While we all batter away in the dour depths of a Scottish winter, the global golf scene offers the light escapism of the marginally more pleasant climes than a four-layer foray at Burntisland. Here’s a quick wrap up of what’s been happening here, there and everywhere …
World No 417 Adam Long birdied the final hole to capture his maiden PGA Tour title with a one-shot win at the Desert Classic in California on Sunday.
Three shots off the lead overnight, the 31-year-old American, in only his sixth tour event, carded a bogey-free seven-under-par 65 to finish on 26 under.
Phil Mickelson had led the event since an opening 60 and was two shots ahead going into the final round.
But he missed some short putts in his 69 to tie for second with Adam Hadwin. Scotsman Russell Knox finished on 16-under and shared 18th place.
LOWRY RISES TO THE TOP OF THE ORDER
Shane Lowry’s first win in three-and-a-half years in the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship on Saturday propelled him to the top of the European Tour’s Race to Dubai.
The Irishman pipped South Africa’s Richard Sterne to a first prize of over £900,000 as he rose to the summit of the tour’s order of merit while barging his way back into the world’s top 50.
Despite missing the cut in the desert, David Drysdale remains the top Scot on the money list at No 7. Scott Jamieson rises to 13th after finishing on the fringes of the top 10 in Abu Dhabi while Grant Forrest (37th) and Robert MacIntyre (43rd) are also in the leading 50. It’s on to Dubai this week for the Desert Classic.
JAZZ MAN GETS IN THE SWING
The delightfully named Jazz Janewattananond of Thailand hit the high notes with a sizzling six-under-par 65 to win the Singapore Open on Sunday. The 23-year-old carded seven birdies, including five on the front nine, to finish 18-under overall, two shots ahead of Japan’s overnight leader Yoshinori Fujimoto and world number 24 Paul Casey. Jazz’s win assured him of a place in July’s Open at Royal Portrush.
LEHMAN SHINES AMONG GOLDEN OLDIES
Tom Lehman overcame a four-shot deficit to win the season-opening event on the Champions Tour in Hawaii. The 59-year-old former Open champion closed with a seven-under 65 to reel in overnight leader David Toms, who three-putted the last to allow Lehman in for his 12th win in the over-50s ranks. Colin Montgomerie began his 2019 campaign with a sturdy seventh place finish.
PIN IN OR OUT? THAT IS THE QUESTION …
The tweaks and twiddles to the Rules of Golf have generated so much debate, it makes the Brexit negotiations look like a cheery game of rock, paper, scissors. With the game’s custodians giving the green light for players to leave the flag in when putting, the first competitive rounds of the season on the various tours have led to a variety of reactions.
Tommy Fleetwood: “It’s a little bit odd, isn’t it? But you grow up as a kid on the putting green just putting with the pin in and then scoop it out. We need a little scoop now at the bottom of the pins. It will make it more realistic. It’s going to be a trial-and-error thing. It might be the case after one tournament, I might just take the pin out or I might leave it in every time.”
Brooks Koepka: “It just feels weird when it’s in. In Hawaii the first few rounds it was out and the last round I putted a lot with it in, just to test it out. It feels weird from five feet. I’m going to pull it out. I don’t like it. I’ve gone my whole career with pulling the flag out so why are we going to switch it out now? I seem to have done all right with it out.”
Phil Mickelson: “I did [leave the pin in] and it felt very uncomfortable. I kind of eased into it thinking that if I hit it too hard it might hit the pin and miss, so I don’t think I’ll do that again.”
What do YOU think? Yes, you standing over a slippery eight-footer?
REVELATION OF THE WEEKEND
In an effort to bolster his competitive longevity, Colin Montgomerie has embarked on something of a health kick to usher in 2019.
“I’ve cut out – doctors orders – I’ve cut out the sugar,” revealed the 55-year-old in Hawaii. “And I’ve joined a pilates class.
“I mean – god – I mean, it’s interesting. The first hour of the first class I’m like, I’m not going back to this thing but then I did and I did and you know, I think I’m hitting the ball further than last year. Better ball flight through the air and I think that has got to do with the pilates.”
Monty at a pilates class? These truly are wonderful times …
SHOT OF THE WEEKEND
Of course he meant it. Senior Tour campaigner Jerry Kelly took the tourist route to an unlikely eagle at the weekend … and left his playing partners muttering “you jammy *@%#*$!…”
Are you kidding me?!
— PGA TOUR Champions (@ChampionsTour) January 20, 2019
Source : HeraldScotland