Good morning. For the first weekend in October, we have a lot of golf to talk about. Like an overwhelming amount. Let’s get started.
García con pollo
Sergio García, remember him? Turns out he’s still pretty good at golf. The 2017 Masters champion won the Sanderson Farms Championship, his first PGA Tour victory since that day at Augusta National. Tied for the lead heading into the final round, he shot a 67 to win by one shot over Peter Malnati. García capped it off with a dramatic approach on the 72nd hole. Sanderson Farms Championship Results
While he has won on other tours since his Masters triumph, we haven’t seen Sergio’s best in a good long while. Just last week, we included a note in this very newsletter that he had fallen outside the top 50 in the world for the first time in nine years. Apparently he took offense. García made headlines this week by putting with his eyes, but he won the tournament with his driver and irons. He gained more than 12.5 strokes tee-to-green, nearly four shots better in that stat than the next closest competitor. At 40 years old, Sergio appears to have plenty left in the tank.
There is no better way to get your first Korn Ferry Tour top 10 than to win the whole damn thing. Evan Harmeling entered the Savannah Golf Championship 114th on the KFT points list and 636th in the Official World Golf Ranking. He proceeded to reel off rounds of 64-67-67-69, birdie the 72nd hole, and defeat Kevin Dougherty in a playoff. Savannah Golf Championship Results
If you’ve never heard of Evan Harmeling, you’re not alone. A 32-year-old Princeton graduate, he turned pro in 2012 and has never played a PGA Tour event. He earned his Korn Ferry Tour card by finishing fourth on the PGA Tour Latinoamérica Order of Merit last year, but he has struggled to find his footing this year. After this week, though, Harmeling suddenly has the PGA Tour in his sights.
A heartwarming Harmeling story from Monday Q Info: last year on the PGA Tour Latinoamérica, he made a hole-in-one, won a car, and gave it to his Argentine caddie, who had been taking four hours’ worth of buses to get to and from the course that week.
There’s a new “Two Gloves” in town. Five shots back going into Sunday at the Scottish Open, Aaron Rai, a 25-year-old from England, posted a 64 and beat Tommy Fleetwood in a playoff at the Renaissance Club. This is Rai’s second European Tour victory. Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open Results
Rai turned pro at 18 and now has five wins across the Challenge and European tours. He had a rough stretch in 2019 but has made every cut since the European Tour’s return in July and nearly won at the Irish Open last week. Add Aaron Rai’s name to the list of up-and-coming Euros—Rasmus Højgaard, Sam Horsfield, Robert MacIntyre, and Romain Langasque, among others—to keep an eye on.
Mel Reid put on a dominant performance at the ShopRite LPGA Classic for her first career LPGA Tour victory. The 33-year-old veteran has six wins on the Ladies European Tour. If you haven’t read Reid’s piece with Athlete Ally, take a moment to learn more about her journey as a gay athlete. ShopRite LPGA Classic Results
Out in Colorado, the Country Club of Woodmoor has cooked up a curious event to end the golf season. See some of the pin positions from the club’s Heaven and Hell Tournament.
Top-ranked amateur Takumi Kanaya entered the professional ranks over the weekend. The 22-year-old has already made a cut at a major championship (2019 Masters) and finished third at the Australian Open last winter.
Peter Malnati surged to the clubhouse lead at the Sanderson Farms Championship with a Sunday 63 but ultimately fell a shot short. He finished over an hour before Sergio and sweated out the afternoon by hanging out on the lawn with his family.
Keegan Bradley earned his first top-five finish on the PGA Tour in more than a year with a T-4 at the Sanderson.
Needing a strong finish to earn his PGA Tour card, Will Zalatoris missed the cut in Mississippi. He’ll turn to sponsor exemptions as he seeks PGA Tour membership.
The Latest from the Fried Egg
Shotgun Start: Sergio’s Chicken Championship, Waterlogged Westy, and the Little Engine
After assessing the triumphs and ruins of another NFL Sunday, Brendan (begrudgingly) and Andy go into Sergio Garcia’s impressive win to rocket up the Courier Cup standings. They hit on the aesthetics of his win, his career earnings to date, why he’s playing the Sanderson, and how it could not have gone any better for the event. Peppy Peter Malnati is also given some time as the potential foil. At the Scottish Open, the deadpan Aaron Rai is given props for his two-gloved win at Renaissance. Rob Rock’s bumbling also prompts the question of whether the massive increase in purse size for the week had players uptight. And they also weigh in on the debate about waterlogged Lee Westwood getting the benefit of having his shots filmed for future search parties. Evan Harmeling is anointed as a great new character in golf after they learn some Harmeling facts following his KFT win. In news, they hit on the breathless Augusta agronomy coverage, Takumi Kanaya turning pro, and the absolutely incredible origin story of Tom Kim’s name. Listen on iTunes, Stitcher, and Spotify.