Welcome to the April Pro Golf Wrap-Up – everything you need to know in the world of golf expertly curated by your friends at Global Golf Management.
Two first-time major champions were crowned in April, Patrick Reed at the Masters and Pernilla Lindbergh at the ANA Inspiration. Their performances headlined an entertaining month when one veteran broke through for his first win on the PGA TOUR in nine years and another won on the PGA TOUR for the first time in just his 15th start.
But before we get to that, consider what Reed did in winning his sixth PGA TOUR title and first major at Augusta National Golf Club. With a final-round 71, Reed completed 72 holes in 15-under 273 and bested Rory McIlroy, his final-round playing partner, and fellow Americans Rickie Fowler and Jordan Spieth.
Reed, 27, was making his 17th start in a major, and improved on his only other top-10 finish, a tie for second in last year’s PGA Championship. He shot three rounds in the 60s before his closing effort, just missing becoming the first player in Masters history to break 70 in all four rounds. He won $1.98 million and moved up to 11th in the world rankings.
“It’s almost impossible to put into words,” Reed said.
Tiger Woods, playing in the Masters for the first time since 2015, finished in a tie for 32nd at 1-over 289 after a 3-under 69 on Sunday.
Other winners on the PGA TOUR last month were Ian Poulter, Satoshi Kodaira of Japan, Andrew Landry and the team of Scott Piercy and Billy Horschel, who won the team event, the Zurich Classic of New Orleans with a stellar 5-under 67 the final day playing alternate shot.
Poulter’s victory in the Houston Open April 1 came via a playoff victory over rookie Beau Hossler at the Golf Club of Houston.
Poulter, 42, sank a 20-foot birdie putt on the 72ndhole to force overtime, and then won on the first extra hole with a routine par. It was the Englishman’s first win since the 2012 WGC-Dell Match Play Championship, and it was timely as he earned the final spot in the Masters. Both men closed with 5-under 67s and 19-under 269.
In San Antonio, Texas, Landry, who had a chance to win the 2016 U.S. Open while a member of the Web.com Tour, broke through in his 45thPGA Tour start by capturing the Valero Texas Open.
Landry, 30, shot a final-round 68 to hold off Sean O’Hair and Trey Mullinax, who also was seeking his first tour win.
A playoff loser to Jon Rahm earlier this season at the CareerBuilder Challenge, Landry didn’t come up short this time, finishing at 17-under 271 at TPC San Antonio. Zach Johnson, who began the day tied with Landry, ended up fifth.
The big surprise came in the RBC Heritage with the breakthrough of Kodaira in just his 15thTOUR event. He defeated Si Woo Kim, reigning champion of The Players Championship, on the third hole of a sudden death playoff with a 25-foot birdie putt.
Kodaira overcame a six-stroke deficit the final day with a closing 5-under 66 at Harbour Town Golf Links to finish at 12-under 272, while Kim, who had multiple chances to put the title away, closed with a 71. Kodaira immediately accepted his PGA TOUR membership with the victory.
On the LPGA Tour, the ANA Inspiration ended on April 2, taking an extra day because the competition was so intense. Playing in her 250th professional tournament, but Pernilla Lindberg defeated Olympic Gold Medalist and seven-time major winner Inbee Park on the eighth hole of a sudden-death playoff.
Lindberg became the fifth player to make the ANA Inspiration her first LPGA title after she and Park tied with Jennifer Song at 15-under 273 at Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, Calif.
The 31-year-old Swede, ranked 95th in the world, beat seven-time major winner Inbee Park in an absorbing eight-hole sudden-death playoff which finished Monday.
The pair had tied with American Jennifer Song at 15 under to take the event to a playoff for the second straight year.
Song exited at the third extra hole, but after floodlights were used to illuminate the green for a fourth hole, darkness prevailed to set the stage for a Monday shootout at Mission Hills, California.
And after three tight holes, Lindberg eventually holed a putt from 25 foot for birdie on the 10th green to beat the 29-year-old Olympic champion from South Korea.
Another first-time winner arrived at the HUGEL-JTBC LA Open when Moriya Jutanugarn defeated InBee Park and Jin Young Ko at Wilshire Country Club.
With a final-round 68, Jutanugarn won by two strokes with a 12-under 272 total and joined her sister Ariya as an LPGA winner. There have been eight sister pairs in LPGA history and the Jutanugarns are only the second with each sister owning a victory. The other tandem is Annika and Charlotta Sorenstam.
A more familiar face closed out the month with a playoff victory in the Mediheal Championship at Lake Merced Golf Club in San Francisco.
Former world No. 1 Lydia Ko, winless since 2016, defeated Minjee Lee on the first hole of a sudden-death playoff, and she did it with a fairway metal approach from 234 yards to 3 feet for the winning eagle on the par-5 18thhole.
The win for Ko, just days after her 21stbirthday, was the 15thof her young career. No player, female or male, has ever gotten 15 wins faster.
Stay tuned here and on Global Golf Management Twitter for next month’s Pro Golf Wrap-Up.