Joe’s blog weekly review of amateur and pro events
Amateur – The Sunshine Tour Hits Baltray for The East
The sun came out to greet a sprinkling of some of the best amateurs from around the world to The East of Ireland Championship in Baltray, County Louth. The South Africans, Argentinians, Australians, and Icelandics must all have been wondering what all the fuss is about the Irish Weather. The benign conditions helped the field emphasize the standard in Amateur Golf, on a course that was presented magnificently. The Venerable Old links was very fair and offered up lots of birdie chances with players taking advantage of lighter rough than accustomed to in Baltray.
Despite the benign weather conditions and presentation of the course, the scoring in County Louth for this renewal of the East of Ireland was nothing short of astonishing. Yours truly felt a little aggrieved at missing the cut by one shot on +1 145. I could argue I left four shots out there between putting and a couple of wayward irons, but to be fair I was reasonably economical. Hard to accept I suppose we are getting older and now really just trying to make the cut at these events. Forty-five players made the cut on level par (144) or better – in this observers memory the lowest cut ever in an East of Ireland.
Christo Lamprecht shot -14 (274) total with four rounds of 66,68,69,71 to take victory in superb fashion. By any standards, this is exceptional scoring. Kilkenny’s Mark Power chased him home on -12, closely followed by Caolan Rafferty, Tiernan McLarnon, and Devin Morley on -11. In all 30 players beat par around the famed county Louth links over 72 holes. The low scoring is a testament to the condition of the course. Let’s hope the powers that be don’t go overboard with trying to toughen it up. Hats off to the Leinster Branch and County Louth Golf Club for another fantastic staging of the event.
Final Scores can be viewed on Golfnet
LPGA Tour – Ariya Jutanugarn survives late collapse to secure the US Women’s Open
In one of the most dramatic major championships this observer has ever witnessed, Ariya Jutanugarn rallied to claim victory after four playoff holes with Hyo-Joo Kim. With a lead of seven with nine to play, the TV was about to be turned off when all of a sudden Jutanugarn made a seven on the 10th hole of the final round. She was gradually reigned in by Kim over the back nine and when she stood on 18 with a slender one-shot lead, a four was required to close out the victory. A pulled seven iron into a greenside bunker resulted in a bogey which sent the event into a “two-hole playoff”. When Kim birdied the fourteenth with a 30-foot putt it looked as if we were about to witness one of the biggest collapses in Major history.
Somewhere from deep within, Jutanugurn managed to get up and down from over the back of 18 to drag the play-off into sudden death after Kim failed to get up and down from a greenside bunker. She dodged another bullet on 14 in the first sudden-death playoff hole and eventually secured victory when she got up and down for victory on 18 form a greenside trap, whereas Kim failed to replicate that feat! It was compelling but even more impressive than the mental fortitude shown was the sportsmanship. Jutanugurn clapped her opponent’s shots throughout the playoff, while a smile never left Kim’s face, despite the obvious pressure of the play-off.
While I am sure Olivia Mehaffey will have been disappointed to miss the cut, it was a phenomenal achievement to qualify to play in the tournament and she acquitted herself very well, leaving a lot of highly decorated LPGA tour members behind her in the field.
There is a very good report on the event on Golf Week
PGA Tour – Mechanical Magnificence at the Memorial.
I am sure by now we have all got tired of listening to our TV commentators spouting on about Bryson DeChambeau’s scientific and mechanical approach to the game of golf. While this may be so, there is no denying he is slowly but surely becoming a force to be reckoned with on the PGA Tour. This is the second victory on tour for the revolutionary golfer to follow on from a distinguished amateur career that culminated in a US Amateur victory. To anybody who saw DeChambeau push Rory all the way to the finish line at Bay Hill earlier this year, this victory will not come as a big surprise. It will be a big surprise however if he does not go on to build on it with more victories, including a major or two. After a titanic struggle, he overcame Byeong Hun An and Kyle Stanley in a playoff, DeChambeau edges closer to the Worlds Top 20 and is now at a career high of 22. To this observer, he looks a racing certainty to be a Top 10 player and maybe even Top 5.
There is an excellent report on the event on the PGA TOUR website
European Tour – Oleson records his Fifth European Tour Victory
The mercurial Thorbjorn Oleson returned to the winners’ circle with a flawless 64 for a -22 total for the week. Oleson pipped the home favourite, the inform Francesco Molinari by one shot who fired a closing round 65. Molinari is now pretty much assured of a place in this year’s Ryder Cup team, while Oleson will certainly come into the reckoning if he can maintain this form. Highly regarded by his peers, Oleson’s performances over the past couple of years have not matched the expectations of many. Maybe, he will kick on from here and provide the Ryder Cup Captain Thomas Bjorn with the opportunity to go into battle with a fellow countryman?
Graeme McDowell’s form, as they say, is “trending” in the right direction. A final round 64 will help boost his stats for Sundays which have been pretty poor over the last while, and if this signals a return to strong finishes, the likelihood is he will put himself in a position to win again soon. Throughout his career, Graeme has shown a killer instinct when in a position to win. A full report on the Italian open is available on the Europen Tour Website
Challenge Tour – Schneider Seals Swiss Victory
Marcel Schneider went wire to wire for victory in the Swiss Challenge for a commanding six-shot victory over Kristan Krogh Johannessen. The victory lifts Schneider to 16th on the Challenge Tour, with the top 15 at the end of the season gaining full playing privileges on the European Tour.
Ruaidhri McGee finished in a tie for fourth, sprinting through the field with a pair of 65s at the weekend. Stuart Grehan finished on -7 in a tie for 33rd, while Cormac Sharvin made the cut but finished down the field on -1 in a tie for 63rd.
A full report on the Swiss Challenge presented by Association Suisse de Golf is available here
That’s if for this week. If you have any news of your own you’d like to share, please email email@example.com
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