In Case You Missed It / Weekend Recap 6/2/13
The Memorial Tournament – Muirfield Village, Dublin, Ohio
Matt Kuchar (-12) wins 2013 Memorial Tournament
The Memorial Tournament is notably one of the most difficult events on the PGA Tour, not only because it draws one of the strongest fields every year, but the course itself demands precision ball striking and a deft touch with the putter in order to succeed. The greens are also among the fastest the players see all season, save for perhaps the majors. Matt Kuchar was able to tame the Sunday conditions quite well, missing only one fairway and two greens all day, and finished in style by sinking a 16-foot putt for birdie on 18. The tee-to-green accuracy allowed him to build a four-shot lead, ultimately winning by two over Kevin Chappell (-10). The win is the second of this season (the other coming at the WGC Accenture Match Play), joining Tiger Woods as the only other multiple tournament winners in 2013, and moves him up to 4th in the World Golf Rankings – both career firsts. With the exception of Woods and his four wins, Kuchar has certainly been the most consistent on tour in 2013. The win today came on the heels of a 2nd place finish last week at the Crowne Plaza (where he had the 54-hole lead before a streaking Boo Weekly edged him by one stroke), and it was his sixth top-10 finish in 14 events so far. He will certainly be considered one of the favorites at the U.S. Open in two weeks, and will look to finally add a major to a win resume that, in addition to his two victories this year at marquee events, also has the 2012 Players Championship on it.
Other notable finishes:
T8. Justin Rose (-4)
T13. Adam Scott (-3)
T16. Hunter Mahan (-2)
T21. Luke Donald (-1)
T29. Bubba Watson (E)
T37. Ernie Els (+2)
T37. Rickie Fowler (+2)
T50. Keegan Bradley (+4)
T57. Rory McIlroy (+6)
T65. Tiger Woods (+8)
Tiger Woods Shoots Professional-Worst 9-Hole Score on Saturday; Finishes Tournament +8/20 shots behind
Despite starting off with three birdies in the first five holes, Tiger Woods had an otherwise forgettable third round Saturday, shooting 44 on the back 9 on his way to finishing with a 79. The 44 is a career-worst over 9 holes for Tiger, and the 79 is his third-highest score as a professional. That back 9 score included two double bogeys (at 12 & 15), and an uncharacteristic triple bogey at 18.
On Sunday, Woods was no doubt expecting to have a better day, and while he was able to manage five birdies, he had two bogeys and yet another triple, finishing even par for the round. It was his worst result in a professional event since 2010, when he finished 78th at the no-cut WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. If you include events with a 36-hole cut, it was his worst finish since a 67th place at the 1997 Memorial.
PGA Tour Stat of the Day: Tiger’s Worst 9-Hole Scores http://www.pgatour.com/statsreport/2013/06/01/stat-of-the-day-woods-worst-nine-hole-scores.html
European Tour – Nordea Masters – Bro Hoff Slott, Stockholm, Sweden
Mikko Ilonen Cruises to Nordea Masters Win
Mikko Ilonen won his first European Tour title in six years on Sunday at the Nordea Masters, his second win at the event. His final round 69 gave him a tournament total of 21-under par, good for a three shot victory over Swedish native Jonas Blixt. Ilonen opened with a 70 on Thursday, but shot a 63 and 65 on Friday and Saturday, respectively, to get the 54-hole lead, and nobody came within two on Sunday as he wrapped up his third career Euro win.
Matteo Manassero continued his hot streak after winning the BMW PGA Championship last week by having a tie for the lead after one round with a 66, and then grabbing the sole lead after 36 holes with a 65 on Friday. Manassero came back to Earth a bit on the weekend, shooting a 1-under 71 Saturday, and 2-under 70 on Sunday. Swede natives Jonas Blixt (-18), Rikard Karlberg (-16), and Alexander Noren (-16) all played well, finishing 2nd, T4, T4, respectively.
NCAA Men’s National Championship
Alabama defeated Illinois soundly 4-1 on Sunday to capture its first-ever national championship in golf, a year removed from falling short to Texas in the 2012 final. Alabama’s squad was never really tested, winning three of the matches 6-and-5, 4-and-3, and 3-2. Illinois, who upset top-seeded California in the semi-final to earn a spot in today’s match, managed one point from its top player Thomas Pieters – a native of Belgium and 2012’s individual national champion. Pieters has announced his intention to turn pro after this season.
June is Pace of Play Month
The Golf Channel is taking the pace of play problem and dedicating an entire month to promoting steps every golfer of every skill level can take to speed up their round, even if by a few minutes. We can all benefit from this initiative, because we are all guilty of being slow at times and needing to pick it up. Many analysts consider the pace of play issue as one of, if not the, top deterrents for growing the game, and as Charlie Rymer puts it in his Mission Statement column (link below): if we all play faster golf, then we all get to play more golf. Take a moment and read these two articles on some small steps that can go a long way.
Quotes of the Week: http://www.golfchannel.com/news/grill-room/quotes-of-the-week-june-2-2013/
Top Photos of the Week: http://www.golfchannel.com/media/top-photos-of-the-week-june-2-2013/