Justin Rose has won again on the European Tour and Patrick Cantlay has won his first PGA Tour event in eventful fashion. Read our man's customary look back at all the action here...
“Spare a thought for poor ole J.J Spaun, who had been hit hard by high winds late on in round three also. He hit a low of 1.528/15 in-running and if he’d managed a par-par finish the title would have been his but he finished double-bogey – double-bogey to finish tied for 10th!”
Both last week's events provided plenty of drama and plenty of woe for the layers again. Two weeks after Sergio Garcia and Justin Thomas landed an obvious double at the Andalucía Valderrama Masters and the CJ Cup in Korea, pre-tournament favourite, Justin Rose, has won the Turkish Airlines Open on the European Tour and the well-fancied 22.021/1 chance, Patrick Cantlay, has claimed the Shriners Hospital for Children Open on the PGA Tour. Although the two men took their titles in very differing fashions...
Tyrrell Hatton took back-to back European Tour titles in Scotland and Italy last month and after his victory in china at the WGC HSBC Champions event two weeks ago and success yesterday in Turkey, Justin Rose has now also claimed back-to- back wins and both looked unlikely. He came from eight back with a round to go in Shanghai and he was nine adrift of the clear leader, Nicolas Colsaerts, at the halfway stage in Turkey.
Dylan Frittelli made a huge move in round four yesterday and Colsaerts bounced back brilliantly to give himself a chance after Saturday's dismal back-nine but Rose's class told in the end and this is how you close out a tournament in style.
Justin has now moved up in to second in the Race to Dubai standings with just two events left and Tommy Fleetwood is very much in his sights but he won't be lining up at the Nedbank Challenge on Thursday, despite how close he is to catching the leader now. Rose is playing in Hong Kong, straight after the season finale in Dubai in two weeks and he's also playing Tiger Woods' event, the Hero Challenge, the week after Hong Kong so despite giving the Nedbank serious consideration, he's decided he needs to stick to the original plan and give himself a week off.
Over at the Shriners Hospital for Children Open, the strong afternoon winds made the final few groups look a little bit silly and I couldn't help but sympathise after the task they were faced with. Alex Cejka, one of three men to make the playoff, was matched in-running at 1000.0 but he birdied eight of his last 12 holes and five of the last six holes - feat that was utterly impossible an hour and half later when the last few groups finished.
One of my re-event picks, Chesson Hadley, hit a low of 3.02/1 after he'd played the first nine holes in four-under-par but as the wind picked up, he recorded a run of eight straight pars before bogeying the last to miss out on the playoff by a stroke but he was far from the only one to fall foul at the finish.
The eventual winner, Cantlay, who was matched at double-figures, having hit a low of 1.454/9 in regulation play, when he bogeyed 17 and 18, and the third playoff protagonist, Whee Kim, also bogeyed the last and all three bogeyed the 18th again at the first extra hole in the playoff before Cantlay won with a par four there at the second attempt. And spare a thought for poor ole J.J Spaun, who had been hit hard by high winds late on in round three also. He hit a low of 1.528/15 in-running and if he'd managed a par-par finish the title would have been his but he finished double-bogey - double-bogey to finish tied for 10th!
Laying Colsaerts at halfway proved a good move but that was the only positive on a day that promised much but delivered little. In-running picks, Padraig Harrington and Thorbjørn Olesen, both threatened to take the title in Turkey and had either Hadley or Spaun prevailed in Vegas it would have been a great week but it wasn't to be.
I really should have traded my way to a decent result in Vegas but after a really hectic weekend away from the golf, I was simply too tired to trade properly last night and I even fell asleep right at the end!
What Have we Learned This Week?
Patrick Cantlay's victory in Vegas went against the grain in several respects and I think it can be viewed as a bit of a one-off. He was seven off the lead at halfway and he still trailed by four with a round to go but the vast majority of winners here are up with the pace.
He was amongst the front three in the betting before the off when this is more often than not an outsiders event but we very nearly saw another outsider win. His two playoff rivals, Kim and Cejka, began the event as 200.0199/1 and 400.0399/1 chances and I'd still view this as a tournament for longshots - despite this year's result.
Cantlay was the seventh first time PGA Tour winner to take the title in 11 years so in that respect he was a fairly typical winner but his winning score of nine-under-par was far from typical. Spaun was on 11-under at the halfway stage and the highest winning score prior to this year, since the event became a 72 hole event in 2008, was 16-under-par two years ago.
Over in Turkey, Justin Rose ranked second for Driving Accuracy and first for Greens In Regulation so accuracy narrowly prevailed over power but the eye-catching statistic was Scrambling. Rose ranked third and six of the top-ten finishers ranked inside the top-seven for Scrambling. Looking back to the 2016 edition here, five of the top ten scramblers finished inside the top-nine places so that's the key stat to consider in 12 months' time.
As already stated, we're off to South Africa for the Nedbank Challenge on the European Tour this week and the PGA Tour ventures south to Mexico for the OHL Classic Mayakoba. I'll be back this evening or tomorrow with my previews.
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