World Rankings Week 16: Levy moves to World No.47
European Tour - Trophee Hassan II
Alexander Levy held his nerve brilliantly down the stretch to win his fifth European Tour title at the Trophée Hassan II entering into World Top 50 for a second time in his career.
The Frenchman entered the final day at Royal Golf Dar Es Salam one shot off the lead but hit the front on the third and never looked back, signing for a 70 and finishing the week at eight under.
That gave him a one-shot victory over Spaniard Alvaro Quiros, who had a birdie-birdie finish to leapfrog Swedish pair Alexander Björk and Joakim Lagergren, Finn Mikko Ilonen and Italian Andrea Pavan.
The victory comes in Levy's 138th appearance on Tour and provides the perfect momentum as he goes in search of a successful defence and a third title at the Volvo China Open next week.
It is also the continuation of some excellent form this season, with three top tens in his other five events keeping him very much in contention to provide a local Member for the European Ryder Cup Team that goes to Le Golf National in September.
PGA TOUR - Valero Texas Open
Andrew Landry won the Valero Texas Open on Sunday for his first PGA TOUR victory, pulling away with early birdies and holding on with par saves.
The 30-year-old Texan, busy at home in Austin with the recent birth of the family's first child, parred the final seven holes for a 4-under 68 and a two-stroke victory over Trey Mullinax and Sean O'Hair.
"It was obviously a tough week this week," Landry said. "Going into the last few weeks with the childbirth and just really getting back out."
Landry played at Arkansas after starring at Port Neches-Groves High School east of Houston. Many family members were at TPC San Antonio on Sunday.
"Everybody was out," Landry said. "It was pretty special to be able to snag a victory with everybody being here to share it."
Landry finished at 17-under 271. He earned $1,116,000 and a spot in the Masters Tournament next year.
"I didn't even really think about it, to be honest with you," Landry said. "There's a lot of perks for a tour win and you've just got to continue to stay focused and not think about those kind of things."
Landry took a two-stroke lead to the par-5 18th after Mullinax chunked a flop shot and bogeyed the short par-4 17th. Landry hit a 55-foot putt over a ridge to 3 feet for par on 17 and made an 8-footer on 18 after running a 50-foot downhill birdie try past.
Web.com - North Mississippi Classic
Eric Axley, who took the outright 54-hole lead at the North Mississippi Classic on Saturday, was declared the inaugural tournament champion after Tour officials were forced to cancel the final round due to heavy rains that led the course to become unplayable. The 44-year-old ended the week at 12-under 204, three strokes ahead of Willy Wilcox, Sebastian Munoz and K.H. Lee.
“It feels good,” Axley said of his first win since the 2006 Valero Texas Open. “It’s been a while since I won on this level, and it always feels good to win.”
After opening tournament play with a 1-under 71, Axley moved into contention at The Country Club of Oxford with a 7-under 65, a bogey-free round in which he birdied five holes in a seven-hole stretch. The performance was enough to move Axley within one of the lead heading into the third round. Having looked at the forecast for Sunday and knowing that a rain-shortened event was a possibility, Axley went out Saturday aiming to play as if the round were his last.
“We looked at the forecast and knew they had moved [final-round] tee times up,” Axley recalled, “and this isn’t our first rodeo so we thought that there may be a chance that we didn’t play today. Our goal yesterday was to play like it was the final round and we went out and played well, and it ends up it was the final round, so we got the win.”
Axley made 22 starts on the Web.com Tour in 2017, making 11 cuts and carding one top-10 finish. The performance was enough to land him a spot in the Web.com Tour Finals, but missed cuts in three of the four Finals events left the former East Tennessee State Buccaneer at No. 59 on the Finals money list come season’s end. Though Axley has been back and forth on the Web.com Tour and PGA TOUR over the last few years, he’s never wavered in his ability to compete and make a living via professional golf.
Japan and Asian Tour - Panasonic Open Championship
India’s Rahil Gangjee ended his barren run that stretched over a decade by closing with a three-under-par 68 for a one-shot victory over Korea’s Hyungsung Kim and Junggon Hwang at the Panasonic Open Golf Championship on Sunday.
Gangjee admitted he had self-doubts after not being able to enjoy much success since his last Asian Tour win in China in 2004. However, it was his sheer will power that brought him back into the winner’s circle after enduring years of frustration.
Despite the immense pressure on 18, Gangjee managed to hit his bunker shot out to within 10 feet of the pin.
The 39-year-old would go on to sink that decisive birdie and win his second Asian Tour title with his four-day total of 14-under-par 270 at the JP¥150,000,000 (approx. US$1,370,000) event that is sanctioned by the Asian Tour and Japan Golf Tour Organisation (JGTO).
Zimbabwean Scott Vincent continued to knock on the winner’s door when he signed off with a 66 to finish in a share of fourth place that also included Thailand’s Rattanon Wannasrichan and Sihwan Kim of the United States.
Although India’s Shiv Kapur closed with a 75, it was enough to win the Panasonic Swing series where he earned the top bonus prize of US$70,000 and an exemption into an event on the European Tour this year.
Sunshine Tour - Zimbabwe Open
Bryce Easton overturned the 73 he signed for in the third round of the Old Mutual Zimbabwe Open in spectacular fashion when he shot an unblemished nine-under-par 63 final round to equal the course record and claim victory at the Royal Harare Golf Club on Sunday.
He finished the third round with a double-bogey on 17 and a bogey on 18 in round three and admitted that he was quite gutted by his display which left him six shots behind the leading JC Ritchie. However, in the final round, Easton came out guns blazing, opening his final round with three birdies on the trot before a par halted him on the fourth.
Four holes later he was seven-under-par, with birdies on the fifth, the sixth, a par on the seventh, another birdie on eight and a par to turn in 30. By this time, it was clear that he would either take the round to a play-off with a few other players who included Ritchie who led for the entire week.
“I felt like I played well for most of the week, even yesterday,” he said, “but, yesterday was a little off. I just finished poorly. But, I went out there with a different mindset and maybe that helped me, being a little bit behind going out today.”
He admits, however, that he didn’t have a problem chasing the leaders, and not being the one being chased. “It is a different ball game when you’re in front because you get the attention from the get-go,” he said, “maybe, being a few behind the pace was what I needed to do.”
On the homeward stretch, Easton needed to be calm to be able to protect the gains he had made, but he also knew he needed to make more gains to pull clear of the group that occupied the first few spots on the leaderboard. He did so expertly, making a birdie on the 10th. He made two more birdies on holes 14 and 16 to get to nine-under 63 and remain within touching distance of claiming a third win on the Sunshine Tour.
China Tour - Colorful Yunnan Classic
Wu Tuxan fired 68 in the final round and claim his firt title at the Colorful Yunnan Classic moving to World No. 808.
Big Easy Tour - Big Easy Challenge 1 - Silver Lakes
Dylan Mostert closed out a memorable maiden win in the Big Easy IGT Challenge Tour #1 after emerging from an enthralling final day battle with a one-shot victory at Silver Lakes Country Club on Wednesday.
The Edenvale golfer was hoping to follow up a promising fourth place finish in his pro debut on the IGT Challenge Tour in Germiston last week and a well-constructed five-under 67 in round two shot him to the top of the pile.
Mostert carried a three-shot lead into the final round, but squandered his advantage in the first 10 holes. However, as Cameron Moralee and Ruan Korb both made charges towards the title, the rookie showed some real guts to grind out seven pars and a lone birdie for an even-par 72 to cement victory on eight-under 208.
“I’m so proud of the way I hung on and stayed in the fight, because that was a proper grind,” said the delighted 19-year-old.
“I wasn’t hitting it as pure as I did in the first two days and the putter was cold. The first 10 holes were topsy-turvy, starting with a three putt. And the last eight was pure grind.”
Mostert tapped in for birdie at the second to counter the bogey start, but hit it into the trees at the fourth, leading to another bogey.
“I holed a two-footer for birdie at six and two-putted from 50 foot at seven for another birdie to get to one-under and made a huge momentum putt for par at eight, but then I dropped 10 and 11,” he said.
“I couldn’t up and down at 10 and I hit a poor chip at 11. I knew I would have to stay really patient down the back nine and keep the bogeys off my card.”
Moralee, playing in the group ahead of Mostert, made his move with a brace of birdies at 13 and 14 to take the lead at eight under. Mostert rallied with a great up and down at the par five 15th to draw level, while moved within a shot of the leading pair with a birdie at the par four 12th.
“It was really tight over the last couple of holes, but I just stayed in the moment,” said Mostert. “The only thing I could control was how I played.
“I holed a six-foot downhill slider at 16 for par, made a great up and down for par at 17 and headed to the 18th still tied for the lead with Cameron. Ruan up ahead birdied 18, so he was sitting at seven-under, too.
“After I hit driver left into the trees at 18, I saw that Cameron had hit his third shot in the water. I knew I didn’t have to do anything fancy to win; I just needed a cool head. I punched out, got it on the green and two-putted for the win from about 25 foot. The relief was extreme.”
Mostert, who won the IGT Betterball Wanderers with Kyle Barker as an amateur, was delighted to break his professional duck in the new collaboration between the Big Easy Tour and the IGT Challenge Tour.