MATSUYAMA POWERS TO VICTORY AT BRIDGESTONE
WGC – Bridgestone International
Hideki Matsuyama produced a sensational closing 61 to win his second World Golf Championships title at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.
The World Number Three entered Sunday at Firestone Country Club two shots off the lead but was simply unstoppable, making seven birdies and an eagle to get to 16 under and finish five shots ahead of American Zach Johnson.
Matsuyama won his first WGC at the WGC HSBC Champions in 2016 during a run where he won four times in five months worldwide and on the evidence of his performance in Akron, more wins cannot be far away.
Johnson fired a 68 to finish at 11 under, one shot clear of countryman Charley Hoffman and three ahead of Belgian Thomas Pieters.
World Number Four Rory McIlroy and Scotsman Russell Knox were then at seven under alongside England's Paul Casey and Canadian Adam Hadwin.
Matsuyama spectacularly chipped in from 58 feet from the back of the second green for an eagle to quickly move into a share of the lead at nine under.
PGA Tour – Barracuda Championship
Chris Stroud ended more than a decade of futility on the PGA TOUR with two of the most important shots of his career.
One was a 5-wood to 5 feet on the final hole of the Barracuda Championship that got him into a playoff. The other was a 5-iron to 12 feet on the par-5 18th hole that made him a PGA TOUR winner for the first time in 11 years and 289 tournaments.
"Eleven years I've waited for that," Stroud said when he was introduced as a tour winner. "So it's a dream come true."
Not even in the picture for so much of the final round, Stroud rallied over the final six holes at Montreaux Golf and Country Club with three birdies and an eagle to get into a three-man playoff. He won with a two-putt birdie on the second extra hole.
The victory sends Stroud to the PGA Championship next week, the first of many perks. He also gets a two-year exemption, almost as important as playing a major for a 35-year-old who only had conditional status this year.
He also gets into the Tournament of Champions at Kapalua, the start of the new year reserved only for PGA TOUR winners.
It required a frenetic finish, especially with the Modified Stableford format that awards five points for an eagle, two points for a birdie and take away one point for a bogey and three points for a double bogey or worse.
Stroud picked up 20 points in the final round -- 11 of them on that final stretch -- and got into the playoff with 45-year-old Greg Owen (making his 264th start on the PGA Tour without a victory) and PGA TOUR rookie Richy Werenski.
Owen drove into the water on the 17th hole and made bogey, only to bounce back with a 7-foot birdie putt on the 18th to join the playoff. Werenski also was clutch, making an 8-foot birdie putt on the last hole.
Owen caught a bad lie in the bunker on the 18th hole in the playoff, bladed it out to 45 feet and missed his birdie putt. He was eliminated when Stroud two-putted from 25 feet for birdie, and Werenski calmly rolled in an 8-foot birdie putt.
"Disappointed," Owen said. "This time of my career, you don't get many more chances."
Returning to the 18th hole, Stroud hit 5-iron to 12 feet. Werenski went long, chipped to 25 feet and missed the birdie putt.
Sunshine Tour – Sun City Challenge
Peter Karmis put up the fight of his life to win his second title of the 2017-18 Sunshine Tour season when he defeated a rejuvenated Jake Roos on the first play-off hole of the 54-hole R750,000 Sun City Challenge on Friday.
He came into the final round three shots behind the leading Roos but eventually finished on six-under-par for the tournament. In what was a decent round on the final day, Karmis made three birdies and two bogeys and that was enough to land him in the play-off after Riekus Nortje relinquished his lead for the day when he looked like he’d win.
“This was a little unexpected,” said Karmis, “but any win is the nicest win. I’m not too fussy about how it comes.”
He won the Investec Royal Swazi Open in May for his fourth Sunshine Tour title, and this second title of the year has set the 36-year-old who plays out of Clovelly in Cape Town has set himself up nicely for the year.
“I’m very pleased,” he said. “I’ve been working hard and I think I’m starting to be able to get into the mix and give myself a chance. Look, I was lucky today. Jake hit it in the hazard on the play-off hole, and also, I birdied the 18th to get into the play-off. That pin was just about in the bunker,” he laughed.
Asian Tour – Take Solutions Masters
Poom Saksansin of Thailand completed a convincing wire-to-wire victory after defeating home favourite Khalin Joshi by two shots at the inaugural TAKE Solutions Masters on Sunday.
The 24-year-old Poom never lost his lead on the last day as he returned with a four-under-par 67 to claim his second Asian Tour title with a winning total of 16-under-par 268 at the Karnataka Golf Association (KGA) Golf Course.
Joshi, who hails from Bengaluru and grew up playing golf at KGA, battled tooth-and-nail before settling for second place following a round of 67. Three bogeys in a round of seven birdies dashed his hopes for a first Asian Tour title.
Ajeetesh Sandhu (66) of India finished a further shot back in lone third place on 274 while Rory Hie of Indonesia, Divyanshu Bajaj and Abhinav Lohan of India settled for fourth at the US$300,000 Asian Tour event.
Poom’s lead was only briefly threatened when Joshi birdied his opening hole but the Thai held his nerve and claimed a sensational victory after posting five birdies.
EuroPro Tour - The Nokia Masters
Chris Lloyd moved a step closer to the coveted £250,000 prize with a record equalling third title win in a single season at the Nokia Masters at Mannings Heath Golf Club & Wine Estate.
Lloyd (The Kendleshire) fought off fierce competition in the form of Guy Woodman (ProAgenda.com) who scored a final round, and course record, of nine under par (63).
It wasn’t enough to stop Lloyd who collected nine birdies and just one bogey in a final round of eight under par (64).
“I’m delighted, it was a very exciting day. I knew if I got off to a quick start I might have a chance.”: said Lloyd, who wins £10,000 as well as a brand new Motocaddy S3 PRO electric trolley with lithium battery, Bushnell Pro X2 Range Finder and Bolle sunglasses.
Reflecting on his impressive final round of 64 he said: “My putting was key, in my previous two tour wins my putting won me the tournaments, after a change in clubs recently I went back to my old faithful this week and it certainly did the trick.”
Lloyd, who hit both the front and back nines in 32 respectively, started four shots behind tournament leader Andrew Cheese (Sutton Coldfield Golf Club) but finished seven ahead of him by the end.
Web.com Tour - Ellie Mae Classic at TPC Stonebrae
Martin Piller holed a 10-foot par putt on the 72nd hole for a final-round, 6-under 64 and his sixth career Web.com Tour victory Sunday at the Ellie Mae Classic at TPC Stonebrae. Piller’s 18-under 262 total bested Brandon Harkins by one shot to put the 31-year-old within one of Jason Gore on the Web.com Tour’s career victories list.
“That was intense. Brandon (Harkins) played really good, I mean really good. He didn’t really make a mistake all day,” Piller said. “But, man, it’s incredible. This year has been a really tough year. I missed four straight cuts in a row not too long ago. It just shows you how crazy this game is. Sometimes I wonder, like, ‘Why did I choose to be a golfer? Why couldn’t I have developed an app or something?’ But there are a lot of emotions right now, and I’m just proud.”
ProGolf Tour - Sierra Polish Open
With a birdie-birdie-finish and a new course-record in the final round German Nicolai von Dellingshausen secured himself not only the trophy of the Sierra Polish Open 2017, but also a direct promotion to the European Challenge Tour, on which he’s entitled to play from now on. Second rank goes to Scotsman Chris Robb ( -14), who needed one more stroke than the German.
Challenge Tour – Vierumäki Finnish Challenge
Paul Howard won his first European Challenge Tour title after the fourth round of the Vierumäki Finnish Challenge was cancelled following heavy rain in Finland.
The Englishman went into the final day with a two-shot lead after rounds of 68-65-66, but after torrential rain flooded the course at Vierumäki Resort, the decision was taken to reduce the tournament to 54 holes.
The 26 year old, who was only able to complete seven holes today, was emotional after Tournament Director Gary Butler broke the news that he was the champion.
“I am speechless,” he said. “I was very nervous starting my round this morning and although I played well those nerves didn’t really lift and I had just three-putted six and seven in the rain before play was called off – so it’s fair to say that I’m ecstatic that it has been cancelled.
“I didn’t get over the nerves but felt that I was managing the situation. It was torrential out there and I am not surprised that it got cancelled.
“I went to work in a call centre as I didn’t have any money after last season so this is massive – hopefully I won’t have to go back there anytime soon.
PGA Tour Canada – Syncrude Oil Country Championship presented by AECON
Kentucky’s Patrick Newcomb endured a marathon day of 38 holes at Windermere Golf and Country Club on Sunday, shooting a final round 4-under 66 then defeating Germany’s Max Rottluff in a playoff to win the Syncrude Oil Country Championship presented by AECON for his first Mackenzie Tour – PGA TOUR Canada win.
The 27-year old sank a curling 18-foot birdie putt on the fourth extra hole to become the first player to win on both the Mackenzie Tour and PGA TOUR Latinoamérica, where he captured the Honduras Open presented by Indura Beach and Golf Resort earlier this year.
“I came up here to win. A win really solidifies you and puts you in a good spot, and after three tough years, this has been the year for me to get to the Web.com Tour,” said Newcomb, who now ranks fifth on the Mackenzie Tour Order of Merit and eighth on PGA TOUR Latinoamérica.
Nordic Golf League - Made in Denmark - Presented by Egekilde
Sweden’s Ake Nilsson won the Made in Denmark which was reduced to 36 holes following bad weather.