No gimmies

For the second consecutive year, Jhonattan Vegas came from behind to win the RBC Canadian Open. After firing a 7-under 65 on Sunday, Vegas found himself in a playoff with 54-hole leader Charley Hoffman. Vegas won on the first hole with a birdie at the very reachable par-5 18th. Full scores

The win marks the fourth time we’ve seen a winner defend his title in the 2016-17 PGA Tour season. The first came with Justin Thomas defending at the CIMB Classic in Malaysia. Hideki Matsuyama won again on Super Bowl Sunday at the Waste Management. Daniel Berger accomplished the feat at the FedEx St. Jude last month.

Vegas had everything going at Glen Abbey, finishing in the top 15 in strokes gained: off the tee, approach and putting.

The key to contention: The Bludgeon

Outside of Ian Poulter, Sunday's leaderboard showcased one common skill: lengthy drives. Outside of Poulter, everyone in the top 9 finished in the top 25 in driving distance for the event. The lengthy tee shots allowed the leaders to take advantage of the five par 5s at Glen Abbey.

Looking further, none of the leaders ranked inside the top 20 in fairways hit. In my opinion, that's not championship golf. There needs to be a balance, where tee shots that don't find the fairway are penalized in a proper manner. Glen Abbey’s light rough and set up did not do that this year and it led to a lack of balance and diversity in the leaders.

Movers and shakers

With three events left in the regular season, some players made big moves to get within the top 125 of the FedExCup standings.

Brandon Hagy started the week 129th in the FEC and with his T5 moved to 108th. The rookie's performance should lock up his spot in the playoffs and his card for the 2017-18 season.

Also finishing T5 was Robert Garrigus, who moved from 131st to 109th. Barring a multitude of statistical anomalies, the veteran's spot is locked up.

Another rookie, Seamus Power made a big move towards keeping his card with his T10 finish. Power entered the week 140th in FEC and moved one spot out of the magic number to 126th.

Heading into the day Sam Saunders received a fair amount of attention from the Golf Channel (his grandfather Arnold Palmer’s first win came at the Canadian Open). Saunders struggled Sunday, shooting an even-par 72 to fall from 5th to 19th. The move hurt his chances for a spot in the top 125. Saunders’ performance moved him from 143rd to 137th in the standings. Saunders will need at least one more top-10 finish to earn a spot in the playoffs and avoid the Tour Finals.

Low Canadian

Mackenzie Hughes shot a final-round 68 to finish in a tie for 30th and grab low-Canadian honors. Hughes finished two better than fellow Canadian Graham DeLaet. Of the 17 Canadians in the field, Hughes and DeLaet were the only ones to make the cut at Glen Abbey.

German Excellence

Bernhard Langer won the Senior Open Championship to capture his 10th senior major. Langer shot 4 under for the tournament and won by three over Corey Pavin. The two were the only players who broke par at Royal Porthcawl. Langer's unprecedented run is one of the more underappreciated stories in golf. He finished 2014, 2015 and 2016 first in scoring average, birdie average, par breakers, earnings and score in majors and is on pace to do it again this year. His dominant stretch begs the question of how Langer would rank on the PGA Tour, even at age 59.

Drama at the US Girls Junior

One of the big stories and controversies of the weekend came from the U.S. Girls Junior Amateur. Erica Shepherd defeated  Elizabeth Moon on the first playoff hole of their semifinal match. It wasn't Shepherd's win but rather the manner of her win that drew controversy. Moon had a short birdie putt to win and missed. Without concession from Shepherd, Moon raked the ball back. This led to a penalty and loss of hole and match to Shepherd.

Retroactively, Shepherd attempted to give the short 4-inch putt to Moon and continue the match but USGA officials wouldn't allow it.

The way the Moon-Shepherd match ended drew a deep schism in the golf world. It's a tough situation for anyone to find themselves in, let alone 17-year-old girls. Moon violated the rules and from a black and white perspective, Shepherd was correct. In the spirit of competition, it’s sad to see such an important match end in that manner. The video shows that Shepherd had only a few moments to "give" Moon the putt before she raked it back.

A different JS

Jordan Smith birdied the second playoff hole to win the Porsche European Open. Smith traded blows all day with defending champion Alexander Levy. Levy came from two back of Smith and had a short birdie putt on the first playoff hole to win, but missed, giving Smith a second chance.

The rookie Smith has enjoyed a nice ascension up the golf ranks over the past two years. In 2015, Smith was the Order of Merit winner on the EuroPro Tour. Last year, he won the Challenge Tour's Road to Oman. Now Smith is a European Tour winner and in 18th in the season-long Race to Dubai Standings.

Former USC star and Walker Cup hopeful Sean Crocker finished in a tie for 33rd. Crocker's final round 74 cost him a chance to finish inside the top 10. Expect to see more of Crocker's name – last year's Porter Cup champion plans to turn pro following the Walker Cup.

Locking up a card

A Thursday rainout forced the Web Tour's Digital Ally Open to play 36 holes on Sunday. 20-year-old Chinese native Marty Dou took advantage, firing rounds of 61-66 to win by three. The win locked up Dou's PGA Tour card for 2017-18, moving him to 15th on the money list. With Dou and 21-year-old Haotong Li, China is showing signs of becoming a major player in the golf world.

Finishing runner-up to Dou was the trio of Kyle Thompson, Luke Guthrie and Billy Kennerly. While Thompson already had locked up his spot inside the top 25 on the money list, the week was huge for Guthrie and Kennerly.  Guthrie left the top 75 bubble and inched within striking distance of the top 25, moving from 74th to 37th.  Kennerly moved from well outside the top 75 to safely in, going 94th to 47th.

Midwest Cup

Minnesota's Danny Anderson fired a final-round 66 to win the individual title at the Midwest Cup. Anderson's three day total of -8 was one better than the trio of Bradley Lane, Andy Jacobsen and Justin Burleson. Despite, Anderson's strong Sunday Team Minnesota fell short of Missouri. With seven of 10 players finishing T19 or better Missouri was a deserving champion.

Quick hooks

The Canadian Open Tournament Director was fired midweek for reasons unknown.

Chappell swings and misses.

Hoffman gets relief...from a bunker liner?

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Playing through the night

Earlier this year, Soly trekked up north of the Arctic Circle to play golf at Lofoten Links. With 24-hour daylight, he was able to play through the middle of the night on a stunning seaside track. Read about his experience here.


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