The Punter's De-Brief: Rose returns to the top of the world and Bryson's up to fifth
Justin Rose and Bryson DeChambeau are the popular winners in Turkey and Las Vegas but it was far from plain sailing at either event. Our man looks back at the two tournaments with his customary reflections piece here...
"This was DeChambeau’s fourth win in 12 starts and his third win in five. He’s the only player to win four times this year and he’s gone from being portrayed as some sort of gimmicky mad professor type to the fifth best player on the planet whose stock is still rapidly rising. Make no mistakes, Bryson is the real deal."
Defending champion, Justin Rose, and China's Haotong Li had both threatened to dominate the Turkish Airlines Open at various stages over the weekend but in the end, we finished up with a really tight, tense, and enthralling affair.
Rose, the pre-tournament favourite at around [5.8], hit odds-on as early as Friday and his price dipped to just [1.52] after just a third of the third round had been completed but a sloppy back-nine by the Englishman changed the complexion of the event entirely and it was Li that began the final round three-clear and trading at odds-on.
Li didn't get off to the best of starts and having been matched at a low of [1.78], Rose appeared to have assumed command when he led by two with just four to play. Rose hit a new low of [1.1] and it was starting to look like a done deal until Li did this at the par five 15th with his second shot.
"COME ON, BE GOOD!"? The European Tour (@EuropeanTour) November 4, 2018
It was better than good pic.twitter.com/B5hcFTdkZX
Rose three-putted for par after also finding the green in two before Li popped in the eagle putt and in a flash they were level. Rose responded immediately with a birdie at 16 but they were tied again after he bogeyed 17 and both men had a great chance to take the title in regulation play but both missed their par saves below.
Li was matched at a low of [1.4] when he had around five feet for a birdie three and the title at the first extra hole but his bold attempt slipped by the hole and he missed the return. It was a sad way for a titanic battle to have ended and Rose was again far from convincing in-contention but the record books won't record that and he returns to the top of the world rankings.
There was a big move in the rankings in the States too, where Bryson DeChambeau won the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in Las Vegas by a stroke, thanks largely to this spectacular eagle three on the 16th. How's this for a Tigeresque fist pump?
DeChambeau, who was a well-fancied [16.5] second favourite, had begun the final round tied for the lead with Peter Uihlein (who finished 23rd!) and a bit like Rose, he went from looking like cruising to victory on the back-nine to being really pressed. Playing in the group ahead, defending champ, Patrick Cantlay, hit a low of [1.89] when he took the lead with a birdie on 16 but he made a mess of 17 and bogeyed the hole, just as Bryson was eagling 16 and in a matter of minutes the complexion of the tournament changed back again completely.
This was DeChambeau's fourth win in 12 starts and his third win in five. He's the only player to win four times this year and he's gone from being portrayed as some sort of gimmicky mad professor type to the fifth best player on the planet whose stock is still rapidly rising. Make no mistakes, Bryson is the real deal.
It's been a disappointing week financially as I've lost a few pounds overall but I can't complain and winning a few quid at the Shriners was a good result given the circumstances.
Given how many outsiders win the event, I began the week laying the top-20 players in the market so the fact that I finished up in front with the second favourite winning is actually quite satisfying. As detailed in the In-Play Blog, DeChambeau was my biggest loser on Sunday morning but I managed to turn it around in-play, finishing up in front to the tune of just shy of £200. I won't clog this up with a list of trades as I tweeted them all live last night.
Away from the Obvious
Li's missed putts were all there to be seen but as painful as they were, they didn't compare to the gut-wrenching finish in Vegas by poor Lucas Glover. The 2009 US Open winner is one of the finest ball-strikers on the planet but he's suffered on the greens for years now and it was horrible to watch his finish at the Shriners, where he was matched at a low of just [3.3].
He gave himself a chance to tie the lead at the time on the derivable par four 15th when he chipped out from a greenside bunker to four feet but he missed the birdie putt and the two-foot par save and it was no surprise at all to see the poor man make a mess of the last to record a triple-bogey seven. Much was made of poor Sam Horsfiled's problems off the tee this week (see below tweet) and it really is incredible what some players have to deal with mentally. How Glover keeps going week after week when he knows it's only a matter of time before his catastrophic short putting derails his chances is beyond me and he deserves much credit.
I might quit golf if I had to play with this guy with any regularity. pic.twitter.com/G46crRfEpq? LKD (@LukeKerrDineen) November 3, 2018
Uihlein is another player that must have demons aplenty. He and Brooks Koepka have been buddies for years and they were travelling companions on the Challenge Tour as their careers began to blossom but their paths have taken very different routes now. Brooks has won three majors and spent time at the top of the world rankings but judging on Peter's latest dire effort in-contention, it's hard to envisage him ever winning on the PGA Tour. I hope I'm wrong.
And finally, he's a stat that surprised me. It's now almost a decade since Rickie Fowler came to our attention on the world stage but yesterday's 63 at the Shriners was the world number nine's lowest round on the PGA Tour. He'll be a popular candidate at the Mayakoba Classic this week but just a word of caution, Bryson has won as many PGA Tour titles as Rickie has in the last six months alone and as likable and as brilliant as Fowler is, he can't be described as prolific.
The European Tour moves on to South Africa for the Nedbank Golf Challenge this week and I'll be back tomorrow with my previews.
*You can follow me on Twitter @SteveThePunter