Cameron Davis – file photo Bruce Young

US based Sydney golfer, Cameron Davis, recorded his 4th PGA Tour top ten of 2022 when he finished in a share of 8th at the John Deere Classic in Silvis, Illinois.

Davis’ last round of 68 improved his standing from an overnight 10th but it was a frustrating run for him over the final nine holes as missed several makeable opportunities in a run of ten straight pars to finish after starting with three birdies in his first eight holes.

The weekend at the TPC Deere Run was significantly better than that he produced a week ago in Hartford, having contended there early before a disappointing final 36 holes.

Davis will move to 81st in the Fedex Cup standing and with just a month to go until the finals begin in just over one month’s time he is well placed to progress into well into the final stages of the FedEx Cup.

The 2016 World Amateur Individual Champion and a member of the Australian winning Eisenhower Trophy team that same year would win the 2017 Australian Open just over a year later and made his way on to the PGA Tour for the 2019 season.

The 27-year old’s PGA Tour career earnings to date are now beyond US$5.5 million but he is clearly improving each year and appears to be well established as a PGA Tour member and on track for a very successful career.

The winner J.T. Poston won his second PGA Tour title having won the Wyndham Championship in 2019 and he also earns a start at the Open Championship as a result of his top three finish of those not otherwise qualified for St Andrews along with Christiaan Bezuidenhout and Emiliano Grillo.

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Ryan Fox in action this week – photo DP World Tour / Getty Images

Ryan Fox might not have won this week’s Horizon Irish Open but today’s runner-up finish further confirmed his remarkable success in that event.

By staging a magnificent final round of 64, Fox added this week’s runner-up finish to a similar finish in the event in 2018 and a 4th place finish in 2017.

In addition, one of Fox’s two Challenge Tour victories and his best finish in a major (16th at Royal Portrush in 2019) came in Northern Ireland so his love affair with the island containing the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland have played a key role in the 35 year old’s standing in the game.

Fox’s finish this morning will again move him to an all time high in the world ranking following the rise to 56th his 3rd place finish in Germany last week gave him. When the revised rankings are released later today Fox will find himself just inside the top 50 for the first time in his career, providing opportunities for players inside that milestone ranking.

Today Fox began the final round 1 hour and 15 minutes behind the final group and five shots behind the eventual winner Adrian Meronk.

Working through the front nine in 3 under, Fox had made progress on those ahead but was still four behind Meronk. Then would come a rush of birdies and an eagle and despite being unable to get up and down from behind the green at the final hole to save par, when he finished his round Fox had the lead by one.

Meronk, though, would also produce a remarkable finish with birdies at the 15th and 16th and an eagle of his own at the par 5 17th and he had opened a three-shot lead playing the last. A final par gave him a three shot victory and his first European Tour win and for his country, their first success on the DP World Tour.

For Fox, however, his great season in 2022 continues, this being his 7th top ten in his last tens starts including his win in the UAE earlier in the season. The finish this week and the massive cheque for €630,000 takes Fox to 4th in the Race to Dubai Rankings.

“Apart from bogeying the last,” responded Fox when it was suggested soon after walking from the last green his finish might have closed out another European Tour title. “18 was only bad shot I hit today and nice to see some putts go in. Been a weird week, shoot 64 in the first round, didn’t miss a shot and same today, and then a little bit of scrappiness in the middle. I think it’s going to be one short.

“To be honest, everything clicked. Actually, through the front nine I had a couple chances and didn’t convert them. On the back nine made a few nice putts and it was one of those days where everything kind of worked. Literally only hit one bad shot, the one down 18 and just happened to be in between clubs and went for a draw and pulled it a little bit.

“You know, rest of the game was solid was it was most of the week. I just had a couple cold days with the putter in the middle but very happy with the game is at at the moment obviously.”

Fox will now play the Scottish Open and Open Championships and believes it is now a case of saving energy as he looks ahead to St Andrews where he performed well in 2015.

“For me the next couple of weeks, I’ve played both the golf courses a lot, so it’s going to be more about energy management rather than trying to find anything in the game. Obviously the game is in pretty good shape at the moment. Yeah, just go out, try to beat the golf course. That’s what I’ve been trying to do the last few weeks and seems to be working pretty well.”

Defending champion, Lucas Herbert, was well placed heading into the final round but made a horror start to his day when making the turn in 40 but stormed home with a back nine of 31 which also included a bogey at the last and he would finish 9th.

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Branden Grace in action this week – photo LIV Golf via Getty Jonathan Ferry

South Africans have won the opening two events of the LIV Invitational Series with Branden Grace taking out the second of the series today in Portland in Oregon by two shots over Mexico’s Carlos Ortiz with Americans Patrick Reed and Dustin Johnson sharing 3rd place honours, another two shots back.

The third and final round of the US$25 million event developed into essentially a three-way battle for much of the round between Grace, Ortiz and Johnson although Reed entered late calculations with an eagle and a birdie at his final two holes for a round of 67 to set the clubhouse mark.

Behind on the golf course, Grace and Ortiz were locked in battle but, although he birdied the opening three holes of today’s final round  to take the lead, Ortiz’ birdie run then came to a halt. After a frustrating ten consecutive pars he would finally hole a lengthy birdie putt at the last to confirm his second place and provide his team with a share of third place also.

Grace and Ortiz were still locked at 10 under through 14 holes but then would come three consecutive birdies by the South African to take the lead including a chip in from behind the green at the 16th to provide an unassailable cushion.

Grace earns US$4 million for the individual honours and another US$375,000 for his share of runner-up place in the teams’ event.

“I started working with a new coach towards the end of the last year, and I really felt that at Valero Texas that the swing has come along and started playing some nice golf,” said Grace when explaining his improved form in 2022.

“Obviously you need to get the low rounds to get the confidence, and I felt really comfortable in London, managed to have a good tournament today.

“I had a great Sunday actually at London and took a lot from that into this week, and the form stayed there, played really well, and then obviously today was one shot after the other was just — fell into place.

“But on Sunday, I played with DJ at London, as well, on the Sunday and played really nicely, and just kind of found a groove. I’ve been feeling really comfortable. I’ve been hitting the shots that I see and things like that, and that’s really important and gives you the confidence.”

It wasn’t a good week for the five-man Australian contingent with Matt Jones doing best when he finished in a share of 16th place at even par. Mind you, don’t feel too sorry for the Arizona based Sydneysider. Jones earned a cheque for US$225,000 so has not exactly left Portland empty handed.

Travis Smyth might not have had the lucrative week he had in London but he still pockets a cheque for just over US$150,000 for his share of 29th to add to the US$500,000 he earned in London and the $US220,000 he earned a week earlier in Newcastle in an associated event which allowed him a start in London.

Wade Ormsby tied for 35th in the 48 man field and will earn US$145,000, while Blake Windred (44th) and Jed Morgan (48th) struggled all week but will still take him a cheque for around US$120,000.

The series received a further boost in their pursuit of stronger fields with the announcement today that Paul Casey will join the field for the next event in New Jersey on July 29th.

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Matt Jones led the five Australians, finishing in 29th place – photo Steve Sykes Getty

Dustin Johnson – photo LIV Golf Getty Images

Dustin Johnson and newcomer Carlos Ortiz share the lead with one round to go in the second of the LIV Golf Invitational Series being played at the Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club in Portland in Oregon.

Johnson and Ortiz are tied at 8 under par and lead by two over South African Brandon Grace with another South African, Justin Harding another shot back and alone in 4th place.

Johnson added a second consecutive 68 to catch the first round leader Ortiz, who was making his debut in the LIV Golf series but who has struggled for much of 2022 having not recorded a finish inside the top 30 in 15 PGA Tour starts.

Australia had five players in this week’s field and they are headed by Matt Jones who has put together two consecutive rounds of 72 to be in 17th place at even par.

Wade Ormsby is 2 over, Travis Smyth 4 over, Blake Windred at 9 over and the current Australian PGA Champion Jed Morgan at 16 over after a horror second round of 84.

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Matt Jones leads the Australians but is eight shots from the lead – photo LIV Golf Getty Images

 

 

The following is the most recent statement on the defectors to LIV Golf from the DP World Tour’s Chief Executive Keith Pelley.

“There has been a leak to the media of a letter we received on behalf of a number of LIV Golf players which contains so many inaccuracies that it cannot remain unchallenged.
 
“Before joining LIV Golf, players knew there would be consequences if they chose money over competition. Many of them at the time understood and accepted that. Indeed, as one player named in the letter said in a media interview earlier this year; ‘If they ban me, they ban me.’ It is not credible that some are now surprised with the actions we have taken.
 
“The letter claims that these players ‘care deeply’ for the DP World Tour. An analysis of the past participation statistics on our Tour in recent years of several of the leading players named, suggests otherwise.
 
“One player in particular named in the note has only played six Rolex Series events in the past five years. Another one, only four. I wish many of them had been as keen to play on our Tour then as they seem to be now, based on the fact they have either resigned their membership of the PGA TOUR or, if they are still in membership, have been suspended indefinitely.
 
“Furthermore, given how deeply these players say they care about the DP World Tour, perhaps some of them could have played in Ireland this week in support of our new title sponsor, in particular one player who gave us a signed commitment to play at Mount Juliet.
 
“With that player currently in action at Pumpkin Ridge, you can imagine the allegation in the letter that we are in the wrong, is hard to accept.
 
“We also take great exception to an allegation made near the end of the letter which states we are somehow playing ‘second fiddle’ to the PGA TOUR. Nothing could be further from the truth.
 
“We held a player meeting in Ireland on Tuesday where we outlined in great detail all the many benefits of our expanded relationship with the PGA TOUR.
 
“One of those is an unprecedented ten cards on offer to the PGA TOUR, cards that many of the players named in this letter desperately wanted to attain in the early stages of their careers. Why now be critical of those trying to do the same?
 
“The letter also expresses supposed concern about the future of the DP World Tour. Rest assured no-one should have any worries on that score.
 
“The DP World Tour is a vibrant, independent and global Tour with increasing and guaranteed prize fund growth over the next five years. We have fantastic tournaments across the year including a host of wonderful national Opens, all played in front of huge crowds, illustrated perfectly by this week’s Horizon Irish Open.
 
“Finally, it would not be appropriate for me to comment on any potential legal matters.
 
“I will simply reiterate that our Members’ Regulations which have been in force for more than 30 years, have been accepted by all the players, are there to protect all of our members, and we will use them to take all necessary steps to protect their interests.
 
“The sanctions for those members who knowingly broke our rules by playing at the Centurion Club without a release are proportionate, fair and, I believe, considered necessary by the majority of our members.”


Herbert – with last year’s trophy – photo Getty Images

Lucas Herbert has moved within four shots of the lead at the Irish Open at the Mount Juliet Estate in Co Kilkenny, the defending champion in a share of 11th place behind the leader Jorge Campillo of Spain as the US$ 6 million event enters the weekend.

Herbert who has focused much of his attention in the USA this season, returned to Ireland as the 48th ranked player in the world after beginning this event twelve months ago as the game’s 91st player.

The progress and elevation in standing has been more than just in world ranking given he has since earned full status on the PGA Tour, has won on that tour and consolidated his standing as not only one of the game’s brightest prospects, but he is now Australia’s third highest ranked player behind only Cameron Smith and Adam Scott.

Herbert played his opening two rounds with legendary Irish figure Padraig Harrington, a three time major winner and a winner of a senior major at last week’s US Senior Open but felt very much at home despite his ‘crowd favourite’ playing partner.

“There’s so much support here. I almost feel like an adopted Irishman this week,” said Herbert.

“It’s been great with Paddy as well. The crowd out there for him has been unbelievable.

“He holed a putt on the ninth to be safe to make the cut. The roar that came out of them was pretty incredible.

Herbert’s round today was significantly less of a roller coaster then that he produced yesterday when six birdies and eagle and five bogeys led to his opening round of 69.

That he got the favourable side of the draw did not go unnoticed by Herbert.

“Yeah, I had to pretend to be upset what I saw last night when I saw what the weather forecast looked like in the afternoon. Just luck of the draw.

“Some weeks you get, it some weeks you don’t. PGA Championship, I got the bad side of the draw. There’s times where you get the good side and the bad side and this week I got the good side.”

Round two was highlighted by greater consistency with six birdies and a double bogey for a round of 68 and he is well placed heading into the final 36 holes.

New Zealand’s Ryan Fox was unable to maintain the pace of his eight birdie opening round 64 and slipped to a  round of 73 to be tied with Herbert in 11th place. He was out in today’s more difficult afternoon conditions however and is not yet out of things.

Fox, too, has a good record in this event having finished runner-up and 4th in previous years.

Queensland’s Maverick Antcliff is tied for 36th, while both Min Woo Lee and Scott Hend both made the cut on the number.

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Ryan Fox in action this week – photo Gety Images

 

Charl Schwartzel – the winner in London chasing another US$4 million in individual earnings

Liv Golf hits the USA this week where a field strengthened from that involved in the first event in London by the addition of Brooks Koepka, Bryson De Chambeau, Matthew Wolff, Pat Perez, Abraham Ancer and Patrick Reed takes to the fairways of the Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club in Portland in Oregon.

Once again 48 players will play for a purse US$20 million in the individual competition and US$5 million for the teams event the purse breakdown seen here.

Australia will again be represented by Matt Jones, Wade Ormsby, Travis Smyth, Jed Morgan and Blake Windred, although the Australian making way for the addition of higher ranked players is Kevin Yuan who finished 37th in London and earned US$146,000.

Smyth famously won around US$500,000 for his runner-up in the teams event and a 35th place finish in the individual in London a few weeks ago, monies he could have only dreamt of prior to a runner-up finish in what was essentially a qualifying event funded by Saudi money in Newcastle, England immediately before Liv Golf’s debut in London.

The highest ranked player in the field will be Dustin Johnson but the addition of Koepka, De Chambeau, Ancer and Reed certainly brings greater credibility to the field other than just money.


Mark Hensby during today’s final round – photo USGA Steve Gibbons

Australian Mark Hensby has produced an outstanding week of golf to finish alone in third place at the US Senior Open at the Saucon Valley Country Club in Pennsylvania, the soon to be (Wednesday) 51-year-old finishing the event with two late birdies after a mid-round collapse threatened to derail an otherwise potentially career changing week.

Hensby, born in Victoria but raised in Tamworth before heading to the USA in the mid 1990’s where he would eventually play and win on the PGA Tour and make a Presidents Cup side, recorded his best finish in just four starts on the PGA Tour Champions.

His previous best was when 8th at the Senior PGA Championship last month and if he can find a way to gain full playing credentials on the PGA Tour Champions then this talented golfer might well have a resurgence of a career that has been plagued by injury and bad luck since his halcyon days of the mid 2000’s.

Hensby has won three events on the Korn Ferry Tour and in 2004 won the John Deere Classic before winning the Scandinavian Masters in 2005 and making the Presidents Cup side that same year.

But his promising career was thwarted by a car accident in early 2006, the aftermath of which plagued his immediate playing future and there have been other issues including a suspension by the PGA Tour for refusing to follow drug testing protocol.

He is, though, an extremely talented player and this week’s performance might just be the catalyst for ongoing success on the PGA Tour Champions provided he can and should he have the desire to gain access to status there.

Without status on the PGA Tour Champions, Hensby gained a start in this week’s US Senior Open courtesy of finishing runner-up at a qualifying venue in Texas and he made the most of the opportunity finishing behind only the winner, Padraig Harrington and the highly credentialed Steve Stricker.

“Tiring, it got really tiring towards the end,” said Hensby when asked to describe the week. “I think it’s difficult when you know you’re not going to have a chance to win, but you’re not making any — you know, play as aggressive as you can without being stupid.

“It (the course) is a test. For me it didn’t feel like it was a really long golf course, but as you’re well aware, as everybody’s watching, if you miss it in the wrong spot it’s just not good.

“The greens, I found, were really fast the second day. Third day, yesterday, not as fast. Today they were kind of firm and fast. Yeah, it’s just a tricky golf course.”

Typically enigmatic, Hensby added, when made aware that this finish will get him a start next year; “I’m not sure I’m going to play much golf after this year, so if I do, obviously it’s there. Yeah, we’ll see.”

Perhaps the US$267,000 he earned for finishing 3rd might help his decision making.

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The 2022 US Senior Open Champion Padraig Harrington – photo USGA

 

 


Lee – grinding today at the 7th hole – photo PGA of America

Minjee Lee came within just one one shot of a second major title in less than a month and her third overall when finishing tied for runner-up behind In Gee Chun at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship at the Congressional Country Club near Washington D.C.

An approach to 2 feet at the last after three-putting the 17th put Lee right back in the picture as Chun and Lexi Thompson, playing in the final group of the day, began the feel the pinch in a final round where so much was on the line. Not only was a winning purse of US$1.35 million in the US$ 9 million event at stake but so too was one of the most significant titles in women’s golf.

Lee’s effort was made even more special given the fact that she bogeyed her opening two holes of the day.

Chun began the day with a three shot lead over Thompson and former Australian Amateur Champion Hye Jin Choi, but with an outward nine of 40 by Chun and 35 by Thompson the American was two ahead of both Chun and Choi as they headed to the 10th.

Thompson appeared on track for her first win in three years and her first major since her win at the Kraft Nabisco Championship in 2014 when still two ahead through 13 holes but a missed par putt from less than 2 feet at the 14th seemed to unsettle Thompson and although she birdied the 15th she was unable to capitalise on the reachable par 16th and made bogey and when she three putted the 17th she fell one behind Chun who had birdied the 16th.

Both players parred the last but Lee, who has begun her final round twenty minutes ahead of the final group, had posted a round of 70 to lead in the clubhouse. Lee had three putted the 17th at a costly moment and although she hit a magnificent approach at the dangerous last it appeared her prospects were slim.

Chun and Thompson both parred the last and the title was Chun’s – her third major having won the 2015 US Women’s Open and the 2016 Evian Championship and her first LPGA Tour title in four years.

Lee and Thompson tied for second place with both earning a cheque for US$718,000 and Lee taking her season’s earnings to US$3.36 million and well clear in the Race to the Globe and money list rankings.

“It was hard, but it was super fun,” said Lee referring to her final day. “We play for these types of Sundays. It was just a whole lot of fun. Because the difficulty was that much harder and the wind was up, I think that’s what made it even better.

“So I think it was just kind of perfect because the first three days it was really quite soft, and today you kind of guessed a little bit on how much it was going to roll or if it was going to stop. I think that was an element of guessing there. I think it was just a really great setup.

“I pretty much had my eye on the leaderboard the whole day. I followed it pretty much every single hole when I could see it, so I knew exactly which position I was in. I knew coming down 18 maybe a birdie would get me close because I did bogey the 70. I gave it a good shot today.”

Former champion and fellow West Australian Hannah Green finished tied for 5th with four others and earns US$274,000 while rookie Stephanie Kyriacou from Sydney produced a very meritorious tie for 10th and earns by some way her biggest cheque in the game US$156,000.

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Hannah Green today – photo Montana Pritchard PGA of America


Stephanie Kyriacou – huge cheque for impressive finish

 

 

Ryan Fox – file photo courtesy of PGA of Australia

Ryan Fox has fallen just short of a playoff to decide the BMW International in Munich, the New Zealander finishing alone in 3rd position and just two shots from the extended battle between the eventual winner, Haotong Li of China, and Belgian, Thomas Pieters.

Fox will rise to his highest ever ranking of 56th or so when the revised world rankings are released later today and continues a season which has seen him in 7th place in the Race to Dubai following six to ten finishes in his last nine starts including his win earlier this year in the UAE.

Fox began his final round five shots adrift of Li who had led from his opening round of 62 but birdies at his opening two holes of round four followed four holes later by an eagle at the 6th had him within four after Li himself had birdied three of his first six holes.

Fox’s only mistake of the day came when he bogeyed the 8th to lose a little momentum in his pursuit of a 3rd European Tour title but he would birdie the 11th and 15th to get into a share of second place and just one behind Li.

Li bogeyed the 15th but he and Pieters would add to late birdies to drew clear and force a playoff and Fox who was unable to capitalise on the reachable par 5 last would fall two short.

Li went on to win at the first extra hole after missing the green and then holing a 40 foot birdie putt after making a mess of his pitch from alongside of the green.

Pieters then missed from shorter range and Li had won his third European Tour title but his first in more than four years and his emotions overflowed as he celebrated the victory, perhaps not allowing Pieters the courtesy of a calm moment for him to attempt to take the playoff into further holes.

Li’s immediate post round greenside interview was also a little over the top, letting the expletives flow as he recalled what had no doubt been a harrowing time since his last win and more especially 2021 when he failed to make the weekend in his first fourteen events.

“Hard work does pay off,” said Li when things had calmed down a little. “To be fair, there’s a little story behind today. Ten months ago I met my friend Zhi (Yang), who is my caddie now. That first week I said to him ‘Dude, I don’t want to play golf anymore’ I probably needed to do something else.

“It’s him always outside, always taking care of me. I give so much s*** to him, get so mad at him so often, struggling, he was with me through the dark times, all the time. Just so many guys I need to thank. My parents, my mom, my dad, my sister, family, my sponsors, you guys, the boys. I can’t say enough.

“Yesterday we finished late, so I thought I needed some practice. I couldn’t eat or sleep last night. I probably slept five hours max, but I dreamed about holding the trophy. Things have happened to me again. It’s just incredible.”

Li Haotong – photo Getty Images / DP World Tour

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