Donning a new plaid jacket
Brendan Grace entered the RBC Heritage as the world’s 14th-ranked player with 11 worldwide victories but still flew under the radar as far as favorites to win. On Sunday, Grace was able to get a monkey off his back using a Sunday best 66 to come from 3 shots back and win at Harbour Town, his first-ever PGA Tour title. Grace used precise wedge shots on Sunday to make 7 birdies in his first 13 holes, surging past 54-hole leader Luke Donald who finished in a tie for 2nd with Russell Knox 2 shots back.
With the win, Grace moves to x in the world rankings and is now on the short list of best players in the world without a major championship win.
The bigger story of the week
Despite Grace’s win, the big story of the week was the impressive professional debut of Bryson DeChambeau, who fired a final-round 68 to finish in a tie for 4th. DeChambeau showed his ball-striking prowess, leading the field in the strokes gained tee-to-green statistic at the difficult Harbour Town setup. It was a clutch final round for DeChambeau as the top 10 finish earns him a spot in next week’s Valero Texas Open and a check for $259,600. The rookie had planned to use a sponsor’s exemption for next week’s event, which he can now save for later. The prize money moves him just under $400,000 shy of earning exempt status for the remainder of the season.
2016 has been a rough season for former Masters champion Mike Weir, who has failed to make a cut in 24 consecutive starts and is playing on the PGA Tour through a major medical extension. This week, the vet shot an opening-round 78 and promptly withdrew, citing the flu and rubbing PGA Tour rookie Dawie van der Walt the wrong way. Van der Walt tweeted, “Gota love a guy who gets an invite into a tour event and then WD after the first round #hangitupmike.” He later deleted the tweet, but his frustration is understandable as the pro (who was the 2nd alternate for this week’s event) didn’t get a chance to compete because of Weir.
The plot thickened as Weir was then spotted at a Scottsdale golf course on Friday afternoon taking a photo with one of the fried egg’s own members….must have been a quick recovery.
Not his Day
World number 1 Jason Day entered Saturday’s round in a tie for 1st and looked primed for a 3rd win in 4 starts. Unfortunately for Day, he moved the wrong way on Moving Day, shooting an 8-over-par 79 to slide from 1st to 40th. Day came back on Sunday, shooting a solid 68 to climb back into 24th place and describing the week as “three great rounds and one really, really poor round.”
Englishman Andrew Johnston (not to be confused with the author of the fried egg) was able to capture the Spanish Open for his first European Tour title. Aptly called “Beef,” Johnston grinded out a victory at the tough Valderrama with a winning total of +1, the first over-par winning score at a non-major since 1981. Beef outlasted world-class players Joost Luiten and Sergio Garcia (who finished 2nd and 3rd) and spoke afterwards of his plans to “get hammered” in celebration of his win.
Outside of Beef, the real winner this week was the course itself, Valderrama, which showed its teeth as one of the world’s best championship golf courses. Unfortunately for golf fans, its location in Spain doesn’t allow for a major championship to ever be hosted on its grounds.
Golf course photo tour
Some call it the Cypress Point of the east coast. Fishers Island Club is one of the world’s best golf courses and most exclusive clubs. It was Seth Raynor’s last design as he passed away just weeks before the project’s completion, and it is regarded as one of his best. Raynor was able to route the course masterfully, incorporating the ocean on 12 of the 18 holes. Click here to check out a full tour of the world’s 18th best golf course.