Ranking News

Molinari Jumps to World No.6 & Ranking Roundup

July 23, 2018

147th Open Championship

Francesco Molinari became the first Italian to win a Major as he claimed a thrilling 147th Open Championship at Carnoustie jumping to a career best of World No.6.

Golf - The 147th Open Championship - Carnoustie, Britain - July 22, 2018 Italy's Francesco Molinari in action during the final round REUTERS/Jason Cairnduff
Golf - The 147th Open Championship - Carnoustie, Britain - July 22, 2018 Italy's Francesco Molinari in action during the final round REUTERS/Jason Cairnduff

The 35-year-old arrived on the east coast of Scotland in sensational form, having won two and finished runner-up twice in his last five events.

And the Ryder Cup star made it three wins from six starts with the biggest victory of his career after brilliant display of controlled golf around the wind-swept links, birdieing the last for a closing 69 and eight under par total.

“What a week,” said Molinari. “Obviously it’s incredible to stand here between all these people.

“There are a lot of people I should thank – first of all my family for the support they give me when I travel around the world; my wife is a really big part of the team.

“Each of my coaches have been a massive part of the journey to get here so thanks for your work. The volunteers and fans here make it possible - it truly is the best atmosphere in golf.

“I think it will take a long time for this to sink in. To go bogey-free at the weekend around a track like this, it’s very good.

“I was as calm as you can be in the final round in the Open. I felt like I was ready for it.”

PGA Tour – Barbasol Championship

Troy Merritt shot a 5-under 67 on Monday to win the rain-delayed Barbasol Championship by one stroke. He led or shared the lead after each round. This was his second career PGA TOUR victory.

A pretty nice payoff for renewed dedication that helped him keep his TOUR card after struggling to follow up his 2015 Quicken Loans National victory.

"You always ask yourself, is this the time to move on?" said Merritt, who earned $630,000 and 300 FedExCup points with the victory. He also is exempt through the 2019-20 season.

"To get a win like this late in the season and move up to No. 65 on the points list and secure a job for two more years, it's a pretty good feeling."

The win highlights a good run for Merritt, who is 34-under par in his last seven rounds dating back to the second round of last week's John Deere Classic. He tied for 43rd.

Merritt was one of four players tied for the lead at 18 under when the round at Barbasol began. He made five birdies, including an eagle on the par-4 eighth hole, to stay in contention.

Consecutive birdies on Nos. 14 and 15 at the Champions Trace at Keene Trace Golf Club put him into the lead before he finished with pars for a 23-under 265.

"We knew it was going to take a lot of birdies to get the job done, but we didn't focus on any final number," Merritt said. "We just continued to do our best on each shot and counted them up at the end, and it was one shot in the positive for us."

Billy Horschel (67), Richy Werenski (66) and Tom Lovelady (68) were a stroke behind. J.T. Poston was fifth at 21 under, with Brian Gay sixth at 20 under.

The Monday finish was the PGA TOUR's second this season and first since Jason Day won the Farmers Insurance Open in January on the sixth playoff hole.

Challenge Tour – Le Vaudreuil Golf Challenge

Richard McEvoy secured a fantastic wire-to-wire victory at the Le Vaudreuil Golf Challenge by posting a three under par final day 68 at Golf PGA France du Vaudreuil mving to World No.275.

The Englishman finished on 18 under par for the week, two clear of compatriot and nearest challenger Steven Tiley, whose five under 66 wasn’t quite enough to displace McEvoy, who led from Day One.

Tiley posted the low round of the week on Saturday, a blemish-free 62, which was enough to make McEvoy know it wasn’t going to be easy on the final day, but the 2005 Panasonic Panama Open winner showed great poise and maturity to secure a sensational victory.

McEvoy is delighted to be back in the winners’ circle and insists there is no better confidence boost that winning tournaments.

“I’m delighted; really, really pleased,” he said. “Steve ran me hard today. I had a good lead going into the back nine and he made a good birdie at 12 and I made a mistake at 13 and it was then within two and then he hit some great shots coming in.

“15 was the changing point for me. I holed a fantastic putt for par to stay two clear and then we both hit it very close at the next to make birdies. I’m over the moon.

“I’ve got a little more belief in my game at the moment, which is great. Nothing beats winning for your confidence.

“Even if you’re playing well and getting good finishes, winning a tournament and finishing it off down the stretch is always great for your confidence. To do it wire-to-wire this week, leading from Day One, has pleased me even more so I’m really chuffed.”

The 39 year old had high praise for the golf course in Le Vaudreuil, particularly after torrential rainfall on Friday and is now hoping to kick on from his victory.

“It's a great golf course," he said. "It’s been set up very tough this week and very well, exactly like a European Tour event would be with the thick rough.

Web.com Tour – Pinnacle Bank Championship presented by Heartland Chevy Dealers

36-year-old David Skinns from Lincoln, England birdied the 72nd hole at The Club at Indian Creek for a two-stroke victory at the second annual Pinnacle Bank Championship presented by Heartland Chevy Dealers. Skinns’ 16-under-par 268 total earned him a first-place prize of $108,000 and moved him from No. 132 to No. 33 on the money list.

“It’s been a really long journey,” said Skinns, during the trophy presentation. “I don’t want to say I didn’t think it could happen, but I’m 36 years old. I’ve been at it for a while and it was relief, complete relief that I finally got it done.”

Skinns turned professional in 2006 after an outstanding collegiate career at the University of Tennessee where he was named Southeastern Conference Freshman of the Year and a part of Europe’s winning 2003 Palmer Cup team. The father-of-two was poised for success in the professional ranks after racking up the accolades during his tenure in Knoxville.

It took a few years for Skinns to get settled in on the Web.com Tour. During his rookie season in 2012, the Suwanee, Georgia resident played in eight events, recorded three top-25s and ended the year No. 125 on the money list. He had similar results in 2014 with one top-10 in 11 starts and a 101st-place finish.

Fast forwarded to 2017 where Skinns needed a good week in Oregon to keep his Tour card for the following season. Entering the WinCo Foods Portland Open presented by Kraft Heinz at No. 115 on the money list, he delivered a runner-up performance that secured him a spot in the Web.com Tour Finals, but more importantly his Tour membership for the following season.

Sunshine Tour – KCB Karen Masters

Michael Palmer capped one of the most dramatic form turnarounds imaginable as he won the KCB Karen Masters at Karen Country Club by two strokes for his maiden Sunshine Tour title.

He closed with a five-under-par 67 to beat off the challenge of Merrick Bremner. Pieter Moolman and Tyrone Ryan shared third a further shot back. What makes something seemingly as simple as that is that this tournament represented the first time Palmer had made the cut in seven tries in the 2018-19 season.

“This title is huge for me,” he said. “Two months ago, I was thinking to myself, ‘Is it even worth coming to Kenya?’. The year’s been so bad – the negative thoughts don’t stop. It’s my first cut this year! It’s just a huge turnaround. I can’t believe it.”

He started the round one stroke off the lead, and a nervy start saw him reach the halfway mark in level-par after making birdie on two, and bogey at the turn. “It was a bit disappointing to make bogey on nine,” he said. “I hit a bad tee shot and had to punch out and take my medicine. I just tried to stick in there, and I got hot at the end when it counted.”

And, boy, did he ever get hot. He made five birdies in a homeward nine of 31, including two in a row on 17 and 18 which lifted him well enough clear that he could enjoy the feeling of winning.

“The birdie on 17 was huge,” he said of the putt which elicited a celebration worthy of the win. “I knew that it meant that anyone else was going to have to go really low on the last two if they were going to catch me.”

Even so, he battled to remember what it was like coming down the stretch after he hit his approach on the par-five 18 just beyond the pin into the fringe to give himself a chance of eagle, and an almost certain birdie.

Because his year had been so poor, just being in the position in which he found himself was dizzying. “I’ve been getting more and more excited this whole week,” he said. “This weekend has been about trying to relax and calm my nerves a bit, but down the stretch was quite thrilling.

PGA Tour Canada - Osprey Valley Open

Tyler McCumber claimed his first Mackenzie Tour – PGA TOUR Canada win with a tap-in bogey on the final hole on Sunday afternoon.

Heading into the round with a 7-stroke advantage on the field, the largest ever 54-hole lead in Mackenzie Tour history, McCumber played steady golf, avoiding costly mistakes and making three birdies to post a four-day total of 25-under.

“I’m very happy with the week, and obviously happy with the result,” said McCumber, who jumps into the fourth spot on the Order of Merit with the win. “I’ve been working really hard on my game lately and the mental stuff too, and I felt like I really executed that well, so it was nice to put it together and sort of reap the rewards for it.”

For the duration of the day, unrelenting rain pounded the Toot course at Osprey Valley, soaking players and making for some of the hardest conditions of the year on TOUR.

“I changed shoes and socks at the turn and didn’t have a single dry towel, so it was a grind,” McCumber said. “I was kind of lucky because I had a tournament early in the year in Dominican where I was in the last group and I was in a similar weather situation, so I had something to draw back on to stay focused and to do the right stuff.”

While the last time he played in a downpour he finished T4, Sunday was McCumber’s day, as he made the walk from No. 17 to the final hole with a 4-stroke lead.

Laying up on the par-5 closing hole, McCumber looked as if he could stick-handle his way around the 18th green and still pick up the victory. However, Michael Gellerman, his nearest competitor, jarred his 100-yard approach shot for eagle, making the Ponte Vedra, Florida, native a tad perturbed.

“That was a really good wedge shot to that pin because the front of the green is severely slopped, and he landed it past the hole where long over the green is so bad,” reflected McCumber on Gellerman’s eagle. “It was a ballsy shot and I had to refocus and sort of try to get it in in three.”

The 27-year-old took care of business on the 18th hole, hitting his fourth up to the hole and two-putting his way to his fourth professional victory with a final-round even-par 72.

PGA Tour China Series – Qingdao Championship

Yechun “Carl” Yuan of China closed with back-to-back birdies Sunday to secure a dramatic one-stroke victory at the Qingdao Championship and become the second amateur to win a PGA TOUR Series-China title.

The 21-year-old started the day with a two-shot lead and carded an even-par 72 at Tiger Beach Golf Links to finish 6-under, one ahead of England’s Callum Tarren, who recorded his sixth runner-up finish in his last 11 PGA TOUR Series-China events.

Yuan, who played college golf for the University of Washington for three years, was competing in Sunday’s final group for his third successive event on the Tour and was delighted to win after previous closing rounds of 71 left him tied for 18th at last month’s Kunming Championship and tied for third at last week’s Yantai Championship.

On Sunday, he bogeyed Nos. 3 and 6 and birdied No. 8 to make the turn in 37 then birdied 12 and bogeyed 13 and 15 to fall back to 4-under, one behind Tarren, who played in the third-to-last group and posted the clubhouse lead.

Yuan then chipped to four feet with his third shot on the par-5 17th, making the ensuing birdie putt, and hit a great wedge approach to six feet on the par-4 18th, with Yuan screaming in delight after holing the winning putt.

“I'm so excited to get the win. This is my first win in a long time. I played very stable in the front nine, and I knew I had to make two birdies on the last two holes and I made it!” said Yuan.

Pro Golf Tour - Zell am See- Kaprun Open 2018 presented by SalzburgerLand

Ondrej Lieser secured himself the winner's trophy of the Zell am See - Kaprun Open 2018 presented by SalzburgerLand moving to World No.767.

On the second extra hole the professional from the Czech Republic triumphed over Scotsman Craig Howie. After 54 holes both players shared 1st place with 17 under par. Just four weeks ago Lieser had lost a record 10-hole playoff in Poland.

EuroPro Tour – The Ablrate.com Championship

Dave Coupland carded rounds of 69, 70, and 68 to win by a shot at the Ablrate.com Championship at Wychwood Park Golf Club, Cheshire.

Coupland (Woodhall Spa Golf Club) started the day two shots off the lead on five-under par, but quickly found himself in contention with a birdie on the first and playing partner Jack headed South down the leaderboard with a final round score of 77 (+5).

It wasn’t the clearest of paths for Coupland, as a pack of three golfers in the form of Joe Dean (Hillsborough Golf Club), Richard Mansell (Beau Desert Golf Club), and Jack Davidson (Llanwern Golf Club) all took a share of the lead during the final round.

Dean and Mansell were first in the clubhouse with total scores of eight-under par, and with Coupland eight-under through 17 holes the pressure was on to birdie the 18thto win the Ablrate.com Championship outright. The Lincolnshire-man rose to the pressure, hitting his second shot 20 feet to the pin, and a simple two-putt sealed the victory.

Reflecting on his win he said: “I’m absolutely over the moon, it’s sunk now and it feels brilliant. I was aware that I needed a birdie to win it heading down the 18thso I was really concentrating to do that or at least take it to a playoff.”

“It was a special win for me having my Dad on my bag, we had a strategy all week and stuck to it. He has helped massively with keeping my focus and discussing what clubs to use when I’ve been stuck in two minds.”

Alps Tour – Alps de Las Castillas

Alps Tour veteran player Thomas Elissalde (FRA) won today the Alps de Las Castillas at the Leon Golf Club with a total of -14 after a nerve wracking final round which saw three players ended their day tied for 1st place.

Conor O’Rourke (IRL), Guido Migliozzi (ITA) and Thomas Elissalde (FRA) had to play two playoff holes to determine the tournament winner.

The three players made par in the first playoff hole to remain tied. Elissalde was able to pull it off on a second playoff hole by making a birdie and thus winning his first Alps Tour tournament of the season.

“It feels great, but this was not expected at all” Elissalde said. “The first hole of playoff was complicated, I had to make a wedge putt from the bunker, it was very tough. I made birdie on the second playoff hole, it’s just amazing” he explained.

Thomas Elissalde, who turned in the best card of the day at -9 (an eagle and 7 birdies), was first to tee off today’s final round with his brother Paul. He had to wait 2h30 before finding out he would have to do some overtime in a playoff game. “I thought the other players would have made more birdies, so I was not expecting a playoff. I went to practice for 40 minutes just to practice my golf and to be ready for the playoff” he said.

It is the Elissalde’s fifth victory on the Alps Tour in his five years on the circuit. “I’ve won one Alps Tour tournament each year since turning pro, it’s just great to win five times on the Alps Tour. I just want to share this victory with my friends and family and be ready for next week’s event” Elissalde concluded.