AUGUST PRO GOLF WRAP-UP
Presented by Global Golf Management
The final PGA Championship to be conducted in August – at least for the foreseeable future – highlighted an intriguing month of golf on the PGA TOUR and the LPGA Tour. And what a PGA Championship it turned out to be, with Brooks Koepka holding off a rejuvenated Tiger Woods on August 12 to win the PGA’s 100th edition staged at Bellerive Country Club in St. Louis.
Though he only owns four PGA TOUR titles (to go with a number of international titles), Koepka proved again that he is a major player above all else, winning his second major of the year and third in the last six in which he has competed. The Florida native, who successfully defended his U.S. Open title in June at Shinnecock Hills, fired a final-round 4-under 66 and posted 16-under 264 to defeat a charging Woods by two strokes and former Masters winner Adam Scott by three on a steamy afternoon.
Koepka, 28, became just the fifth player in history to win the U.S. Open and the PGA Championship in the same year. He joins this list:
- Gene Sarazen, 1922
- Ben Hogan, 1948
- Jack Nicklaus, 1980
- Tiger Woods, 2000
He also became the third player in the last five years to win multiple majors in one season, joining Jordan Spieth in 2015 and Rory McIlroy in 2014. He rose to No. 2 in the world behind Dustin Johnson.
“Three majors at 28 … it’s a cool feeling,” Koepka said.
“It’s tough to beat when the guy hits it 340 down the middle,” Woods said. “What he did at Shinnecock, just bombing it, and then he’s doing the same thing here. … And when a guy’s doing that and hitting it straight, and as good a putter as he is, it’s tough to beat.”
Other August winners on the PGA TOUR were Justin Thomas, Brandt Snedeker, who joined the 59 club at the Wyndham Championship and Bryson DeChambeau. Meanwhile, on the LPGA, Georgia Hall stole the headlines by winning the Ricoh Women’s British Open, Brooke Henderson made a bit of history history, and Sung Hyun Park won her third title of the year.
Thomas kicked off the month of August with an emotional victory at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational in Akron, Ohio, carding a 1-under 69 at Firestone Country Club’s South Course to defeat Kyle Stanley by four strokes. Thomas, 25, won for the third time this season thanks to a 15-under 265 total, and he got emotional on the 18th green after seeing his grandparents, Paul and Phyllis Thomas, in the gallery. He had never won on the PGA TOUR with his grandfather, a former PGA professional, in attendance.
“When I had my putt, I kind of marked it and I turned around and I just happened to see my parents, saw my grandma and grandpa, and I just got a huge knot in my throat, and I just had to put my head down,” Thomas said. “I never have gotten like that on the golf course before. I wanted to win for them so bad. You just don’t know if they’re ever going to see me win if I don’t win here, so it was pretty cool to get it done.”
Snedeker was in control of the Wyndham Championship from the outset, after firing an 11-under 59 in the opening round at Sedgefield Country Club to become the 10thman to break 60 on the PGA TOUR.
Snedeker shot a final-round 65 to finish 72 holes in 21-under 259 to win the Wyndham Championship for the second time. He defeated Webb Simpson and C.T. Pan by three shots for his ninth career title.
DeChambeau, who won the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide in June, won his first FedExCup Playoff event at The Northern Trust.
After a final-round 2-under 69, the Californian posted 18-under 266 at Ridgewood Country Club in Paramus, N.J. that was good for a four-stroke win over Tony Finau.
Georgia Hall became the first Englishwoman since Karen Stupples in 2004 to win the Ricoh Women’s British Open when she fired a closing 5-under 67 at Royal Lytham & St. Annes to beat Pornanong Phatlum of Thailand by two strokes on August 5. A 22-year-old rookie, Hall finished at 17-under 271 for her first LPGA title.
Hall became the 19thdifferent winner on the LPGA Tour this year and she is the third rookie in as many seasons to win a major title.
“I don’t think it’s sunk in yet,” said Hall. “I just told myself to stay calm the whole way and not think about anything. I thought I would cry but … no, I’m just over the moon.”
In Indianapolis, Ind., Park captured the Indy Women in Tech Championship Driven by Group 1001, defeating Lizette Salas in a playoff after the pair completed 72 holes in 23-under 265 at Brickyard Crossing Golf Course. The South Korean shot a closing 68 to tie Salas, who had a 70.
The South Korean returned to No. 1 in the Rolex World Rankings after she birdied the first playoff hole to defeat Salas for her third win of the year. “I’m very honored to be ranked number one and I hope to maintain that ranking for a long time,” said Park, who held the top spot for one week in 2017.
With a final-round 65, New Jersey native Alex erased a six-stroke deficit and captured her first LPGA victory at the 2018 Cambia Portland Classic at Columbia Edgewater Country Club. The 28-year-old New Jersey native carded eight birdies on Sunday to end up at 19-under 269, four strokes clear of Hall, the 54-hole leader, who had a closing 3-over 75.
“It’s been a lot of hard work,” said Alex, 28, in her fifth LPGA season, who used defending Portland champion Stacy Lewis’ caddie Travis Wilson while Lewis is on maternity leave. “I haven’t been in a ton of contention situations. A few here and there. But I really just didn’t know how to handle them, and I learned the best that I can. I’m just really happy.”