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.
April was a great month for first-time breakthroughs on the PGA Tour.
The big breakthrough, of course, was Sergio Garcia in the Masters Tournament. At 37, the famous El Nino had been 0-for-73 in major championships until his playoff victory over reigning Olympic gold medalist Justin Rose at Augusta National Golf Club.
But there were others in a month of new faces winning.
Kevin Chappell won the Valero Texas Open, and that was one victory many golf observers had been expecting eventually. Chappell had been close on several occasions in 2016, and he finally got his first PGA TOUR title in his 180th try. His 8-foot birdie putt on the 72nd hole was good for a one-stroke victory over Brooks Koepka.
Also winning for the first time in April was rookie Wesley Bryan at the RBC Heritage. He became the first native of South Carolina to win the event at Hilton Head, and the win was somewhat appropriate given that he watched his father George once compete in the popular event at Harbour Town Golf Links. Bryan, who finished at 13-under-par 271, beat Luke Donald by a stroke, handing the Englishman his fifth runner-up finish at Harbour Town. Bryan won in just his 18th start on the PGA TOUR.
Other winners in April were Russell Henley at the Shell Houston Open and Jonas Blixt and Cameron Smith. A closing 65 at the Golf Club of Houston gave Henley his third PGA TOUR title, and also a berth in the Masters Tournament. Meanwhile, the team of Blixt and Smith, the latter whom had never won on tour either, combined to win the Zurich Classic of New Orleans in the first official two-man event since 1981. The pair defeated Kevin Kisner and Scott Brown in a four-hole playoff on Monday.
April was a relatively quiet month on the LPGA Tour, except for Cristie Kerr. Thanks mainly to a blistering 62 in the third round, Kerr raced off with the Lotte Championship, defeating No. 1 Lydia Ko by three strokes at Ko Olina Golf Club in Honolulu. It was Kerr’s 19th career title as she broke the tournament record with a 20-under 268 total.
Two weeks later, she almost won a 20th. In windy conditions in Austin, Texas, Kerr rallied late on Sunday to force a playoff with Haru Nomura in the Volunteers of America Texas Shootout Presented by JTBC. In easily one of the more exciting events in memory, Nomura won on the sixth hole of a sudden death playoff after each player finishing at 3-under 281 at Las Colinas Country Club amid winds whipping to 40 mph.
2017 Champion Haru Nomura
Stay tuned here and on Global Golf Management Twitter for next month’s Pro Golf Wrap-Up.