It was quite the weekend for global golf. The professional tours had tournaments in California, Florida, Abu Dhabi and Singapore while the Latin American Amateur took place in the Dominican Republic. Three players punched tickets to the Masters, and a 31-year-old notched his first career PGA Tour victory.
First Time for Everything
Adam Long won the Desert Classic at PGA West over the weekend in just his 5th career PGA Tour event. At 31 years old, Long has battled the professional golf circuit on his way to the top. His previous best PGA Tour finish had been a tie for 63rd last fall, and he had missed each of his last four cuts.
While Adam Long has played on many tours over the last decade, his only professional victory came at a 2011 Hooters Tour event. Finally, he had a very solid 2018 Web.com campaign that included a runner-up and four other top-10 finishes, guaranteeing him a spot on the PGA Tour. He started the day three shots back of the lead, shot a final-nine 32 that featured two chip-ins, and emerged as the champion after a closing 65. He will play in his first majors since 2011 this season, and our guess is that he won’t have to go through Monday qualifying next week at Torrey Pines. Desert Classic Leaderboard
It would appear that Phil Mickelson has moved passed his poor performances last fall. He came out firing this weekend but fell to Long by one shot on Sunday. He was one-under on the front nine and was tied for the lead on 18, but Long’s 72nd-hole birdie put Lefty away. Phil is skipping the next couple of weeks but will return in Phoenix.
Other Leaderboard Notes
Desert Classic stud Adam Hadwin put up another great finish with his T-2 performance. The Canadian was in control on Sunday but played his last six holes in +1.
Taylor Gooch, captain of the giggle team, shot a final-round 64 to claim his first PGA Tour top 5. The Oklahoma State product played on tour last year but finished 139th in the FedExCup list.
Defending champion Jon Rahm had a very solid event but was never really in contention. He finished five shots back in 6th place.
The Sauce and The Juice
In case you missed last week’s newsletter, this new Monday segment is going to breakdown which lesser-known players from the previous event have “the sauce” and which have “the juice”.
Sauce – “The sauce is forever.” This was not a fluke. They’re here to stay. They have the game and you should start to take notice.
Juice – “The juice is temporary, anyone can obtain the juice.” We don’t believe they’ll be consistent members of leaderboards. They played fine this week, but don’t expect to see them on a regular basis.
Dominic Bozzelli – After tying for fifth in the desert this week, it appears that the Bozz has found his stride on the PGA Tour. He hasn’t finished better than 115th in the FedExCup either of the last two years but has two top-11 finishes on the 2018-2019 season. Bozzelli is great on and around the greens but needs to tighten it up off the tee just a little.
Wyndham Clark – While he is not off to the best of starts this season, Wyndham Clark is starting to round into form. He notched his first top 25 of the year at PGA West and is looking to compete for rookie of the year honors. Clark was a collegiate superstar at Oregon and notched four top-5 finishes last season on the Web.com Tour.
Adam Long – Listen, we are super happy for ALong. He has been grinding his butt off for the last few years and finally broke through for a life-changing moment this week. However, this kind of feels like catching lightning in a bottle. The win may inspire new confidence and allow him to play pressure-free, but we need to see more before completely buying in to his long-term stock.
Ending the Irish Famine
Shane Lowry birdied the final hole to capture his first win since 2015 at the European Tour’s season-opening Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. The big Irishman used an opening-round 62 to fuel a wire-to-wire win over Richard Sterne. Lowry’s win is all the more impressive considering the big names in the field, Louis Oosthuizen (4th), Ian Poulter (6th), Brooks Koepka (t9th) and Dustin Johnson (t16th). While he has been in contention many times in recent memory, Lowry’s victory in Abu Dhabi was his first win since the 2015 WGC Bridgestone.Final Leaderboard
Smooth Jazz Janewattananond shot a final-round 65 to win the SMBC Singapore Open and claim an exemption to The Open Championship. Leaderboard
Alvaro Ortiz (younger brother of PGA Tour player Carlos Ortiz) claimed another Masters invite over the weekend with his victory at the Latin American Amateur. Ortiz has three previous top-3 finishes at the event but finally punched his ticket to Augusta. Leaderboard
Eun Hee Ji outlasted Mirim Lee to capture the Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions on the LPGA this week. Leaderboard
The Latest Podcasts and Articles
Geoff Ogilvy Podcast Part II – Scotland, women’s golf and architecture, and challenging vs hard golf
Part two of the latest episode is live. Geoff and Andy talk about Geoff’s recent trip to Scotland and the allure of links golf. Geoff talks about the compelling aspects of women’s professional golf and how their game showcases the architecture. Then the two discuss the idea of challenging versus hard golf. Listen on iTunes, Stitcher and Spotify.
Shotgun Start: Long outlasts Lefty and “The First Major” campaign gets a notable advocate
It may be a day off for most of the USA, but the Shotgun Start is here to review the entire weekend of golf from across the globe. After watching Pat Mahomes put on ice and not even get a chance to touch the ball in OT, we discuss one of the worst tiebreaker formats in golf. Then we get to Adam Long’s big finish at the Desert Classic and Phil Mickelson’s big week trying to “crush drivers.” We discuss what that philosophy might mean for the rest of his year. Then we hit on the Euro Tour results with more questions about the validity of the Rolex Series, the Singapore Open and Dru Love’s strong finish that might just shut us up, and a stud prospect getting a Masters berth at the Latin America Amateur. We wrap with Brandel Chamblee advocating not for the usual four-major system but what he called “The Big 5 Events” and what this support means for Andy’s theory that the PGA Tour is slowly trying to brainwash us into accepting a First Major campaign. Listen on iTunes, Stitcher or Spotify