Week 48: Four shot victory for Rahm in the Bahamas

December 03, 2018

PGA Tour - Hero World Challenge

Jon Rahm turned a potential shootout into a Bahamas breeze Sunday, closing with a 7-under 65 for a four-shot victory in the Hero World Challenge moving from World No.8 to World No.6.

Starting the final round in a three-way tie with Tony Finau and Henrik Stenson, Rahm took the lead when Finau made bogey on the par-3 eighth hole, and the 24-year-old Spaniard never trailed the rest of the day at Albany Golf Club.

Finau was the last challenger until the 14th hole, when he went from a sandy area to a bunker and over the green, leading to double bogey. Rahm made birdie on the hole, and suddenly had a five-shot lead without much trouble to get in the way.

Rahm ends his year with three victories, just like in 2017, his first full year as a pro.

And in some respects, it was a fitting end.

Even with his individual trophies, no moment for Rahm will top facing Woods in the Sunday singles at the Ryder Cup and beating him on the 17th hole, putting the first point on the board for Europe that day. And then Rahm ended his year with Woods handing him the trophy from his holiday event.

"That Sunday with Tiger is still the most emotionally, most important moment of my golf career," Rahm said. "It means so much to play against Tiger. A couple months later, to win his event, it's really special."

Even with a runaway victory, there was a small measure of drama on the final hole.

Justin Rose, needing to finish in a three-way tie for second to return to No. 1 in the world, closed with a 65 and was in position to go back to the top of the ranking until Finau rolled in a 10-foot birdie putt for a 69 to finish alone in second.

PGA Tour of Australasia and European Tour - Australian PGA Championship

Cameron Smith held off the challenge of fellow home favourite Marc Leishman to successfully defend his title at the Australian PGA Championship moving from World No. 33 to World No.28.

The 25-year-old came into the final day at RACV Royal Pines Resort with a three-shot lead but found himself two behind after nine holes as Leishman turned in 32 to move ahead.

Smith is made of stern stuff, however, and he came home in 33 to sign for a 70 and finish at 16 under, two shots clear of the World Number 21.

England's Ross McGowan broke the course record with a 63 to finish at 11 under alongside Australian Matthew Millar.

Jake McLeod signed for a closing 74 to finish in a tie for 19th and that was good enough to secure the Australian the Order of Merit on the PGA Tour of Australasia and a European Tour card for the rest of the 2019 season.

Japan Golf Tour - Golf Nippon Series JT Cup 2018

Sotoshi Kodaira won a second Japan Golf Tour title this season at the season final Golf Nippon Series JT Cup 2018.

The victory takes Kodaira to World No.46.

Sunshine, Asian and European Tour – AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open

Kurt Kitayama of the United States carded a final round 68 of the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open to claim his maiden win on three Tour's breaking into the World's Top 200 at World No. 198.

A Rookie on both the European Tour and the Asian Tour, having earned his playing privileges for both Tours at their respective Qualifying Schools, Kitayama was making only his third start on the European Tour.

“I'm just so proud, really happy,” he said after his victory, “It's an unbelievable moment for me, I'm just so happy I was able to pull it off. There were definitely some nerves around the first tee shot. Going birdie-eagle-birdie helped to calm things down for the rest of the day.”

He admits, however, that it was never going to be easy to claim victory in such a strong field which included three former champions in Dylan Frittelli, George Coetzee and Wang Jeunghun.

“I was aware a little bit of what was going on,” said the 25-year old Kitayama who has also played on the Tour in the United States. “I kept one eye on the scoreboard. I just tried to stay calm and take it one shot at a time. It was important on 13, to get back with another birdie. I just tried to stay patient. “It's been a different journey for me (going from Tour to Asian Tour to European Tour). It's been really exciting, being able to travel all over the globe and I'm going to continue to travel more. I'm really looking forward to it.

Justin Harding's scintillating form continued, meanwhile, as he mounted the challenge in his quest for a fifth win of the season. He finished three shots behind Kitayama after carding a final-round 71. Frittelli shared the fifth spot with Japan's Masahiro Kawamura, four shots behind Kitayama.

Asian Tour - Queen's Cup hosted by Jaidee Foundation

Miguel Tabuena of the Philippines signed for a stunning four-under-par 66 in the final round of the Queen's Cup hosted by Jaidee Foundation to end a three-year title drought on the Asian Tour on Sunday.

The 24-year-old Filipino dug deep into his reserves to hold off the challenge from the fast-chasing field after he birdied four of his closing six holes to reign supreme on a 20-under-par 260 total at the Legacy Golf Club.

Tabuena's last victory came in 2015 when he secured his maiden win at his National Open. He traded five birdies against a lone bogey on the first hole to take his long-awaited return into the Asian Tour winner's circle.

With his victory, Tabuena took home a winner's prize purse of US$90,000 and moved up to 15th place on the Habitat for Humanity Standings.

American Johannes Veerman made a charge on the final day after carding a bogey-free 66 highlighted by four birdies, but he was unable to catch up with the relentless pace of Tabuena, and settled for second place on 263 at the US$500,000 event hosted by Thai legend Thongchai Jaidee.

Home favourite Jazz Janewattanond had a chance to complete a successful title defence after reeling in three birdies from the 11th. However, he struggled to a dropped-shot on the last and left Tabuena running away with a three-shot victory.

The Queen's Cup is celebrating its 11th edition on the Asian Tour this week and Thongchai assumed responsibility of hosting for the first time on the region's premier Tour, in his efforts to draw attention to his foundation.

PGA Tour Latinoamérica - Shell Championship

Michael Buttacavoli's win at the Latinoamérica Tour Championship – Shell Championship came on the par-3 15th hole at the Golden Palm Course at Trump National Doral. Moments after making a birdie at No. 14 to take a three-shot advantage with four holes to play, Buttacavoli made a miraculous bogey on the 15th and then hung on for a one-stroke win over fellow American Evan Harmeling.

The victory, Buttacavoli's second of the season, was worth $31,500 and vaulted the Miami Beach resident into third place on the final Order of Merit, earning him 2019 Tour membership.

On No. 15, Buttacavoli hit his 5-iron tee shot way right, into an overgrown area of brush and palms. Staring at potentially a double bogey or worse, Buttacavoli ventured into the jungle, found a path that, as he said, “had a lot of air with a bunch of branches hanging down,” and punched his 7-iron second shot that hit air and no branches, bouncing onto and then over the green. From there, Buttacavoli's 25-yard pitch shot landed softly and trickled to tap-in range for a sigh-of-relief bogey that allowed him to preserve a two-shot lead he would never relinquish.

“I knew if I committed to the shot and hit it solid, I could get it out,” Buttacavoli said of his rescue from the trees. “I struggled with that hole all week. There's wind off the right, and you don't feel it at all because of the trees. I just didn't do a very good job of sticking to my routine any day on that tee.

“I just didn't pick a target, which is what I needed to do and made a poor swing because of it, and fortunately I was able to get away with a bogey there today,” he added.

After his adventure there, Buttacavoli parred Nos. 16 and 17 and then matched Harmeling's birdie on the 72nd hole to gain his final margin of victory.

Asian Development Tour - PGM Maybank Championship

Japan's Shinichi Mizuno was declared the winner of the RM225,000 (approximately US$58,000) season-ending PGM Maybank ADT Championship based on his 54-holes scores after tropical thunderstorms forced the final round to be abandoned on Saturday.

More than 10 hours of play were lost due to mulitple weather distruptions at the season-ending Asian Development Tour this week.

That subsequently led to the setting up of marathon final day where all players were expected to return to play at least 27 holes at the Saujana Golf and Country Club.

Mizuno was among the 50 players who returned to complete the remaining 13 holes from his third round.

After signing for a one-under-par 71 to grab the outright third round lead, the Japanese took a 20 minutes break before heading straight out to the tee again.

He was on the 12th green at 2.30pm before the familiar siren sounds blew again for the suspension of play which later led to the round being abandoned more than two hours later.

“It has been a really long day especially mental-wise as I didn't really know how to prepare myself going into the last round. I've never experienced anything like this before.

“It's hard to put into words how I'm feeling now but I'm glad everything just clicked,” said Mizuno, who compiled a three-day total of eight-under-par 208.

With his win, Mizuno not only broke into the final top-seven ranking on the money list but also earned himself a spot at the Maybank Championship next year where he will have another opportunity to test himself against the world's best players at the event sanctioned by the Asian Tour and European Tour.

Big Easy Tour - Big Easy Challenge 15 – Parkview

Thriston Lawrence won the Big Easy Tour Parkview earning 3 Ranking points jumping from 1263 to World No. 936.