Week #8 Weekend Winners

This was a non-elevated event for the USPGA but that didn’t mean there was no excitement. A water ball on the 72nd hole led to a playoff. The LPGA went to the 72nd hole. The DP World tour effectively had 3 players with a chance of winning on the final hole. Oh, and there was LIV.

Honda Classic

My exposure to USPGA golf is mostly through podcasts and YouTube so I did not watch the live or really follow it other than a daily check of the leaderboard.

The winner was Chris Kirk, winning his first tournament in almost 8 years by stiffing a wedge shot on the first playoff hole.

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The talking points?

Aside from the obvious drama of the 72nd hole, Kirk has been very candid about his battle with alcoholism and his subsequent sobriety. Very human. Very strong. Well done, we’re all routing for you.

Honda LPGA Classic

The second Honda tournament was in Thailand. The weekend threw up it’s fair share of drama on the final day with Lilia Vu holding her nerve to be victorious over local “youngster” Natthakritta Vongtaveelap.

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The American won her first event on the LPGA after finishing first on Race for the Card official money list in 2021 to earn her status for last year.

The talking points?

Lilia, who was ranked first on the all-time UCLA career victory list with eight individual titles, really held her nerve against the Thai rookie and another rather “useful Thai player, Atthaya Thitikul 😀

The first of many victories, I am sure, her success was called by the NLU podcast the week before.

Hero Indian Open

The DP World Tour rolled into India this week for the Hero Open and it was another win for someone who hasn’t won for 8 years. Marcel Siem took a tour victory for the fifth time in his long career.

It was an incredible climax to a tournament. Even the 3rd player in the final group had an outside chance of getting into a playoff but ultimately it was a two horse race.

Both Marcel, and fellow German Yannik Paul, drove down the centre of the fairway on the par 5 72nd hole. However Paul had an upslope lie, Marcel on the downslope. Both players tried to lay up to a number – unfortunately Marcel laid up into the rough making his wedge into the green quite treacherous.

Paul hit a great approach shot over the water to about 10 feet giving himself a look at a birdie and a chance of gaining the shot needed to take the event into extra holes.

While Siem‘s approach had a lot of green to work with, water was still a threat as the ball was lying badly. After a great-stopping millisecond the ball landed on the green but it was a long, long way from the hole.

Siem lagged to about 3 feet, which wasn’t bad but it’s a tricky length under pressure and perhaps opened the door for the others. The 3rd player in the group, Joose Luiten, had a 10 foot eagle putt that, if Siem missed his, could have tied. He missed but he have a read to Paul who was a couple of feet inside of Luiten‘s ball. Paul subsequently missed his putt leaving a three footer to win for the fifth time.

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The talking points?

Never give up. This win was 8 years since his last one. In between times he has lost his card, been back to Q school and was really questioning whether he was good enough for professional golf.

A couple of weeks ago, he was hacking his away around the course on this 500th DP World Tour start and looking to miss the cut. He turned in around and over the next few weeks he would reach the winners circle again.

LIV Golf – Mayakoba

LIV Golf’s 2023 season kicked off in Mexico.

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The talking points?

The top players in the world gathered for the first tournament of the year on what looked like a beautiful golf course. There were 10s of fans in attendance and there were record TV numbers. Charles Howell III, with an Official World Golf Ranking of 312 won the tournament and 10% of his 20+ year PGA career earnings for 3 days work.

To be fair, he did play rather well, especially on the final round where he carded an 8 under par 63.

Did you watch this or any of the other tour events over the weekend?