The big news of a short week came from… well, let’s first explain the short week. Three major tours were in action this week, with Linksland Golf in Dundonald, Heathland Golf in St Andrews and good old Scottish transplant Golf in Detroit. The LPGA/Ladies European Tour joined forces at the Scottish Open, while the DP World Tour played at Fairmont over St. Andrews linksland. Finally, the US PGA Tour returns to the Detroit Golf Club, designed by Dornoch native Donald Ross.
In expected news (a.k.a. this morning), Luke Donald’s accompanying sincerity has put him at the top of the shortlist to replace the former captain of the European Ryder Cup team. An official announcement should come as you read this Tour. As an added bonus, we have a report from the USGA boys National Junior for two reasons. We will describe them in detail at the end of this part of the review
PGA Tour: Finau claims back-to-back wins with hellacious performance
If Tony Finau had a better sense of timing, he would have made a unique streak over the course of four rounds at Detroit, Rock City. Finau posted a 64-66-65-67 at Motown to shuffle to a five-stroke victory. Round-mate Taylor Pendrith of Canada had a shot in the straight, level with Finau after 64-65-66 of his own. Unfortunately for Pendrith, Sunday brought three birdies, three bogeys and twelve pars. He fell just short to a tie with Cameron Young and Patrick Cantlay for second place.
When things that have been obscured for so long become apparent, we wonder how we never noticed them before. Such is the case with Finau’s penchant for winning golf tournaments. Despite Presidents Cup and Ryder Cup appearances for Team USA, Finau’s first win came in 2016. It would be half a decade before he won again in 2021. Now he’s won in back-to-back weeks and we wonder if he’ll lead table for 2021-2022
On Sunday, Finau had three birdies in the first ten holes to take Pendrith out of the equation and set his sights on the finish line. A bogey at eleven gave him pause, but he regrouped and added three more shots in the closing stretch. Cantlay jumped three places ahead with his 66, and Young moved up from third with his own 67. The week and the day, however, belonged to the man from Utah. It’s time for Dougie.
Time for Dougie? pic.twitter.com/jvGZVZcF1f
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) July 31, 2022
LPGA/Women’s European Tour: Furu’s staggering 62 lifts to title
We are lucky enough to witness brilliance a few times each calendar season. When held on the last day, their magic is more palpable and evident than on other days. Japan’s Ayaka Furu had never won on the big stage before this week. After opening with rounds of 69-68-68, she sat four shots behind the confident Celine Bouthier, who looked nothing short of a winner after her 65-69-67.
Then came Sunday, a day that changed the arc of Furue’s career. Ten birdies topped eight pars on her card and she calmly shot past all challengers to reach the top of the leaderboard. That ataraxia was evident throughout her tour of the course, as Fourue escaped back-to-back birdies on six holes to round the turn. She closed with three over her final four holes to move three shots ahead of Boutier.
French golfers were left to wonder what more she could do. Her 69 was a solid leadoff score and left teammate Lydia Ko (71) in the dust. Alas, such are the whims of the golf gods. On to Muirfield, where the venerable links will host the British Open for the first time.
Record the course?
First LPGA Tour win?
— LPGA (@LPGA) July 31, 2022
DP World Tour: Crocker hero of Hero Open
As if the Furue and Finau shows weren’t fascinating enough, we present the following little piece of evidence to the jury. Consider a Zimbabwean-turned-Californian named Sean Crocker. After a collegiate career at USC (Cali’s version), Crocker began a professional career. He never played on the US PGA Tour, preferring to ply his trade overseas. Over five seasons, the socialite learned the ways of the tours until one glorious Sunday in July at St Andrews.
No, not Cameron Smith. He is Australian. Zimbabwe, we said. Crocker took the lead into the final round of the HERO open at St Andrews and showed guts and guile to record a 68 on day four. Crocker put up five birdies against a solitary bogey in the final round, then held his breath when the seething Eddie Pepperell, a massive voice of humor and reason, nearly chased him down.
A resurgent Pepperell signed for a 65 after eight birdies of his own. Does it cost him the ninth hole bogey? Mathematically, yes. Logically not. Pepperell wasn’t close at dawn, but he made his way into the race and almost to the top. However, this story is about Crocker, and it’s about time he claimed a victory of his own. With a gutsy six-footer at the end, Crocker made it happen.
Winning your first Tour title at St Andrews ???????
— DP World Tour (@DPWorldTour) July 31, 2022
USGA: Ding holds off Surratt to claim USGA China title
How much of a lead is enough is a question common golfers are often asked. Could you score a tour win with a 15 stroke lead. The answer is always “No” because average golfers are average in every way. Wenyi Ding is no ordinary golfer. He is quite talented. We know this because he reached the final of the Junior Championship at Bandon Dunes. Ding faces Caleb Surratt, a golfer from South Charlotte who was enjoying an excellent golf championship in 2022. The final promised to be epic, and indeed it was.
Ding was down two after three holes but came back to take a three-hole lead at lunch midway through the scheduled 36-hole final. After ten holes of the afternoon session, oddsmakers would bet against the match reaching the twelfth tee. Ding added five holes to his lead and remained eight-over when the pair reached the 11th tee.
Surratt was not finished. He won one-two-three-four-five holes in succession to cut the legs out from under Ding. With so much momentum on his side, recovery seemed plausible and achievable. Alas, it was not to be. Neither Surratt nor Ding provided any sparks on the 33rd hole of the day, and when they halved in par fours, the week, the day and the match were over. Ding became the first male golfer from China to secure a USGA title.
Shine in Bandon!
— USGA (@USGA) July 31, 2022