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By : Christian Pegrum
It was an emotionally charged and eventful weekend on the global golf stage. Whilst many of the stars are not yet back, we have a lot of other stars spread out over the PGA and European Tour.
In the US, it was the 3rd event for the PGA Tour season with the Safeway Open at Silverado Resort and Spa North, Napa, CA (Purse: $6,600,000) which included a field of 3 of the top 10 players in the world including Justin Thomas (6), Patrick Cantlay (7), Francesco Molinari (9). Other stars included Marc Leishman, Adam Scott, Fred Couples, John Daly, Jason Dufner, Phil Mickelson, and more.
Whilst on the European Tour, a field that hosted 3 of the top 5 players in the world as well as a host of celebrities including Justin Timberlake and Caddyshack’s own Bill Murray took to the Old Course St. Andrews, Carnoustie & Kingsbarns Scotland, United Kingdom (Purse: $6,600,000) for the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship. Rory McIlroy (2), Justin Rose (4), John Rahm (5), Tommy Fleetwood, Tony Finau, Shane Lowry, Alex Noren, Danny Willett, Ernie Els were just some of the stars in this low scoring event and whilst Rory didn’t win, he was on fire as he took a swipe at the European Tour.
“I’m sort of honestly sick of coming back over to the European Tour and shooting 15 under par and finishing 30th,” McIlroy said Sunday. “I don’t think the courses are set up hard enough,” McIlroy said, via Golf Digest. “There are no penalties for bad shots. It’s tough when you come back and it’s like that. I don’t feel like good golf is regarded as well as it could be, it’s not a good test. I think if the European Tour wants to put forth a really good product, the golf courses and setups need to be tougher. Winning the FedEx Cup was validation of my decision to play more in the States,” McIlroy said, via Golf Digest. “I’m getting stick [for not playing in Europe], but I’m turning down millions of dollars [by not going] to Abu Dhabi and Saudi Arabia because I want to do the right thing. I want to play on the courses I want to play at. I don’t think I should get stick for that because I feel like I’m doing the right thing.” Perhaps most importantly, he said, it’s easier for him. “I don’t want to travel that much anymore,” McIlroy said, “I’ve done it for 12 years. I want to have easy flights and not have to go across eight, nine time zones and have to get acclimatized. I’m happy to do what I’ve done this year.” What do you think of Rory’s comments and decisions? Leave your comments below.
Looking at the weekend results, we think Rory might have a point with only the top 10 finishing at -10 or better at the Safeway Open in the US whilst in Europe the top 54 players shot -10 or better at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship at courses we’ve seen a lot more difficult at The Open Championships.
A stirring finish of six straight birdies from Rory McIlroy couldn't prevent him and his father Gerry from falling just short in the team event at the Dunhill Links Championship.
The McIlroys finished on 39 under at St Andrews along with Tommy Fleetwood and partner Ogden Phipps who won the pro-am team event on countback.
Fleetwood's 19-under total in the main event was four ahead of McIlroy which gave them the win.
McIlroy said on Wednesday that his father had indicated that it would be his final appearance in the celebrity pro-am event, as a result of that, McIlroy added that the team event would be just as important to him as his overall finish.After starting at the 10th, McIlroy had an up and down opening nine which included three birdies, two bogeys and a double bogey.
But following three pars from the first, McIlroy finished his round in style with his six closing birdies as he signed for a five-under-par 67.
McIlroy's 15-under total left him sharing 26th spot in a large group which included European Ryder Cup captain Padraig Harrington. They finished seven behind French winner Victor Perez who edged out England's Matthew Southgate by a shot.
Southgate's three-putt bogey at the notoriously difficult Road Hole 17th proved his undoing as Perez, 27, clinched a first European Tour triumph.
Former Northern Ireland Open winner Joakim Lagergren and England's Paul Waring shared third two shots off the pace with Fleetwood, who hit a 64, in a five-strong group one further back.
Open champion Shane Lowry was the top Irish finisher as he shared 15th spot on 17 under following a final-round 68. For the full Leaderboard, click here.
In the US, Cameron Champ won the Safeway Open by one shot. Champ broke down in tears when it was over as the 24 year old took home his 2nd PGA Tour Title after struggling last season.
Playing while his grandfather fights stomach cancer in nearby Sacramento, Champ made a 3-foot birdie putt on the par-5 18th hole for the victory over Adam Hadwin at Silverado Resort.
Emotions ran high as no doubt Champ was thinking of this Grandfather Mack who introduced him to golf. Champ raised both arms then shared a long embrace with his caddie before breaking into tears as he hugged his father, Jeff, on the green.
"For me to do something like this, for me to win, and for him to be able to witness and watch on TV, I know he was probably amped up," Champ said. "For him to be able to see me make that putt on 18 on the 72nd hole, that will go down as the greatest moment ever in my career.”
"It was just kind of meant to be. Everything fell into place."
Champ's 2nd victory in 33 events didn't come without its moments, especially down the stretch.
Three strokes ahead entering the round, Champ had five birdies and overcame a bogey on No. 17 -- "Adrenaline," Champ said -- to hold off Hadwin. Champ closed with a 3-under 69 to finish at 17-under 271.
Afterward, Champ was handed a cell phone by his father. On the other end was Mack. "With everything going on with my family, with my grandpa, I wasn't sure if I was even going to play," Champ said. "I showed up Thursday and teed it up with no practice round, nothing. The whole week there was nothing else on my mind. It just kind of blurred everything else."
Hadwin birdied the final three holes for a 67 to tie Champ at 16 under, then watched from nearby as Champ nearly chipped in for eagle on 18 before making the short birdie putt. "At least I made him think about it a little bit," Hadwin said. "I knew I had to do something special. Put a little pressure on him and made him make birdie for it."
Champ missed every fairway on the front nine but made several big second shots to stay in front. None was more impressive than after he drove into the far left rough on the par-5 fifth, pitched up and over a tall tree and onto the green 17 feet away and two-putted for birdie. Champ bogeyed No. 8, but rebounded with a birdie on No. 9. He had a short chip-in for par on No. 11 after chunking his approach shot. "I just kept grinding," said Champ, who had 21 birdies in the four rounds. "I got some key up-and-downs. The chip-in on 11 was huge, and the up-and-down on 15 just kind of kept my round going."
Champ's only other tour victory came last October in Mississippi at the Sanderson Farms Championship. He hadn't finished higher than sixth since, missing the cut 12 times.
Marc Leishman (65) was third at 14 under. Justin Thomas (69), Charles Howell III (68) and Zac Blair (68) were 13 under. PGA TOUR NEWS Source ESPN.
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