Welcome to the August Pro Golf Wrap-Up – everything you need to know in the world of golf expertly curated by your friends at Global Golf Management.
The month of August saw the cream rise to the top on the PGA TOUR in a quartet of meaningful events, including Justin Thomas’ command performance at the PGA Championship at Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte for his first major title and fourth win of the season.
But the feel-good inspirational story of the previous four weeks was the triumph by In-Kyung Kim capturing her first major title in the RICOH Women’s British Open at Kingsbarns in Fife, Scotland.
Beginning the final round with a six-stroke lead, Kim, 29, of South Korea, closed with a 1-under 71 and held off Jodi Ewart Shadoff by two strokes, who posted a 64. Kim finished at 18-under 270 to win $487,000 and a ton of redemption. Five years ago, Kim missed a 14-inch putt that cost her a victory in the Kraft Nabisco (now the Ana Inspiration). She ended up losing in a playoff to Sung Young Yoo.
There were no misses this time, however. “I cannot describe my feelings,” Kim said. “”I almost cried when I won. Winning is great.”
Michelle Wie closed with a 66 to tie for third with Caroline Masson (67) and Georgia Hall (70).
The other breakthrough major winner was Thomas, whose father and grandfather are PGA professionals. The Kentucky native rallied past Kevin Kisner to win the championship that means the most to his family, taking the Wanamaker Trophy thanks to a final-round 3-under 68. He finished at 8-under 278 for a two-stroke victory over Francesco Molinari, Louis Oosthuizen and Patrick Reed.
Kisner shot 74 after having a share of the lead in each of the first three rounds and ended up tied for seventh.
“I just had an unbelievable calmness throughout the week, throughout the day,” said Thomas, 24, who won $1.89 million. “I truly felt like I was going to win.”
Unbelievable was the performance of Hideki Matsuyama at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. Matsuyama was the favorite at the PGA Championship and had a chance to win until a final-round 72 at Quail Hollow.
But the week prior in Akron, Ohio, the Japanese star was spectacular with his closing 9-under-par 61 at rugged Firestone Country Club’s South Course, to win by four strokes over an elite field.
The following week at the Wyndham Championship in Greensboro, N.C., it was Henrik Stenson’s turn to shine. The highest-ranked player in the field at Sedgewick Country Club, the powerful Swede held on for his first win since his epic triumph in The Open Championship at Royal Troon last July, defeating rookie Ollie Schniederjans by a stroke in the last regular season event of the season.
Stenson, the 2013 FedExCup champion, had to go low to do it, shooting 22-under 258 that included a final-round 64. No one else was within three shots.
In the season’s first FedExCup Playoff event, world No. 1 Dustin Johnson rallied from five strokes down early in the final round and then beat British Open winner Jordan Spieth on the first hole of a sudden death playoff for victory in The Northern Trust in Old Westbury, N.Y. It was the fourth win of the season for Johnson, who earlier in the year saw injury scuttle his major championship hopes, as he outdueled Spieth in a battle of two of the most prominent Americans in the world.
Each finished at 13-under 267 with Johnson firing a 66 and Spieth 69. Johnson, 33, won it with a birdie on the first extra hole.
In other LPGA news, Sung Hyun Park of South Korea, the reigning U.S. Women’s Open champion, added to her career win total by shooting a final-round 7-under 64 in Ottawa, Canada, to win the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open. Park rallied from four back to defeat Mirim Lee by two strokes with a 13-under 271 total at the renovated Ottawa Golf & Hunt Club.
The other highlight of August was the Solheim Cup at Des Moines Country Club in Des Moines, Iowa, and the United States Team made captain Juli Inkster the second two-time winning captain with a 16 ½ to 11 ½ rout. USA leads the series 10-5.
California’s Lizette Salas sank a 4-foot putt for the winning point and Cristie Kerr led the USA in points, going 3-0-1 to earn 3.5 points to raise her all-time points total to 21, fourth most in history for America. Catriona Matthew earned 3 points for Europe and is third all-time on that team with 22 total points.
Stay tuned here and on Global Golf Management Twitter for next month’s Pro Golf Wrap-Up.