Set the alarm clock, it’s Open Championship week. The final tickets to Royal Portrush were punched at the John Deere Classic and the Scottish Open on Sunday. Sei Young Kim won on the LPGA Tour, and Retief Goosen took home his first PGA Tour Champions major title.
As is customary at the John Deere Classic, we have a first-time PGA Tour winner. Dylan Frittelli shot 65-64 on the weekend to make up seven shots and win at TPC Deere Run. Frittelli started Sunday with three straight birdies and never looked back. He made just one bogey over 72 holes. Leaderboard
While Frittelli may not be a household name to casual golf fans, he has played some great golf over the past few years. A native of South Africa, Frittelli attended the University of Texas and won the 2012 NCAA Team Championship with Jordan Spieth and Kramer Hickok. Since then, he has plied his trade mostly in Europe. He broke through for his first European Tour wins in 2017 and has slowly worked his way up the Official World Golf Ranking. His John Deere win moves him inside the top 100 for the first time in his career and gets him within shouting distance of the international Presidents Cup team.
- The round of the tournament belonged to Russell Henley, who shot a Sunday 61 (!) to leap into solo second. Henley made 10 birdies and no bogeys on Sunday, jumping more than 80 spots in the FedEx Cup standings and securing his PGA Tour card for next season.
- Collin Morikawa continues to impress. The Cal standout shot 65-66 on the weekend and finished T-4 at TPC Deere Run. After his runner-up to Matthew Wolff last week, Morikawa has now earned his PGA Tour card for 2019-2020.
- Purdue product Adam Schenk continued his steady 2019 season with a T-6 this week. Schenk shot rounds of 67-65-66-70 to earn his third top 10 of the year.
- 20-year-old sensation Joaquín Niemann earned his third top 10 in his last four starts at TPC Deere Run. He played his final six holes in five under to earn the T-10.
- Viktor Hovland shot a final-round 64 to earn his fourth top-15 finish of the year. A couple more strong finishes and we might see him join Wolff and Morikawa as a PGA Tour member next season.
Feel the Bernd
Calm weather delivered low scores at the Renaissance Club, but it didn’t limit the drama on Sunday at the Scottish Open. Bernd Weisberger walked away with his second European Tour victory of the year after defeating Benjamin Herbert in a playoff. Herbert jumped to the clubhouse lead with a Sunday 62 before Weisberger shot 69 to join him for extra holes. The silver lining for Herbert is that his runner-up finish earned him a spot in the Open Championship. Leaderboard
But the story of the day was Andrew “Beef” Johnston’s 62, which vaulted him to fourth place. Last week, in a blog for the European Tour website, Beef opened up about his recent psychological struggles and his ongoing effort to get healthy. His post-round interview yesterday was a genuine tear-jerker. With his performance this week, Beef qualified for the Open.
TPC Colorado Championship
2019 has been a banner year for Nelson Ledesma. The 28-year-old from Argentina broke through for his first Korn Ferry Tour victory on Sunday, winning the TPC Colorado Championship with a birdie on the 72nd hole. Ledesma rose through the PGA Tour Latinoamérica circuit and has played very well this season. He now has a win and four other top-10 finishes to his credit, lifting him to fourth in the season-long points race. Get ready to see more of Nelson on the PGA Tour in 2020. Leaderboard
Sei Young Kim and Lexi Thompson put on a show for the Marathon Classic crowd this weekend. Kim ultimately pulled away on Sunday for a two-shot win, her second victory of the season. Leaderboard
Retief Goosen won the Senior Players Championship at Firestone Country Club on Sunday. The two-time U.S. Open champion shot 68 in the final round to top Jay Haas and Tim Petrovic by two shots. Leaderboard
A friendly reminder that Tyrell Hatton is really just a human being controlled by the Tasmanian Devil. Video
On the links
A weekly rundown of the golf journalism that caught our eyes last week…
- Alan Shipnuck, Golf Magazine
- Last Monday we missed the boat on Shipnuck’s excellent deep dive into Portrush’s complex history, but he was back at it again this week. This feature on Seve is deeply reported and beautifully written.
- Alistair Tait, Golfweek
- There will be a lot of articles about Open Championship venue Royal Portrush this coming week, but few will be as informative and revealing as Tait’s study of Martin Ebert, the architect brave enough to make the recent changes to the Harry Colt’s design.
- John Huggan, Golfworld
- This profile of swing coach Denis Pugh both portrays its subject precisely and touches on some of the important issues facing elite competitive golf today. We also got a kick out of imagining Huggan’s disgust when he discovered that an SEO-conscious Digest editor had employed the vulgar Americanism “British Open” in the headline for the article.
Yesterday we launched a new series on the website: Sunday Brunch. Basically, on occasional Sundays, we will publish creative golf stories that don’t fit the usual categories. Read more about the series here, and check out the first installment, Will Knights’s reflection on what chess has taught him about golf.
Reliving the past 11 years of Open Championships
We don’t want to jinx this year’s edition or anything, but the Open Championship has been clearly the best major in recent times. To get you pumped for Portrush, Will Knights takes you through the past 11 Opens, including last year’s melee at Carnoustie.
Shotgun Start: John Deere shootout, Firestone leaderboard bloodbaths, and early Portrush reviews
This Monday episode begins, apropos of nothing, with a story about Monty. Then we move to the heartland and weekend at the John Deere Classic. We discuss Dylan Frittelli’s career arc and the last player to win on Tour while wearing glasses. We also get into the JDC’s spot on the schedule and if it has been unfairly squeezed. We then move over the Scottish Open and the absolute pillowfight of a playoff, as well as one participant’s odd hat design. Beef Johnston’s last-minute qualification for The Open, as well as his recent disclosure that he’s been battling depression is discussed at length. The no-cut Senior Players meant there were going to be some big numbers at the bottom of the leaderboard, so we go fishing down there for some interesting stories and catch a few. To begin Open week, we go over some vocal critics of Tiger’s scheduling approach, Phil’s “reset” and consistently odd wardrobe, some early course intel at Portrush, and Brooksy perhaps feeling slighted by not being the betting favorite. Listen on iTunes, Stitcher or Spotify
During #linksSZN, conditions are unpredictable. Don’t leave the big dog exposed to the elements. Get a Fried Egg driver headcover from our pro shop today.