Don’t be surprised if Charley Hull makes this year’s European Solheim Cup team. The way she’s going, she looks like a lock to make the trip to Colorado this August.
There’s a good chance the Ladies European Tour rookie will turn up as a tournament winner, if not a multiple tournament winner on this year’s LET.
The 17-year-old English woman recorded a second-place finish in the Turkish Airlines Ladies Open in Belek, Turkey. Hull tied with Carlota Ciganda of Spain and Finland’s Minea Blomqvist on a 2-under total of 290, just one shot behind South Africa’s Lee-Anne Pace.
It was Hull’s third consecutive second-place finish in just three starts on this year’s LET. She began the final round tied for the lead with Ciganda, but could only manage a 2-over 75.
“I’m pleased but just a bit annoyed,” Hull said. “At least I parred the last. I didn’t play very good on the first 11 holes. The back nine, I played a lot better. I seem to perform better when I’m under pressure and I have to chase, like the last couple of holes. I just edged my ...
This week’s European Tour saw an Australian double up, 12-year-olds competing, Paul Casey on the comeback and flying Finns. Meanwhile an American dominates the European Challenge Tour while an Englishman is struggling to stay on it.
Here are 5 Things -- plus a bonus item -- from this week’s European Tour.
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1. RUMFORD CAN DO NO WRONG: Brett Rumford shouldn’t make any drastic changes to his life. Things are working out just fine.
The Australian waited five years and 231 days for his fourth European Tour victory, the Ballantine’s Championship, then just one tournament to make the Volvo China Open his fifth win. He became the first Australian since Jack Newton in 1972 to win back-to-back European Tour events (Newton won the Dutch Open and Benson and Hedges Festival in consecutive weeks in 1972.)
“As with last week I’m kind of speechless at the moment,” Rumford said. “It’s quite surreal. It’s the first time I’ve actually played the week after a win so I’m more than pleased. It’s hard to get my head around it at the moment.”
Rumford jumped to the top of the European Tour money list with €811,806 ...
TIANJIN, China — Brett Rumford became the first Australian in 41 years to win back-to-back European Tour titles with Sunday's victory at the China Open.
Rumford shot a final-round 68 to win by four shots with a 16-under 272 total. Finland's Mikko Ilonen shot a 71 to finish second at 12 under, with Victor Dubuisson (68) another shot back in third.
It had taken Rumford more than five years and 121 tour events to capture a fourth title at last week's Ballantine's Championship, but he has managed a fifth just seven days later.
"As with my win last week, I'm kind of speechless at the moment," Rumford said. "It's quite surreal. It's the first time I've actually played the week after a win, so I'm more than pleased. It's hard to get my head around it at the moment."
The 36-year old Rumford holed a 45-foot putt for eagle at the par-5 12th hole to pull away from Ilonen, who could manage only a par to fall three behind.
Rumford then extended his lead to six shots when he birdied the 13th and 14th holes.
The only Australians to win back-to-back ...
Ye Wocheng, the 12-year-old who made history Thursday in becoming the youngest player to compete on the European Tour, shot consecutive 79s to miss the cut at the Volvo China Open in Tianjin, China.
At 12 years, 242 days, Wocheng broke the previous record held by Tianlang Guan, who was 13, 177 days when he played in the 2012 China Open. Guan made history at the 2013 Masters when he became the youngest to compete at 14 years old.
During two rounds, Wocheng made one birdie, 13 bogeys and one double bogey on the 7,378-yard layout at Binhai Lakes GC.
Only one amateur, Zecheng Dou, made the cut with rounds of 70-72. Dou is No. 199 in the World Amateur Golf Rankings and made it to the Round of 16 at the U.S. Junior Amateur in 2012. Dou missed all 28 fairways in the first and second round, but his scrambling stat of 31/36 is impressive.
Jim Liu of Smithtown, N.Y., No. 2 in the Golfweek/Sagarin Junior Rankings, finished at 3-over 147 to miss the cut by three shots. The Stanford signee fired a 7-over 77 in the first round, but bounced back with a ...
TIANJIN, China — While 12-year-old Ye Wocheng was making history Thursday at the China Open, Robert-Jan Derksen was making birdies.
Ye became the youngest player to compete on the European Tour, shooting a 7-over 79 in the first round with a 40-yard chip-in for bogey on his 15th hole.
Derksen shot a 66 to take a two-stroke lead. The 39-year-old Dutchman had six birdies in a seven-hole stretch from the sixth. He added two more on the final three holes at the Binhai Golf Club course.
At 12 years, 242 days, Ye broke the previous record held by Guan Tianlang, who was 13 years, 177 days when he played at last year's China Open. Guan made history last month when he became the youngest to compete in the Masters at 14.
Defending champion Branden Grace (74) struggled early but birdied three of his final five holes.
At No. 23 on the PGA Tour in driving distance and No. 11 on the European Tour, where he's averaging just more than 300 yards, Louis Oosthuizen is no stranger to long shots off the tee. But even he had to be surprised to hit one last week in Incheon, South Korea, during the Ballantine's Championship that measured 500 yards.
As far as mis-hits off the first tee go, it's not the worst. (Watch the drive here.) As the ball's two-minute journey gradually shows, finding the cart path can sometimes create a good break.
Longer would not have been better, as the announcers make it clear the path was about to turn away from the hole.
The South African went on to make par from the rough – despite being within wedge range on the 583-yard hole – and eventually shoot 71. He finished fifth this week, three shots back of winner Brett Rumford.
Kind of makes you wish more courses had curbs on their cart paths, no?
GULLANE, Scotland –– The world’s elite shouldn’t expect radical changes when they turn up at Muirfield this year to play the 142nd version of the Open Championship.
The R&A has adopted an “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” approach to a venue staging the game’s oldest championship for the 16th time.
Muirfield is widely regarded as one of the top five courses in the British Isles, links or otherwise. It ranks fourth on Golfweek’s list of classic British and Irish courses.
“Muirfield is often regarded as the toughest but fairest of the Open championship venues,” said Jim McArthur, chairman of the R&A’s championship committee. “Jack Nicklaus said ‘what you see is what you get’ and that’s certainly the case.”
R&A chief executive Peter Dawson agreed. “It’s an immensely popular venue with the players. They like this golf course. Nicklaus’s ‘what you see is what you get’ was perhaps directed at many links courses where good fortune and bad fortune come into play more. Here at Muirfield the golf course is laid out in front of you. The actual ground is relatively flat and doesn’t tend to ...
GULLANE, Scotland –– Royal Portrush’s hopes of staging the game’s oldest championship are not dead. That seems to be the message from the R&A.
Many aficionados have been calling for the Open Championship to return to arguably the best links on the Emerald Isle. The 1951 Open Championship was staged at Royal Portrush, when colorful Max Faulkner won the title. It remains the only time the Open Championship has been held off mainland Britain.
Calls for Royal Portrush’s inclusion on the Open Championship rota have increased since last year when the Northern Ireland venue staged a successful Irish Open.
“The main thing that came through for us was the enthusiasm of the Irish golf crowd who supported the event,” Dawson said. “They turned out in very big numbers and were great supporters of golf.”
The R&A sent a delegation to last year’s Irish Open as part of its ongoing study into the viability of taking the Open Championship back to Portrush. Johnny Cole-Hamilton, the R&A’s executive director of championships, headed that delegation and came away impressed.
“It was a hugely successful event, and it was important that we saw how that important event ...
Despite all the fears over saber-rattling in nearby North Korea, the Ballantine’s Championship took place without incident – at least no incident off the golf course. There were quite a few on the Blackstone Golf Club layout in Incheon, near Seoul.
Here are 5 Things to Know from the South Korean capital and this week’s European Tour.
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1. Thanks Pete, Happy Birthday Honey: If Brett Rumford was unsure what to get wife Sally for her birthday, then the first-place check of €367,500 he picked up for winning the Ballantine’s Championship might just come in handy. The 35-year-old Australian won his fourth European Tour title when he eagled the first playoff hole in a sudden-death playoff with countryman Marcus Fraser and Peter Whiteford of Scotland.
Rumford struggled with his driver during the final round, but still managed to post an 11-under-par total to ensure his playoff spot. A quick phone call to coach Peter Cowen got him back on the straight and narrow for the playoff.
“A lot of thanks goes to Pete,” Rumford said “I battled with my driver constantly, and I guess that’s what keeps me out of most golf tournaments.
“So I had a ...
Jeff Rude’s “Hate To Be Rude” column appears on Golfweek.com on Wednesday.
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Why is Tiger Woods skipping the Wells Fargo Championship? A better question is this: Why not?
Woods has missed but 11 PGA Tour cuts as a professional, and two of them have come in his last two starts at Quail Hollow, last year and in 2010.
The guy has been a master over the years at picking venues that give him the best chance of winning. Yes, he won at Quail in 2007 and has a couple of other top-4 finishes, but that was then, and this is now.
He’s hardly the first Tour player to skip a tournament where he has unpleasant memories. Or a tournament that potentially will have suspect greens.
• Speaking of choosing carefully ...
China’s 14-year-old sensation, Tianlang Guan, will play this week’s Zurich Classic in New Orleans two weeks after remarkably winning low-amateur honors at the Masters.
Guan, who hit hybrid after hybrid into greens at Augusta, surely will boost interest in the Big Easy’s tournament. But going forward, he needs to choose his events carefully based on courses that suit him. Namely, shorter ones.
The TPC Louisiana ...
ST. ANDREWS, Scotland – Expect a number of golf’s important issues to be settled very soon. That’s the message from R&A chief executive Peter Dawson.
Rory McIlroy’s decision on whether or not to play in the 2016 Olympics for Ireland or Northern Ireland could soon be taken out of his hands. The Rules of Golf may be simplified to ensure Tiger Woods’ favorable ruling at Augusta does not become contentious in the future. The Olympic Course in Rio de Janeiro will be completed in time. Finally, Vijay Singh’s fate also could be decided very soon.
As for anchoring, the issue is discussed weekly between the R&A and U.S. Golf Association, and a decision will be made this year, although Dawson would be no more specific than that.
In a frank and open discussion in his office in the Royal & Ancient clubhouse, Dawson covered a number of topics. He seemed to think the above issues would be settled shortly.
McIlory’s quandary is that he was born in Northern Ireland and should compete for the United Kingdom in the 2016 Olympic Games. However, he played amateur golf for Ireland since the Golfing Union of Ireland ...
ST. ANDREWS, Scotland – The Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews has no immediate plans to follow Augusta National’s lead and allow female members, according to R&A chief executive Peter Dawson. Nor will the R&A force Muirfield, this year’s Open Championship venue, to accept women.
“I do not deny the step Augusta made was a very positive one. In actuality, will it make much difference to women’s golf in America? I think probably not,” said Dawson, adding that female members in the Royal & Ancient also would not advance the game as much as people think. (Dawson is also secretary of the Royal & Ancient, which provides most representatives to the governing body R&A.)
“Having a small number of women members, while it would send out a positive message, I don’t actually think it would change very much.”
Muirfield is one of three men-only clubs on the Open rota. Royal St. George’s and Royal Troon are the others. The governing body will not follow the U.S. Golf Association’s lead and exclude male-only clubs from the Open Championship rota.
“To think that the R&A might say to a club like Muirfield ‘you ...
British Amateur champion Alan Dunbar has turned professional. The Northern Irishman signed with Chubby Chandler’s International Sports Management in July 2012, when he was believed to be the first golfer to take advantage of a new rule that enabled amateurs to sign to a professional management company.
Dunbar, who turns 23 next week, missed the Masters cut after rounds of 83-77. He also won the 2009 St. Andrews Links Trophy and was a member of Great Britain & Ireland’s victorious team in the 2011 Walker Cup with a 2-1 match record.
Dunbar will begin his career with consecutive starts on the Challenge Tour: this week’s Challenge de Madrid and the following week’s Montecchia Golf Open in Italy. He also has a start in the European Tour’s Madeira Islands Open on May 16-19 and Nordea Masters on May 30-June 2.
“We are delighted that Alan has agreed to let us help, encourage and guide him at the start of his professional career,” Chandler said in a statement. “I am convinced he will go a long way in the paid ranks after a glittering amateur career.”
By turning professional, Dunbar gave up an invitation to this year’s ...
It only took 15 tournaments and five months for the European Tour to hold its first event of the 2013 season on “home” soil. The Spanish Open once heralded the start of the European Tour, but no more. Now Spain’s national championship is lost amid an increasingly growing international schedule.
In fact, the Euro Tour heads back to Asia for the next two events before returning “home.” If indeed it has a place it can call home.
Anyway, here are 5 Things you need to know from the Spanish Open:
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1. UIHLEIN EARNS SECOND TOP-10: Peter Uilein earned his second top-10 finish of the season by finishing T-8. The 2010 U.S. Amateur champion held the 36-hole lead after scores of 70 and 68. However he went 74 and 73 on the weekend. Still, a check for €32,175 follows one for €73,650 for fourth place in the Tshwane Open. The one-time Oklahoma State player has earned €125,379 from five events so far this season.
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2. CASEY'S COMEBACK CONTINUES: Paul Casey continues to play decently on his return to the European Tour. The Englishman never really threatened the lead, but a 16th-place finish is respectable as ...
Miguel Angel Jimenez missed the cut in his first tournament back after a breaking a leg in a skiing accident, but the European Tour is probably just glad he’s back striding the fairways again.
The Euro Tour needs as many big names playing as possible. They’re starved of star players these days.
Jimenez returned scores of 76-74 in the Spanish Open at El Saler to miss the cut with ease. However, the key thing is he’s back.
The 49-year-old Spaniard set a European Tour record when he won the Hong Kong Open last November. He became the oldest winner on the European Tour at 48 years and 318 days, beating the previous record held by Des Smyth. The Irishman was 48 years and 34 days old when he won the 2001 Madeira Island Open.
Jimenez hasn’t had a chance since to add to his tally of 19 European Tour victories. He broke his leg skiing last December and has been in rehab ever since.
“My leg is improving daily,” the Spaniard said. “I work out every morning in the gym and I’m actually a little ahead of schedule on my rehab. I am not 100 ...
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