And so, we have five tournaments to report! 2022 is only three weeks old, but it may have laid out a blueprint for how different courses could stage week-long golf celebrations. What’s that? The Korn Ferry event in the Bahamas ran from Sunday through Wednesday, and the Tour Champions event ran from Thursday through Saturday. It’s unique and nice for golf fans to know that certain courses will decide things on a different day each week. In fact, there are logistics to work out, and certainly the availability of fans is higher during the weekend. Still, it represents fresh thinking about how the universe of golf could evolve, as the universe of golf evolves. For many, the week felt like Santiago Tarrío at the moment below, but still, fast forward, to the first full-course Tour Rundown of 2022.
— Gira mundial DP (@DPWorldTour) January 23, 2022
PGA Tour: American Express
Hudson Swafford had experience closing deals in the California desert. He won his first PGA Tour event on these courses five years ago. He escaped Adam Hadwin by a hit that year. Now a more experienced competitor, Swafford lit up the back nine of Pete Dye’s Stadium Course. In fact, he didn’t par until the 18th hole. Fortunately for Big Hud, the first eight holes of the inside half included five birdies and an eagle. Two bogeys served to make the goal more even than this year.
Lee Hodges and Paul Barjon led the event after 54 holes but, as neither had experience with this kind of pressure, they both fell on the front nine. Barjon dropped to 10th place after posting +1 over the last 18 holes. Hodges had 70 on day four, retaining a top-five finish.
Brian Harman equaled Swafford’s Sunday 64 and, for a while, held out hope that he could take victory number 3 of the tour. Ultimately, he finished 3 behind the winner and 1 behind second place, tied with Hodges and Lanto Griffin, who quickly closed. Tom Hoge posted a second straight 68 to claim second place over the third place trio.
— PGA GIRA (@PGATOUR) January 24, 2022
DP World Tour: Abu Dhabi Championship
It hasn’t been a good week for the overnight leaders (reference Els below) on the world’s major golf tours. Scott Jamieson had carried the weight of being the favorite since his start of 63, and the load finally wore him down. Four bogeys in his first five holes on Sunday took him to 40, and two more coming home demanded a score of 77 on his card, to finish in 10th place. Jamieson’s adversity paved the way for the championship table and several players went to great lengths to reserve a seat.
Kicking himself (and not Delta Airlines) is Viktor Hovland. The Norwegian finished within two shots of a tiebreaker on day four, despite scoring a triple and a double bogey on his final round card. Hovland opened the week with 64, but never felt balanced the rest of the way. He tied for fourth with a blast from the past, Victor Dubuisson. The Frenchman hadn’t contended for a victory in quite some time, and closing with birdie for minus eight was exciting.
Rafa Cabrera-Bello and Shubhankar Sharma closed well to tie for second place at nine under par. Each birdied the last to be promoted to the runner-up station, but each was undone by an earlier late bogey. Appropriate for the week was the plus one marker, nine behind the winner. Thomas Pieters recorded eight pars and a bogey on his way home. As the competition collapsed around him, those numbers were enough to give the Belgian his second title in three months. Pieters led by three in one stage on Sunday, but the yas links I found a way to make this event a nail biter. Nothing in Pieters’ game suggests he’s not one of the top 20 players in the world, except the number of titles. Abu Dhabi was his sixth on the European Tour overall, and it could finally herald the breakout season we’ve anticipated since turning pro last decade.
— Gira mundial DP (@DPWorldTour) January 23, 2022
LPGA: Tournament of Champions
Danielle Kang recorded four rounds in the ’60s, the only player to do so in the Tournament of Champions. Fittingly, she won the tournament. World No. 1 Nelly Korda was also three rounds under 70 on the books heading into Sunday, while Brooke Henderson and others milled around the waiting room, looking for a spot.
The first to jump was Gaby López. Birdies five through seven took the young Lopez to first place, but four bogies against a birdie on her way home relegated her to third place alone. Brooke Henderson, like Kang and Korda, a member of the three 60 club, played a solid final round, with no bogies. The Canadian was able to muster just two birdies on the day, and her 70 left her two shots shy of the champion.
What did Danielle Kang do on Sunday? He survived the front nine with two birdies against a bogey, then caught fireworks on the inside half, with four birdies from five holes. Evan a bogey on the 16th hole was not enough to derail his train, and he finished with 68 on the day, the bottom round of the final rotation. The victory was Kang’s sixth on the tour and his first since August 2020.
– LPGA (@LPGA) January 23, 2022
Korn Ferry Tour: The Bahamas GEC is Bhatia’s first major pro win
If you attended the first two days of the Grand Exuma Classic, and especially if you competed, you’d be justified in asking what exactly happened on the weekend. Although the leader sat down at minus seven, everyone who was 11 shots worse still made the cut. Strange things were happening in the Bahamas, and they got even stranger over the weekend. England’s Harry Hall led all 36 holes but seemed to be the only one struggling on Saturday and Sunday. Hall dropped three shots to par from the old lady and flopped to a tie for 19th.
A series of challengers emerged, led by Corey Shaun and his Saturday 64. As soon as he went up, Shaun also stumbled, closing out with 72 and a tie for third. AJ Crouch jumped from 23rd to 6th on Sunday with a 65, the biggest jump and tied for the lowest round of the day. It was the other 65, published by Akshay Bhatia, that will resonate for some time. Bhatia, the college avoider through the pro ranks, birdied three of his last four holes to leave Paul Haley II in only second place. Haley closed 67-67-68, but unraveled with his 74 start. He’s still not guaranteed a spot on the 22-23 PGA Tour, but young Akshay did a lot to move in that direction.
– Korn Ferry Tour (@KornFerryTour) January 20, 2022
PGA Tour Champions: Mitsubishi Electric
There was this playoff on the big island of Hawaii, to open the senior season, but we’ll get to that. Two guys (Vijay Singh and Stephen Ames) birdied the last hole, missing the playoff by one stroke. Sound competitive? It was. The overnight leader hit minus two on day three and was tied for sixth, three strokes back. David Toms posted 66 on the final day, to slip into the thick of things in solo fifth place. And then there was that tiebreaker.
Last November, the unknown Steven Alker came out of nowhere to win a Tour Champions event, beating Jim Furyk and Miguel Ángel Jiménez by two. This Saturday, Alker seemed to hit the replay button, hitting a 66 in the third round to move up the board to 17-under. The only one who could catch him was Jiménez, and the Canarian needed a birdie in the last one to match Alker’s back-nine 31 and 66. And catch him, the Asturian did. Jiménez started a ten-meter approach on the 54th hole and drained the putt.
The pair went back to 18 for the tiebreaker, with each golfer having a birdie chance to win. MAJ missed just behind, while Alker made a sure putt eight feet to the rim. The duo played on the 18th for the last time, and that’s when Jiménez secured his third Tournament of Champions with a routine pair.
— Campeones del PGA TOUR (@ChampionsTour) January 23, 2022
Additional Coverage: Latin American Amateur Championship
The final amateur qualifier for the 2022 Masters tournament emerged from four days of competition at the late Pete Dye’s Dominican masterpiece, the Teeth of the Dog course in La Romana. Roberto Nieves from Chile took the lead on the final day and opened his round with birdies on two of his first four holes. The next 11 holes brought a double bogey and three singles, and a drop to sixth place in minus five. Four golfers made it to minus six, an agonizing stroke out of first place. Mexico, Brazil and Argentina were twice represented in that quartet, with Mateo Fernandez de Oliva as the day’s lowest scorer with 68. Top spot was reserved for UNLV freshman Aaron Jarvis of the Cayman Islands. . Jarvis posted 69 on day four, including a winning streak of four birdies against one bogey. Jarvis will be the first contestant from the Cayman Islands to compete in the Masters.
The best moments of the winner of the #LAAC2022 ?
The highlight of the winner? pic.twitter.com/5GfuCr6Uvl
— Latin American Amateur Championship (@LAAC_Golf) January 23, 2022
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