The tax deadline extension really put a damper on this introduction. We don’t have any lame jokes to make. Check back in May.
Guess who’s back
You know what’s great about the LPGA Tour? There’s almost certain to be a big name contending or an interesting storyline developing on a weekly basis. Through 36 holes, this week’s Lotte Championship features a resurgent Lydia Ko, 19-year-old Yuka Saso, smooth-swinging Nelly Korda, and U.S. Women’s Amateur champion Rose Zhang. Leaderboard
We’re especially interested to see whether Lydia Ko can end her victory drought this week. At 23 years old, Ko has 15 LPGA Tour wins, yet she hasn’t won in nearly three years. Recently, though, she’s been on a hot streak. With seven top 10s in her last nine events and a record-setting final round at the ANA Inspiration, she has been looking more and more like the player who topped the Rolex Rankings before her 18th birthday. Last year, she nearly won the Marathon LPGA Classic before handing the tournament to Danielle Kang on the last hole. Still, Ko is back to No. 11 in the world and looks like a good bet to break through this week.
Well, that’s one way to do it
The usual way to take the lead in a PGA Tour event is to play well tee to green and get hot with the putter. While Cam Smith drove the ball decently yesterday at Harbour Town Golf Links, his approach play was below average. Instead, Smith relied on his short game and putting. He gained seven strokes on the field in those areas, finishing with a 62 and a one-shot lead at the RBC Heritage. Leaderboard
To put Cam Smith’s Thursday performance in context, there have been more than 3,000 rounds in the past 15 years where a player finished in the bottom half of the field in Strokes Gained: Approach. The average score in those rounds was 72.3 (via Justin Ray).
Is Smith likely to prop himself up with just his short game for four days? Probably not. But the young Aussie has better iron skills than he showed on Thursday, so don’t be surprised if he stays in contention the rest of the week.
Cam Smith’s chasers include Matt Wallace (65), Collin Morikawa (65), Billy Horschel (66), Daniel Berger (67), and Corey Conners. Stewart Cink, a few days after his T-12 at the Masters and a month before his 48th birthday, is one shot back after firing a 63.
High winds wrecked many Thursday scorecards at the MGM Resorts Championship on the Korn Ferry Tour. Kevin Dougherty was not one of the victims. Dougherty made two eagles on his closing nine en route to a 66 and a two-shot lead. Leaderboard
Alejandro Cañizares leads the Austrian Open on the European Tour through one round. Martin Kaymer, Nicolai Hojgaard, and Thomas Detry are in close pursuit. Leaderboard
As we mentioned in Wednesday’s newsletter, Harbour Town spent thousands of dollars to bring in cranes to hold additional driving-range netting at the RBC Heritage. The goal was to prevent balls from flying into golf holes, a volunteer tent, and houses. It turns out that players are still able to carry the crane nets. Full Story from Shane Ryan
The PGA Tour announced that a sportsbook will open at TPC Scottsdale. What pairs better with drunk golf fans out in the sun than a place to lose their money? Full Story by Stephen Hennessey
Pepperdine completed a sweep of the Western Intercollegiate at Pasatiempo on Wednesday. Joe Highsmith won the individual title in a playoff, while the Waves took the team title by 11 shots over Stanford. Results
Muirfield Village Golf Club released a PDF of its renovations since July of 2020.
The Latest from The Fried Egg
Registrations for our two July events open today! The Jagger at Seth Raynor’s Blue Mound will be held on July 19, and we’ll be at Charles Alison’s Davenport Country Club on July 26 for The Big Muddy. Both events will open for signups at 12 p.m. ET today!
Where to Play Your USGA Qualifier, Part 2 – Looking to try your luck at a senior, junior, or four-ball USGA qualifier this summer? Meg Adkins lets you know where you should play. Also check out Meg’s article on qualifiers for the Opens and Amateurs.
Shotgun Start: Pepperdine facts, Mother’s Day gifts, and Flashback Friday PGA whetting
It’s Friday and there is no script. Andy and Brendan begin with some thoughts on the first ever non-profit casino being built at TPC Scottsdale. Then there are some Mother’s Day gift ideas, like “tournament-used hazard water” on offer from TPC Sawgrass. The event of the week, the Western Intercollegiate, is reviewed, leading to some “bones to pick” with college coaches slowing down pace of play and the kerfuffle over the conclusion preempting first round LPGA coverage. There’s also a quiz on the Pepperdine basketball program. The ridiculous efforts and costs, borne by the local tournament and its charity efforts, to heighten the range net at Harbour Town are excoriated. Brittany That’s Amore’s charge, as well as Lydia Ko also potentially ending her drought, are discussed on the LPGA. The frigid conditions and schnitzel consumption of the Austrian Open are noted. Precision Pro Flashback Friday closes with a look back at an absolutely brutal day the last time a major was played at Kiawah, as well as some lofty prognostications for the Prince of Ponte Vedra. Listen on iTunes, Stitcher, and Spotify.
Did you accidentally go too far with your spring cleaning and end up with empty rooms? Fill them with prints from our photography collection! Shop photos from Kiawah, Pasatiempo, Winged Foot, and much more!