Welcome to the November Pro Golf Wrap-Up – everything you need to know in the world of golf expertly curated by your friends at Global Golf Management.
The official U.S. golf calendar for 2017 ended with great stories and even greater drama. And most of that was supplied by the LPGA and its final event, the CME Group Tour Championship at Tiburon Golf Club at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort in Naples, Fla.
There were a lot of winners that came out of the season’s final women’s tournament, starting with Ariya Jutanugarn, who birdied the final two holes to edge Lexi Thompson and Jessica Korda by a stroke. Jutanigarn, who won the 2016 Race to the CME Globe, finished at 15-under 273 after a closing 67. Thompson and Korda also shot 67 in the final round.
Thompson missed a 2-foot par putt on the 18th that would have at least gotten her in a playoff. “Crazy things happen like that,” she said. “I’ll move on.” She gets to move on with a sweet consolation prize, the season-long CME Race to the Globe title worth $1 million. Thompson also won the Vare Trophy for lowest scoring average.
Meanwhile, Thompson’s miss had other ramifications, namely the Rolex Player of the Year Award.
For the first time, two players shared the award: U.S. Open winner Sung Hyun Park and So Yeon Ryu, who won the Ana Inspiration. Park, with two wins on the season also was the top rookie, making her the first player since Nancy Lopez in 1978 to win both awards.
In other November LPGA play, Shanshan Feg ruled. The Chinese star was not to be denied in two Asian stops, winning both the Toto Japan Classic in Ibaraka, Japan, and the Blue Bay LPGA in her home country, in Hainan Island. Feng beat Ai Suzuki by two strokes in the former to defend her title, the only repeat winner on the LPGA in 2017.
In the latter, in Hainan Island, Feng edged Morija Jutanugarn by a stroke. The victories were her second and third of the year. She now has nine career wins.
On the PGA TOUR, breakthroughs were all the rage with Patrick Cantlay, Patton Kizzire and Austin Cook each earning his first win.
Cantlay, who has fought back from a long battle with a bad back to compete on the TOUR again, rallied to win the Shriners Hospital for Children Open at TPC Summerlin in Las Vegas. His final-round 67 earned him a spot in a playoff with Alex Cejka and Whee Kim, and a par on the second extra hole was good for the victory. All three men posted 9-under 275 amid windy conditions in Las Vegas, and Cantlay was the last man standing.
In Mexico, it was Kizzire’s turn, and he played near flawless golf on a 36-hole final day to hold off Rickie Fowler. Kizzire closed with rounds of 66-67 at El Camaleon Golf Club to finish at 19-under 265, one better than Fowler, who got an unofficial win at the Hero World Challenge at the beginning of December.
Cook’s victory at the RSM Classic was a terrific feel-good story to finish up the fall portion of the TOUR’s 2017-18 season.
Cook, a 26-year-old rookie, victory at the RSM Classic was a terrific feel-good story to finish up the fall portion of the TOUR’s 2017-18 season.
With a 3-under 67 at the windy Seaside Course at Sea Island Club on St. Simons Island, Ga., Cook became the second straight rookie to win this event. He completed 72 holes at 17-under 261 and eased past J.J. Spaun by four strokes.
Stay tuned here and on Global Golf Management Twitter for next month’s Pro Golf Wrap-Up.