Satoshi Kodaira comes from 6 shots back to defeat Si Woo Kim in a playoff at the RBC Heritage. Kodaira mainly plays on the Japanese Tour but announced that he will take up full PGA Tour membership after this victory. Full scores
Leader in the Clubhouse
Teeing off 50 minutes ahead of the leaders, Satoshi Kodaira made 7 birdies on his way to a final-round 66. He then sat and watched Si Woo Kim make 3 back-nine bogies to back his way into a playoff. In the final round, Kodira was 9th in strokes gained off the tee and 3rd in strokes gained approaching the green, consistently putting himself in the correct position to attack Harbour Town. The win moves him to 27th in the world rankings, the second highest-ranked Japanese player to only Hideki Matsuyama.
Heading into the back nine, Si Woo Kim seemed to be on cruise control at Harbour Town. Then he shot a closing 38 to force a playoff, missing 4 putts under 8 feet on his way to the clubhouse. His performance was very much like your typical club member attempting to hold onto the B-flight championship.
This marked the fourth top 10 of the 2017-2018 season for the young South Korean. While he has had troubles with injuries in the past, Si Woo will no doubt be in the mix again shortly. He will defend his Players Championship title next month and then turn 23 years old later this summer.
IJP Design Shuts Down
Playing in his sixth event in a row, Ian Poulter held the lead heading into the final round. The 42-year-old hellraiser entered Sunday with a 45-hole bogey-free streak but made 6 bogies on his way to a closing 75. Poulter has risen to 29th in the world rankings, a far cry from last year when he played the Heritage as the 204th-ranked player. It is clear that the Englishman is on a mission to reinvigorate his career and potentially make Europe’s Ryder Cup team this fall.
A failed experiment
Bryson DeChambeau shot a second-round 64 to surge into the lead heading into the weekend. It was the first 36-hole lead of DeChambeau’s young career. Saturday was not one to remember. After an opening birdie, DeChambeau made a snowman triple bogey on the par-5 2nd and backed it up with two double bogeys on the back nine. The culprit was DeChambeau’s questionable choices around the green, which cost him 3.9 shots to the field. Yes you read that correctly, he lost 3.9 shots to the field on shots around the green. DeChambeau righted the equation on Sunday and shot a final-round 66 to finish in a tie for 3rd, one shot out of the Kim-Kodaira playoff. It was DeChambeau’s 3rd top 5 of the season and his second top-4 finish at Harbour Town in his three appearances.
Architecture Takes Center Stage
The Heritage tournament always brings up the topic of golf course architecture. Harbour Town is one of the few tracks that puts a premium on position off the tee in order to set up the correct angles. Unsurprisingly, many of the players in the top ten had great strokes gained off the tee numbers. There are many schools of thought on what makes a great golf course, but strategic interest is always the common denominator.
A couple years ago, we got many of the great architecture minds to give their opinion on what makes good golf course architecture. Read that story here.
Not so Live (under par)
Due to weather concerns, tee times for the final round at Harbour Town were pushed up to the early morning. With NBA and NHL playoffs going on, viewership for the RBC Heritage on Sunday would have been low regardless. Still, viewers were not given an option to tune into any live coverage Sunday morning. Instead, CBS ran tape delay coverage at the normally scheduled times. Sports are meant to be shown live, period.
Entering Sunday two shots back of the leaders, Jon Rahm shot a final-round 67 to win the European Tour’s Open de Espana. This was an emotional week for Rahm, who made it very clear that he wanted to win his home country’s event. Rahm now has 5 wins and 17 top 15s in 45 professional starts. 3 of Rahm’s wins have come on the European Tour, despite only making 6 starts on the Tour in his career.
Finishing runner-up was 24-year-old Irishman Paul Dunne. Dunne now has 3 straight top 10 finishes and is in a solid position to make a run at a Ryder Cup spot. His first professional win came last year during the British Masters, and he has amassed seven other top 25 finishes in his last 14 starts.
Golf course architecture talk
Golf course architect Andy Staples joins the podcast to discuss his career, municipal golf, Willie Park Jr, restorations and renovations, and much more. Listen to the podcast on iTunes, Stitcher or the website.
Campus Update with Will Knights
The final regular season collegiate events wrapped up this weekend.
At their home tournament, Arizona State used their home course advantage to outlast UNLV and one of the best fields of the year. The biggest story of this tournament was the team that finished 4th, Oklahoma State. OSU was looking for their 8th victory in a row but had to settle after a lackluster first two rounds. The Cowboys finished the year with 8 wins, a 3rd, and a 4th.
Vanderbilt also won their home tournament this weekend as they defeated SEC foe Alabama. This was the Commodores 4th victory of the season, and they now set their sights on the SEC tournament. Out east, Duke won its second tournament in a row with a victory at the Stitch Intercollegiate.
Be on the lookout this week for our conference preview article. We break down what to expect from the power 5 conferences, as well as information on how to follow all the action around the country.
Brooke Henderson won her sixth LPGA tour event with her win at the Lotte Championship in Hawaii.
Steve Flesch outlasted Bernhard Langer and Scott Parel in a playoff to win his first Champions Tour event.
The AT&T Byron Nelson account teamed up with Geoff Ogilvy to discuss the strategy of Trinity Forest. Check out some of their videos here.
Sergio Garcia and Ben Crenshaw teamed up to win the Member/Member tournament at Austin Golf Club.