (calculates exact yardage for shots from anywhere on course)
  • Digital scorecard
  • Custom targets
  • Stat tracking (strokes, putts per round, greens and fairways hit and average shot distance)
  • Full vector map
  • Green View with manual pin position
  • Hazards and course targets
  • PinPointer
  • Touch-targeting (touch target on display to see the distance to any point)
  • Handicap scoring
  • SwingTempo
  • Tempo Training
  • TruSwing™ compatible
  • Round timer/odometer
  • Green View

Pros:

The S6 watch by Garmin is very lightweight and isn’t much larger than most regular sport watches on the market today. The watch is jammed packed with features and options, much more than your standard GPS watch. I suggest learning a little more about each of these features as you use the device on every round of golf. Don’t try to do everything the first time out with it, you will have a hard time keeping up with the pace of play. It does get easier and quicker the more you use that device. The charger and USB cord work great and is very easy to connect to each other. Some other watches I have tried have been a little less simple.

Cons:

There aren’t many things I can think about that fall short with the S6 watch. The size of the wrist strap is smallish in size in my opinion. I don’t think I have overly large wrist but I was down to the last couple of holes on the strap. I checked with Garmin and it is one size fits most with the strap so make sure you try it on beforehand if you think it would be an issue. The S6 is one of the more expensive GPS watches on the market, but it’s more than just a Front, Middle, Back measuring device. If you are only looking for simple yardages and aren’t going to use all the features it provides you, you might be better off looking for a simpler less expensive model. There was several instances during my round that I found the watch had advanced to the next hole for some reason, it wasn’t a big deal to back it up to the current hole. When you have fairways running side by side this might happen.

I have really enjoyed using the Garmin Approach S6 watch this spring out on the golf course. If you are in the market for a GPS watch this golf season, please take a look at Garmin and all of their different offerings over at their website.

Contributing Writer
Michael Hallee

Alex Noren wins the BMW Championship at Wentworth

Alex Noren wins the BMW Championship at Wentworth

Alex Noren wins the BMW Championship at Wentworth

Alex Noren wins the BMW Championship at Wentworth

 

Surrey, England – At the European Tour’s flagship event, the BMW Championship at the revamped Wentworth West course, Sweden’s Alex Noren came from seven shots back – firing a blistering 62 Sunday to notch the biggest win of his career. The BMW kicked off the Tour’s brand new Rolex Series of events.

Noren started the final round on fire, making the turn with a front nine 31 after birdies at the first, second, fourth and seventh holes. He went on to birdie holes twelve thru fourteen, sixteen and then capped off his career best round with an impressive 5 iron approach to six feet at the par 5 finale. He sealed the deal by holing the eagle putt to post 11 under par (leader in the clubhouse). Although he finished well ahead of the final groups (and had to wait as they finished), it seemed unlikely that any of the contenders would catch him (especially since rain became a factor as the challengers entered the toughest stretch on the back nine).

“It feels amazing and crazy because I had no intention of trying to win this morning,” said Noren. “I didn’t even think about it when I came off the course quite angry yesterday after playing a good round and chipping it into the water from the back of the green on 18. It’s a great feeling now but it feels unreal.

It’s a tough course mentally coming down the stretch. It’s not super narrow but it’s just if you hit it a little bit wayward it can cost you. I putted probably the best I ever putted.”

Francesco Molinari shot a final round 68 to finish solo second at -9. Nicolas Coalserts (65), Henrik Stenson (68) and Hideto Tanihara (68) all finished tied for third at 8 under par.

Scores:

https://www.europeantour.com/en/europeantour/tournaments/2017/bmw-pga-championship/#leaderboard

 

Kevin Kisner

Kevin Kisner poses with the trophy and tartan jacket at Colonial

Fort Worth, Texas – The big question at Colonial on Sunday was whether Kevin Kisner could close the deal Sunday at Hogan’s Alley or would he add to his large number of recent runner up finishes.

Dean & Deluca Defending Champion Jordan Spieth, rookie sensation Jon Rahm and a resurgent Sean O’Hair all put up furious charges to win but it all came down to a par putt on the 72nd hole for Kisner. After going long on his approach, the Aiken, South Carolina native chose “Texas Wedge” from behind the green – after putting thru the “into the grain” fringe, he left himself an uphill 7 footer for the win. Kisner calmly stepped up and poured the winning putt into the center of the cup to finish with a final round 66 (10 under par total) to win by a stroke – avoiding a four way playoff and notching his second career tour victory (the RSM at Sea Island in the fall series was his first).

Kisner had been trending at Colonial, in 2015 he finished fifth and last year tied for tenth.

“Everybody was questioning if I was ever going to win, then I win and then everybody questions if I was ever going to win again. So I knew the way I was playing I was going to give myself a ton of chances to win. That’s all you ever dream about, is having a chance coming down the last five holes.

I’ve had that probably three or four times this year. Today I was just having fun with it. I love the golf course and being in that position. I was just having a great time.”

Spieth (65), O’Hair (66) and Rahm (66) all finished tied for second at -9.

Scores:

http://www.pgatour.com/competition/2017/dean-deluca-invitational/leaderboard.html

 

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Jason  Bruno
LinksNation.com & GolfLife.com
Billy Horschel wins The AT&T Byron Nelson

Billy Horschel wins The AT&T Byron Nelson

Billy Horschel wins AT&T Byron Nelson

Billy Horschel wins the AT&T Byron Nelson

 

Irving, Texas – The AT&T Byron Nelson has had it’s fair share of playoffs to determine a champion over the years (21 to be exact) and the 2017 version was no different. On the final hole of regulation 54 hole leader James Hahn needed to hole out from the fairway to reach -12 and join Jason Day and Billy Horschel in sudden death, and nearly did – his wedge shot flew just past the cup, spun back and lipped out of the hole nearly pulling off the unlikely feat . He finished third at -10 after a final round 71. Horschel shot 69 Sunday playing in the same group with Hahn.

The playoff didn’t last long. Horschel had a 17′ 6” downhill attempt for birdie that came up just inches short, he tapped in and waited as Jason Day had a short 3′ 9″ putt for his par. Either Day misread the break or made a poor stroke, but regardless it missed left and suddenly Billy Horschel was a winner again (for the first time since winning the Fedex Cup finale at East Lake in 2014.

“I never want to win when an opponent like Jason misses a short putt like that,” Horschel said. Listen, I’ve missed a short putt not too long ago to lose a playoff. I know the feeling. You always want to win with a birdie on the last hole. It’s the way the game of golf goes sometimes.”

Next year the AT&T Byron Nelson moves to the highly acclaimed new Coore/Crenshaw design at Trinity Forest.

Scores:

http://www.pgatour.com/competition/2017/at-t-byron-nelson/leaderboard.html

 

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Jason  Bruno
LinksNation.com & GolfLife.com
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

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