Week 38: Woods is back in the winner's circle
September 24, 2018
PGA Tour Championship – Tour Championship
An emotional Tiger Woods broke a five-year win drought, most of which he spent coping with debilitating back pain, and completed a long and arduous career comeback with his victory at the TOUR Championship at East Lake on Sunday jumping back into the World top 20 at World No. 13.
On a difficult day for most of the field, his 1-over 71 gave him a two-shot win over a surging Billy Horschel (66). Dustin Johnson (67) finished alone in third, four back.
“There was a point in time I didn't know if I'd ever do this again,” Woods said. He meant merely playing golf, not winning, and admitted to being near tears as he came down 18.
Justin Rose, who began the final day three off the lead and needing to finish in a two-way tie for fifth, at worst, struggled for most of the day. Knowing he needed to birdie either 17 or 18 to win the FedExCup, he birdied the par-5 18th after hitting the green in two.
The closing birdie gave him a final-round 73 and left him in a three-way tie for fourth. It was Rose's worst round of the week by five, but it was good enough, and he became the second European winner of the FedExCup in the last three years (Rory McIlroy, '16).
“A ton of top 10s,” Rose said, explaining his success. “Obviously had a couple of wins on the PGA TOUR, as well, this year, and managed to keep that going into the Playoffs with finishing the year with three top 5s. There were a lot of scenarios at play.”
Asian and Japan Golf Tour - Asia-Pacific Diamond Cup Golf
Yuta Ikeda of Japan won his 20th career title in sensational style after shooting a final round three-under-par 68 at the Asia-Pacific Diamond Cup on Sunday moving from 98 to World No. 83.
The 32-year-old Ikeda romped to an impressive six-shot victory after ending his campaign on 15-under-par 269 at the JP¥150 million (approximately US$1.35 million) event sanctioned by the Asian Tour and Japan Golf Tour Organization.
The in-form Justin Harding of South Africa, who claimed two titles in his first two starts on the Asian Tour in 2018, registered a 66 to finish in second place at the Musashi Country Club, Sasai Course.
Ikeda, who held an overnight one-shot lead, bogeyed the first hole but steadied ship with birdies on holes two, four and six. As his closest challengers faded, Ikeda marked his card with another birdie on 15 to cruise to a comfortable victory.
European Tour - Portugal Masters
Tom Lewis produced the biggest 54-hole comeback of the season to win the Portugal Masters for the second time at Dom Pedro Victoria Golf Course.
The Englishman fired an opening 72 on Thursday to sit nine shots behind first-round leader Lucas Herbert but rounds of 63 and 61 meant he was just two behind the Australian heading into the final round in Vilamoura.
An enthralling Sunday saw the event come down to a three-way battle between Lewis, Herbert and England's Eddie Pepperell, with Lewis firing a 66 to get to 22 under and finish three shots clear of his two rivals.
Lewis won this event in 2011 in just his third start as a professional and arrived this week in fine form, having finished first and third the past two weeks on the Challenge Tour.
In between he needed a trip to the Qualifying School in 2016 to regain his card but he is now back in the winner's circle after a brilliant weekend on the Algarve.
Web.com Tour – Tour Championship
McCarthy captured the Web.com Tour Championship by four shots over Lucas Glover, and with Sangmoon Bae not in the field this week, McCarthy jumped from No. 11 to No. 1 by just over $37,000.
McCarthy finished 149th on the FedExCup standings in 2017-18, but didn't finish outside the top-15 in any of the four Web.com Tour Finals events, going T5-T9-T13 in the three tournaments leading into this week's finale at Atlantic Beach Country Club.
“I just did what I've been doing the last three or four months now. I've been playing some really good golf of late,” said McCarthy. “I've been knocking on the door for quite some time, and what better way than to finish it off with a win this week.”
With the victory, and with the top spot on the Web.com Tour Finals money list, McCarthy earns full status for the 2018-19 PGA TOUR season, as well as a spot in THE PLAYERS Championship.
Bae moved to second on the Web.com Tour Finals money list, while Robert Streb, Peter Malnati, and Cameron Davis – who finished tied for third at Atlantic Beach CC – rounded out the top five.
McCarthy said he's been doing “so much work” behind the scenes, and complimented his great team for how “tremendous” they've been throughout the last year, after moving to 23 under with his 6 under performance on Sunday. He admitted he was aiming to get to 24 under in the final round, but he got the job done despite an early bogey on the par-4 second hole.
McCarthy missed nine cuts in 22 PGA TOUR starts this year – his best result was a solo fourth at the Corales Puntacana Resort and Club Championship – but he's already looking forward to getting back out on TOUR.
Challenge Tour - Hopps Open de Provence
Romain Langasque claimed his maiden European Challenge Tour title on home soil by three shots at the Hopps Open de Provence.
Langasque, who started the day two strokes behind overnight leader and fellow countryman Victor Perez, signed for a round of 67, five under par, to become the first French Challenge Tour champion of the season.
The 23-year-old started on the back foot as he bogeyed the first, but bounced back with successive birdies on four and five to start his surge for the title.
With the lead exchanging hands between Joel Girrbach, Perez and Joel Sjöholm, Langasque joined the leaders after he birdied the driveable par four seventh. A further gain on the ninth saw him take control with nine holes to play, as the home crowd continued to spur their favourite on.
A dropped shot after the turn brought Girrbach into contention as Sjöholm and Perez made errors. However, Langasque was determined to claim his first title on Europe's top developmental tour as he birdied the par five 14th and parred the following three holes.
Langasque, who was playing a group ahead of the Swiss star, kept his fate in his own hands as he sank a seven-foot birdie putt on the last, meaning Girrbach needed an eagle to win or a birdie to force a play-off.
With Girrbach unable to chip in for birdie, Langasque was thrilled to be crowned the first Hopps Open de Provence champion at Golf International de Pont Royal.
“I'm so happy,” he said. “The last few months have been tough for me as I haven't been playing well, but recently I've changed my coach and a few other things.
“I knew my game was in good shape this week and my putting made the big difference today. I was really focussed, and I made a lot of putts between one and three metres and that was the key to taking my chance and winning.
KPGA Korean Golf Tour - Huons Celebrity Pro-Am
Jaewoong Eom won his first KPGA Korean Tour title at the Huons Celebrity Pro-Am moving to a career best of World No. 401.
Alps Tour Golf - Open Abruzzo
Italy's Guido Migliozzi won the Abruzzo Open at the Miglianico Golf and Country Club with a total score of -18 moving to a career best of World No. 491.
It is Migliozzi's second Alps Tour victory this season, and the second time he wins this tournament in back-to-back years.
Frenchmen Paul Elissalde, who entered the final round as leader, and Julien Foret finished tied for 2nd place with a total score of -17. Alps Tour veteran Foret turned in the best card of the day (-9) with an eagle, 9 birdies and 2 bogeys.
“My day was incredible” Migliozzi said. “I played a solid game on the front 9 and finished 7 under. Then, I managed my game. Unfortunately, I made a double bogey on hole 17th but at the end, it was enough to win the tournament by one shot” he explained. “In the first round, I was a bit struggling with my game but I finished with 3 birdies in a row. Yesterday, I had a great round and finished 8 under par. Today, I was hungry, I was seeing the flags and I just wanted to hit the ball close to the flags, that was my game today” he continued.
“I'm very happy because I was the defending champion and I defended the trophy” he concluded.
EuroPro Tour - Newmachar Golf Club Challenge
Billy Spooner beat Thomas Robson after a three-hole playoff to earn his second PGA EuroPro Tour title at the Newmachar Golf Club Challenge, Aberdeen.
Spooner (West Boston Golf Club) started the day as the leader after carding a superb opening round of 65 (-7) to lead by two shots with 18 holes to play, after heavy winds reduced the tournament to a 36-hole event.
After clinching his first title in just the second event of the season at Harleyford Golf Club, Spooner was made to wait until the final regular event of the season the get his hands on EuroPro Tour silverware.
The final day was all but straightforward, as heavy rain at 10.30am postponed action for around two hours, meaning Spooner and the other front runners were forced to wait even longer to get their final rounds underway.
Despite shooting an electrifying score of 29 on the front nine just 24 hours earlier, Spooner couldn't find similar success on a cold and windy Friday in Aberdeen, going out in 35 (-1) to hold a slender lead over a pack of four other golfers.
Two more birdies on the back nine looked to have done the job for the Bostonian until Parkstone's Thomas Robson leaped into the clubhouse lead with two birdies in his final three holes, taking his Championship score to -10, meaning Spooner needed to birdie the last to win outright.
However, he couldn't get to within 15 feet with his approach on the last and had to settle for a par, forcing the second successive playoff of the season.
PGA Tour LatinoAmerica - 65 JHSF Brazil Open
Colombia's Marcelo Rozo came from behind to win the JHSF Brazil Open. In the process, Rozo supplanted American Tyson Alexander atop the Order of Merit standings with six tournaments left on the PGA TOUR Latinoamérica schedule.
Rozo used an eight-birdie, no-bogey performance on the final day at Fazenda Boa Vista to overcome a seven-shot deficit and defeat a hard-charging Harrison Endycott and American Chase Hanna by a stroke. In the process, Rozo won a PGA TOUR Latinoamérica trophy for the third time in his career but first since 2014. The win was also a fitting tribute to Rozo's brother, Mateo, who died in 2001, Rozo dedicating the victory to him only four days after commemorating his birthday.
Nordic Golf League - Harboe Open - by Slagelse Kommune & Sparekassen Kronjylland
Gustav Adell won the Harboe Open - by Slagelse Kommune & Sparekassen Kronjylland moving to World No. 1076.
Big Easy Tour – Big Easy Challenge Services
Stuart Smith from Botswana became the second international champion on the Big Easy Tour with his breakthrough at Services Golf Club on Wednesday.
Just two weeks after Zimbabwean Ben Follett-Smith finished in the winner's circle at Kyalami Country Club, Smith produced a well-constructed six-under-par 66 at Services Golf Club to triumph on 15-under-par 201.
He finished two shots clear of overnight leader Juran Dreyer and fast-finishing Pieter Moolman, whose seven-under-par 65 earned him the low round honours.
Smith started the final round one shot adrift of Dreyer on 10-under, but he shifted the Free State rookie out of pole positon with a birdie-birdie start and never relinquished control.
Dreyer got it to 12-under with birdies at 12 and 15, but his efforts to force the tournament into extra time took a nosedive when he dropped a shot at the penultimate hole.
“I was 13-under and that left me free to play pressure-free golf over the last two holes,” Smith said.
“I birdied 17 and could play the last hole as a three shotter. I hit a great drive, put my second on the green and boxed another birdie putt. I'm really pleased with this result, because I really haven't played well this season. Hopefully this sparks a better second half of the year for me.”
After a second round 67, Smith felt he had the game to win.