In today’s PGW Daily Roundup, Fred Couples puts together a tremendous performance the week before the U.S. Senior Open, Rory McIlroy is having trouble finding a new putter, the LPGA has another new #1, and Justin Thomas had a much better performance on Twitter than he did on the course.
Couples’ Front Nine Surge Leads To Champions Tour Victory
On Sunday, we were all reminded of something by 15-time PGA Tour winner Fred Couples: when his back holds up, he is really good.
The 57-year-old Couples used a blistering start to overtake the field in Madison, Wisconsin and win the American Family Insurance Championship, setting himself up well with the U.S. Senior Open coming up this week. It was the 13th career Champions Tour victory for Couples, who has played in just seven events this season due to his notoriously bad back.
Beginning the day in fourth place, Couples birdied six of his first 11 holes to shoot a bogey-free six-under 66, propelling him to a two-stroke victory over Scott Verplank.
- Beginning his final round three shots behind 36-hole leader Paul Broadhurst, Couples sprinted out of the gate, and after birdies on six of his first 11 holes, he suddenly held a four-stroke lead. From there, Couples parred each of his last seven holes, allowing him to hold off Scott Verplank, Joe Durant, and Steve Stricker.
- The win was Couples’ second of the 2017 season. In just seven Champions Tour events this season, Couples has six top-10s, all inside the top six. His other start was a T13. He also finished T18 at The Masters, which he has a lifetime exemption for due to his 1992 Augusta triumph.
- Couples ranked second in the field in driving distance for the week (288.7 yards), while hitting 81% of his greens in regulation.
- Couples leads the Champions Tour in scoring average and is now third in the Schwab Cup Money List.
“Well, I honestly, on this tour I feel like I can still win, but we’ve got guys that practice really, really hard out here and they’re 52, 55, 60. I just don’t have the body to do that. So where I miss is when I get on a little roll, I don’t know how long it will really last.”
McIlroy Shots 64 With Third Putter in Three Days
World No. 3 Rory McIlroy switched to a brand new putter, the TaylorMade Spider Tour Red, for last week’s U.S. Open.
McIlroy struggled badly on the greens at Erin Hills, a primary reason why he shot 78-71 and missed the cut. After more flat-stick troubles during his first round 67 at the Travelers Championship on Thursday, Rory said he would be giving the new putter one more week to make him a believer.
However, after a 3-over 73 on Friday, he changed his mind and ditched the Spider Red completely, using a different putter for his third round 70. That putter too, was short-lived, as Rory used another new putter on Sunday, but this time the results were much better, as he shot his lowest round of the year, a 6-under 64. He finished in a tie for 17th place.
- Rory McIlroy has had trouble finding a new putter, using three different putters over his last three rounds at the Travelers Championship.
- McIlroy looked much better on Sunday than he did with different putters each of the previous two days, shooting a final round six-under 64. Despite the score, however, he still was negative (albeit just barely) in strokes gained: putting. Most of his Sunday damage came from leading the field in strokes gained: off-the-tee and hitting 17 of 18 greens in regulation.
- Rory used a TaylorMade TP Mullen in round three, before switching to a more familiar blade style on Sunday. McIlroy was non-committal about the putter after the tournament, saying he was “not so sure” if he was going to keep using it.
“I couldn’t have done any worse than what I’ve done in the first three days. So I just wanted to mix it up and go back to something that looked a little more familiar. That style of head or that head shape I’ve had the most success with. So I went back to that today to see if I could conjure up any good feelings and it felt pretty good.”
So Yeon Ryu Wins in Arkansas, Captures #1 World Ranking
Two weeks ago, women’s golf had its first new No. 1 in 85 weeks when Ariya Jutanugarn overtook Lydia Ko at the top. Now, just two weeks later, there is another new top dog.
This time, it’s 26-year-old South Korean So Yeon Ryu, who became the LPGA’s first multiple-tournament winner of 2017, after she captured the Wal-Mart NW Arkansas Championship by two strokes.
The win comes just one week before the LPGA is set to tee off at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, the second major of the year.
Ryu’s other 2017 win was at the ANA Inspiration, the first LPGA major of the season.
- Reportedly uncomfortable with her five-stroke lead heading into Sunday’s final round at the Wal-Mart NW Arkansas Championship, Ryu shot a two-under 69 to win by two strokes over Amy Yang and Moriya Jutanugarn. Ryu built the large lead with a first round 65 and a second round 61.
- Despite being 16 events into the LPGA season, Ryu is the Tour’s first multiple-tournament winner on the season.
- Unless another “bug” changes things, the win will vault Ryu to #1 in the world rankings, her first time in the top spot. Ariya Jutanugarn, who didn’t play this week, will drop to #2, with Lydia Ko the new #3 after a T25 in Arkansas.
- Ryu has nine top-10s in just 11 events this year. The Wal-Mart victory comes one tournament after a surprise missed cut at the Shoprite Classic earlier this month.
“I can still see a bit of things to work on, but I’m glad to win the tournament and I’m ready to play another major next week.”
–So Yeon Ryu
Justin Thomas Wins on Twitter Over Weekend
Coming off a high finish at the U.S. Open, which included a record-setting 63 in the third round, Justin Thomas had a surprisingly poor showing at the Travelers Championship in Cromwell, Connecticut, shooting 73-72 and missing the cut by five strokes.
One place where Thomas certainly did not struggle this weekend, however, was on Twitter, where he twice made positive news. On Saturday, he hilariously vanquished a twitter troll who called Thomas a derogatory name and then told him to “suck it up”. Then on Sunday, Thomas called Jordan Spieth’s winning playoff hole-out just before it happened.
- Justin Thomas had a miserable first two rounds at the Travelers Championship, missing the cut by five strokes after hitting just 11 of 28 fairways. It was an anomalous showing for Thomas, who has three wins on the season, and leads the tour in birdie average.
- Thomas made news off the course on Saturday, making quick work of a twitter troll who told him to stop making excuses. The troll claimed to have gotten badly sunburnt playing 18 holes the previous day, but was still sucking it up, telling Thomas he had 10 beers on the day, but was still +5 through three holes. Thomas responded with three points, telling him that he “deserved it” for not putting sunscreen on, questioning whether the man had a drinking problem, and then telling him that he appears to be bad at golf.
- Thomas went on to make twitter news on Sunday as well. As Jordan Spieth was getting ready to take a shot out of a greenside bunker on the first playoff hole, Thomas posted, “Wouldn’t be surprised if @JordanSpieth just holed this bunker shot”. Spieth then holed the bunker shot. Thomas then proceeded to tell Spieth “you’re welcome”.
1. You kind of deserve it for not putting sunscreen on
2. You may have a drinking problem
3. You also appear to be bad at golf https://t.co/60eHDcyHEG
— Justin Thomas (@JustinThomas34) June 24, 2017
Wouldn't be surprised if @JordanSpieth just holed this bunker shot
— Justin Thomas (@JustinThomas34) June 25, 2017