Alex Levy has won his fifth European Tour title and Andrew Landry has claimed his first on the PGA Tour. Our man looks back at all the action with his customary reflection on all the week's action here...
“It was Levy’s fifth European Tour title and the victory moves him up to ninth in the Race to Dubai standings, a career-best 47th in the Official World Rankings, and firmly in to the sights of Ryder Cup captain, Thomas Bjorn.”
The well-backed Alex Levy, who was trading at 24.023/1 just before the Trophée Hassan II kicked off, was matched at a high of 120.0119/1 after a slow start on Thursday but he played his last three holes on day one in three-under-par and he never looked back after that.
Having trailed the eventual second, Alvaro Quiros, by a stroke with a round to go, Levy soon took command with birdies at three and five and although he played the final two thirds of the course in only level-par, it was impossible not to be impressed by the Frenchman's tenacity. He made a number of testing par saves to keep his nose in front before brilliantly birdying the 17th (see below tweet) to tie up the title, straight after bogeying the 16th. It was Levy's fifth European Tour title and the victory moves him up to ninth in the Race to Dubai standings, a career-best 47th in the Official World Rankings, and firmly in to the sights of Ryder Cup captain, Thomas Bjorn.
Over at the Valero Texas Open, the well backed outsider, Andrew Landry, who was backed down from a high of 350.0349/1 to 150.0149/1 before the off, converted nicely after a fast start to his fourth round.
Zach Johnson, who had been tied with Landry through 54 holes, had been the warm favourite before the final round but he soon dropped away and the biggest challenger to Landry turned out to be fellow outsider, Trey Mullinax, who had begun the event as a largely unfancied 200.0199/1 chance.
Both Landry and Mullinax appeared to be running on fumes as the line approached but Landry always held sway. Mullinax was matched at a low of 2.47/5 but in contrast to Levy in Morocco, who pulled out all the stops on the penultimate hole, poor Mullinax gave up his chance at the 17th with this poor chip...
My pre-event pick in Morocco, Eddie Pepperell, was disappointing and all three in-play picks threatened but ultimately came up short, so that was a poor result, but losses were recouped with a little to spare thanks to Landry's victory in Texas. As highlighted in the In-Play Blog, he was backed at halfway at 12.011/1.
What Have We Learned This Week
Levy's stats were decent across the board last week, apart from Driving Accuracy. Time and again we visit tree-lined courses and straight hitting is perceived as vital but the result suggests otherwise. Levy ranked 57th for Driving Accuracy and Joakim Lagergren, who finished tied for third, ranked 59th!
Alvaro Quiros might just be worth keeping an eye on. His form figures when he won the Rocco Forte Open 11 months ago read 49-MC-MC-MC-MC-22 and he's now finished runner-up with form figures leading in to the event reading 61-MC-MC-MC-19-MC. His stats were really good last week - 15th for driving Distance, ninth for Driving Accuracy, second for Greens in Regulation and he ranked 14th for Putting Average. He made more birdies than anyone else but he didn't scramble very well.
Tony Johnstone informed us on Sky Sports that Quiros is back working with former-Ryder Cupper, Jose Rivero and that Rivero had told Tony that Alvaro was very close. Last week's performance might not be a one-off and at a venue more suited to his game, Quiros could be one to stick with.
Texans, or players with a great record in the state, need to be given the utmost respect at the Valero Texas Open. The winner is from Austin, three of the top four were Texans and Zach Johnson, whose limp final round saw him finish fifth, has won four times in the Lone Star State.
Alone in sixth, and just a stroke behind Zach was a player we're all going to become very familiar with very quickly. Joaquin Niemann had begun his pro debut quietly with rounds of 72 and 70 but he was a massive eye-catcher over the weekend with back-to-back five-under-par 67s.
The 19-year-old Chilean had been the number one amateur in the world since May last year and by turning pro he's forfeited a place in both the US Open and the Open Championship but I suspect he won't live to regret his decision.
Alex Levy won't be celebrating his win in Morocco for long as he's straight off to Beijing to defend his Volvo China Open and on the PGA Tour, we're going to be treated to a bit of team golf as players pair up for the Zurich Classic of New Orleans. I'll be back later today or tomorrow with my previews.
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