Sam Burns, a 24-year-old LSU All American from Shreveport defanged the Copperhead course at Innisbrook Golf & Spa Resort to win his first PGA TOUR title, the Valspar Championship, outplaying Keegan Bradley by 3 with a full bag of Callaway clubs and ball.
Speaking of first-timers, Canadian Mike Weir won his first PGA Champions Tour title at the Insperity Invitational. A special shout-out to John Daly and Tim Petrovic on their second-place finish. Both Tim & John were playing Tour Edge clubs at Woodlands in Houston, Texas.
It was three for three this week, when Frenchman Paul Barjon captured his first Korn Ferry Tour win at the beautiful Mike Hurdzan designed Ledges Golf Club in Huntsville, Alabama on the third playoff hole.
In Singapore at the Sentosa Golf Club, Hyo Joo Kim snagged her fourth LPGA title in the HSBC Women’s World Championship by one stroke.
Could you hear the roar of the crowds for Rory as he clinched his third win at Quail Hollow in Charlotte, N.C. during the Wells Fargo Championship, playing a full bag of Taylor Made clubs and TP5X ball and celebrating his 32nd birthday on Cinco-de-Mayo. Czech-German Alex Cejka won the Regions Tradition at the beautiful Greystone Golf & Country Club in Denham Springs, Louisiana by defeating Steve Stricker on the first playoff hole for his first win(a major no less) on the PGA Champions Tour in only his third start. In Thailand, home-grown and emotional Ariya Jutanugarn won the Honda LPGA Thailand. On the Korn-Ferry Tour, it was Austin Smotherman winning at the Greg Norman-designed Grove in the Simmons Bank Open for the Snedeker Foundation.
The Seminole Golf Club in Juno Beach, Fl. hosted this year’s 48th edition of the Walker Cup. Considered the #1 golf course in Florida, the revered design by Donald Ross in 1929 with a rating of 73.8 and a slope of 145, stretching out to 6836 yards matches Pinehurst #2 as one of his greatest. The United States was again victorious over the amateurs from the British Isles. This is the first time any golf match at Seminole was shown to the public, allowing those of us who don’t have the gelt to golf there a view of the magnificent layout.
Kyoung Hoon Lee is on his way to Kiawah, after earning his first PGA TOUR win at the AT&T Byron Nelson played at the Tom Weiskopf-designed TPC Craig Ranch in Texas. Dicky Pride found his first success on the Champions Tour at the Mitsubishi Electric Classic which was contested at the Greg Norman-designed TPC Sugarloaf near Atlanta, Ga. And at age 48, Richard Bland finally captured his first European PGA Tour at the Belfry taking the title of the Brtish Masters in a playoff. It’s good to be a winner especially a first-timer.
Arthur Hills, the prolific Golf Course Architect who put his indelible stamp on Florida Golf for many years during the heyday of the real estate boom, has passed at 91. I met Arthur in Naples at an opening of a WCI development in the early 2000’s, and we quickly hit it off. After that encounter, I was always invited to the openings of his great designs throughout Florida. Pete Dye named Arthur “The Mayor of Naples” because of the many courses he designed and built there. Arthur typically spent his winters in Naples while maintaining his Toledo, Ohio office. He was a gentle soul, a good friend with over 200 courses to his name.
I didn’t see that coming. A win for the aged 50-year-old Phil Mickelson at the 103rd PGA Championship at the Kiawah Island Ocean course is truly remarkable. The Pete Dyeabolical design tested the best in the game and the recent PGA Tour Champions winner, Lefty, prevailed with smart play and calming meditation and a full set of Callaway clubs and golf ball. Can you remember Payne Stewart at Pinehurst clutching Phil’s face in 1999 and telling him ‘his time would come.’ My memory harkened back to that day, and felt Phil got his place in the history books after his 6th major. Congratulations and Well Played!
Wei-Ling Hsu from Taiwan won the LPGA TOUR’s Pure Silk Championship for the 26-year-old’s first victory on Kingsmill’s James River course near historic Williamsburg, Virginia. On the Korn Ferry Tour, 24-year-old Wake Forest grad Cameron Young went wire-to-wire at the Blue Hills Country Club in Kansas City, Mo. to capture his first victory.
Congratulations to the University of Mississippi Women’s Golf Team for winning the NCAA 2021 Women’s Collegiate Championship. It is the first national championship in women’s sports ever for Ole Miss. Amy Ewing, a Mississippi State alum, won the Bank of Hope LPGA Match Play defeating Sophia Popov for her 2nd win on the Tour at Shadow Creek in Las Vegas.
Jason Kokrak has won the Charles Schwab Challenge at Fort Worth’s Colonial Country Club outlasting hometown favorite Jordan Spieth to claim the tartan jacket and his second win on the PGA TOUR. Coincidently, he garnered his first win at Shadow Creek. Jason also received the keys to a Schwab Power Wagon, a customized restored 1946 vintage, the same year the tournament was played for the first time at Colonial. I interviewed Jason at Valspar where he told me his game was a work in progress. Good progress Jason!
On the PGA Tour Champions, it was another major win for Alex Cejka at the KitchenAid Senior Championship held at the beautiful Southern Hills CC in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Congrats again Alex.
Summertime is here and golf courses have been making improvements, rounds are up, and the game is still a safe way to social distance while enjoying great weather and course conditions, so GO PLAY!
David J. Daubert, GWAA, ING, USGA