Morning 9: $15 million man | FedEx Cup finale…worked? | Roundup o’ winners

By Ben Alberstadt (ben.alberstadt@golfwrx.com; @benalberstadt on Instagram)

August 26, 2019

Good Monday morning, golf fans. Forget Rory McIlroy’s FedEx Cup payout: what does caddie/boyhood pal Harry Diamond going to buy with his million-dollar windfall?
1. 15 million dollar man
The AP’s Doug Ferguson…“Rory McIlroy won the FedExCup on Sunday when he surged past Brooks Koepka in the final round of the TOUR Championship at East Lake, and also earned the first-place check worth $15 million.”
  • “One shot behind, McIlroy took the lead with a three-shot swing on No. 7 and never let Koepka or Xander Schauffele catch him.”
  • “McIlroy closed with a 4-under 66 and finished four shots ahead of Schauffele.”
  • “He joined Tiger Woods as the only players to win the FedExCup twice since it began in 2007.”

Full piece.

2. Not perfect, but it worked
Golf Digest’s Joel Beall with his perspective (which is the emerging consensus) on the new FEC Playoff format…
  • “Unequivocally, the latest iteration of the FedEx Cup, with its new-fangled, stroke-adjusted start, was no lemon. The two best players in golf-Brooks Koepka and Rory McIlroy-were in the final pairing at the Tour Championship, with Xander Schauffele and Justin Thomas keeping things honest. The fusion of performance and popularity was a dream scenario for any Sunday, let alone the PGA Tour’s season finale.”
  • “Just as important, players ranked 10th to 20th heading into Thursday at East Lake, often left as spectators in previous FedEx Cup formats, were given a viable chance to compete under the new system.”
  • “There’s no insurance policy this week for anybody. The guys at the top, even guys middle of the pack, you’d have an insurance policy [before]. If you didn’t play well, it kind of didn’t matter [you still finished high in the final points standings],” said Paul Casey, one of those middle-of-the-pack guys who finished fifth. “[Now], the guys in the middle, guys down at the bottom have absolutely nothing to lose and everything to gain.”

Full piece.

3. No bogeys for Ko a trophy-holder maketh
Golfweek’s Beth Ann Nichols on Jin Young Ko’s Canadian Open outlasting of home favorite Brooke Henderson…
  • “…Ko, the first player to win four times in a season since Ariya Jutanugarn and Lydia Ko in 2016, didn’t even play a practice round at Magna Golf Club before Thursday’s opening round. Just nine holes in the Wednesday pro-am. And her veteran caddie, David Brooker, arrived in Canada on Wednesday evening. He walked the course on Thursday morning before Ko’s afternoon tee time.”
  • “Apparently practice rounds are overrated…Especially for a player who makes the game look so effortless. Even when Ko hit a 3-wood into the woods on the par-5 ninth, she still managed to get up and down and make par after taking an unplayable.”
  • “Ko hasn’t made a bogey on the LPGA in her last 106 holes. She became the first player since Inbee Park in 2015 to win a 72-hole tournament without a bogey.”

Full piece.

4. Hovland locks up PGA Tour card…
All credit to Boise Open winner Matthew NeSmith, but the biggest story out of the Idaho tournament: the reigning U.S. Amateur champ is heading to the PGA Tour.
  • Golf Channel’s Will Gray…”[Hovland] has been a frequent contender since turning pro in June, but he could only watch as fellow nascent pros Matthew Wolff and Collin Morikawa won tournaments this summer to quickly secure status. Hovland came close, finishing fourth at the regular season-ending Wyndham Championship, but he didn’t earn enough non-member FedExCup points to clinch membership for next season.”
  • “Instead, Hovland went to the three-event Korn Ferry Finals, where he tied for 11th last week and removed all doubt this week with a T-2 finish behind Matthew NeSmith at the Albertsons Boise Open. While Hovland couldn’t convert a 54-hole lead for his first win as a pro, the result moved him up to third in the Finals points list and ensured that he’ll receive one of 25 PGA Tour cards that will be handed out at next week’s finale in Evansville, Indiana.”
Full piece.
5. Van Rooyen!
EuropeanTour.com’s report on the bearded South African’s victory…”Erik van Rooyen birdied the last to overcome Matthew Fitzpatrick in a thrilling final day battle and win his first European Tour title at the Scandinavian Invitation.”
  • “The South African was last season’s European Challenge Tour Graduate of the Year and arrived at Hills Golf & Sports Club having finished second three times on the European Tour – twice on the 2019 Race to Dubai.”
  • “He entered the final day in Gothenburg with a one shot lead and was caught by Fitzpatrick and local hero Henrik Stenson but led by two at the turn and stretched that lead to three on the back nine.”

Full piece.

6. Freddie Falters
Sometimes, the headline is too good not to share. From Golf Digest’s John Strege: “Fred Couples’ Seattle homecoming goes awry, blows five-shot lead and loses to Brandt Jobe by six”
Pretty much says it all.
Strege: “It has been a long quest for Couples to win a professional tour event in the region and he has yet to do so, even after taking a five-stroke lead into Sunday’s final round of the Boeing Classic at the TPC at Snoqualmie Ridge about 25 miles west of Jefferson Park.”
“Couples, with a huge throng following him, shot a four-over par 76 and lost to Brandt Jobe, who closed with a nine-under par 63 for his second PGA Tour Champions victory.”

Full piece.

7. Booth a winner again (and she didn’t know it)
Heather Dewar at BBC Scotland…
“Scotland’s Carly Booth was “overwhelmed with happiness” after ending a seven-year wait for her third Ladies European Tour title with a one-shot victory in the Czech Open.”
  • “Booth, who shared the lead heading into the final round, carded a two-under-par 70 to finish on nine under par.”
  • …”I was so surprised,” said Booth, 27.
  • “I holed my par putt and came off the last hole and had no idea I had won. After seven years, to finally get another victory is amazing.”

Full piece.

8. Lightning strike victims out of hospital 
Golf Digest’s Joel Beall…”The people who were injured at East Lake Golf Club during Saturday’s lightning strike have been released from the hospital, the PGA Tour confirmed Sunday morning.”
“Though the third round of the Tour Championship was suspended at 4:17 p.m., many fans remained on property, seeking shelter in temporary hospitality tents. Dual lightning strikes hit the Atlanta course at 4:45 p.m. ET, one striking a tree by a fan zone near the 16th tee box. According to the Atlanta Police Department, five men and a girl who were under the tree were hit with debris.”

Full piece.

9. Welcome to the team!
Golfweek’s Beth Ann Nichols on the final Solheim Cup qualifiers on the U.S. side…”The race to clinch the final automatic qualifying spot on Juli Inkster’s Solheim Cup team couldn’t have finished any tighter. Projections indicated that Amy Olson needed to birdie the 72nd hole at the CP Women’s Open to edge Annie Park by the slimmest of margins.”
  • “Olson failed to convert and finished T-7 for the tournament, which made Park the fifth Solheim rookie to make Inkster’s team. Ultimately that last birdie putt might not have mattered for Olson as Nasa Hataoka birdied the last to move into a share of fifth with Carlota Ciganda. Olson needed to finish no worse than a two-way tie.”
  • “The two highest-ranked Americans in the Rolex Rankings not otherwise qualified after the Canadian stop made the cut….Angel Yin, a captain’s pick in 2017, joined Park in qualifying off the rankings.”
Full piece. 

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