Rahm Wins Hero World Challenge PDF Print E-mail


Jon Rahm celebrates with tournament host Tiger Woods after winning at Albany

Nassau, Bahamas - Jon Rahm turned a potential final round shootout into

a four stroke drubbing of the field after his final round 65 (20 under par

total) at Albany Golf Club.


Starting Sunday's final round tied with Tony Finau and Henrik Stenson,

Rahm continued his domination on the par-5's, making birdie on all five

at Albany (he finished 13 under par for the week on the par-5's alone). The

biggest momentum shift of the final round came at the 291 yard drivable

par-4 fourteenth. Finau pulled his 3 wood tee shot into the sand, making

a mess of a very get-able hole (double-bogey), meanwhile Rahm capitalized,

making birdie for a three-stroke swing. He never looked back, it was Rahm's

3rd career PGA Tour win and his sixth global victory.


After a sloppy front nine 40, tournament host Tiger Woods righted the ship

slightly to shoot a final round 73 (finishing in 17th, one shot ahead of last

place finisher Hideki Matsuyama).


When Tony Finau's birdie putt at the last dropped to reach -16, it kept

Justin Rose from finishing tied for 2nd (and re-capturing the No.1 ranking)

after his 65 tied Rahm for the low round of the day.












Charles Howell III Wins RSM McGladrey PDF Print E-mail


Charles Howell celebrates after winning at Sea Island

St.Simons Island, Georgia - Charles Howell began Sunday with a one

stroke lead heading into the final round. It was Howell's sixth time

holding the 54 hole lead, where he was 0 for 5 in the previous attempts

to close the deal. It looked as if Sunday at the RSM McGladrey on Sea

Island would end the same way after Howell rinsed his tee shot right

on the 458 yard par 4 - second hole. He stood 3 back on the third tee

(after just making double-bogey 6) and wondered if he'd blown another

chance to close on the PGA Tour.



Then he birdied the fifth and sixth holes, followed by another at the

tenth. Howell got another on the par 5 fifteenth, followed by a lengthy

18 foot putt on the next. A stiff tee shot on the par 3 seventeenth

yielded yet another. The putt to reach 20 under par and the outright win

on the 72nd hole barely missed (finishing with a 3 under par 67 - 261

total) sending him into a playoff with Patrick Rodgers who also finished

at 19 under par (after firing a final round 8 under par 62). After both

players missed their birdie chances on the first playoff hole, Howell

made a 15 footer on the second sudden death hole to win again. It was

Charles Howell III's first triumph in over a decade, and to say he was

both elated and relieved would be an understatement. "Quite honestly,

I didn't know if I would ever win again," Howell said. "I had come up

short so many times."


After 529 PGA Tour events and 16 runner-up finishes Charles Howell III

has won for third time in his career. With the victory Howell jumped 61

spots into the lead in the Fedex Cup Standings.


Webb Simpson finished solo third at 18 under par after a Sunday 65 left

him one shot out of the playoff.















Kuchar Wins Mayakoba Classic PDF Print E-mail


Matt Kuchar shows off the hardware after winning the Mayakoba Golf Classic

Playa Del Carmen, Mexico - It had been a long drought for Matt Kuchar, in

fact his last victory came at the RBC Heritage at Harbour Town on April 20th,

2014. Four and a half years of near misses and close calls - none bigger than

the 2017 Open Championship where Kuchar was clipped by a vintage Jordan

Spieth performance at Royal Birkdale. 2018 was declared a disappointment

after Kuchar narrowly missed on qualifying for the Tour Championship and the

Ryder Cup in Paris. But after he rattled in his 3 ft putt on the 18th Sunday (for

a final round 69) some relief and redemption was felt by the 40 year-old tour

veteran. "It feels extra sweet having to kind of had to suffer through a year of

not playing great in 2018," Kuchar said. "Being four years removed since my

last victory, I realize how difficult it is to win on the PGA Tour."


Starting the day with a four-shot lead was essential, since closing the deal

proved tougher than Kuchar expected. After making bogey on holes 14 & 15

Kuchar made three straight pars to finish at 22 under par, one better than

Danny Lee who shot a final round 65 to finish a shot back.


Kuchar opened with rounds of 64-64-65 with local club caddie David

"Toucan" Ortiz on the bag (John Wood, Kuchar's regular tour looper was

attending a reunion). For Ortiz, who caddies regularly at El Camaleon Golf

Club, it was a dream come true - he was in tears as he was being inundated

with congratulations beside the 18th green as Kuchar signed the flag that

will commemorate their victorious week together.


The win gets Kuchar back to Kapalua in January for the Sentry Tournament

of Champions. The Tour heads east to Kuchar's neighborhood at Sea Island

this week for the RSM McGladdery Classic.













Streamsong Continues Its Ascent as a Golf Mecca PDF Print E-mail


Story and photos by Jason Bruno

Just over a year after the official opening of Streamsong Resort's third

layout - Gil Hanse's Black Course, we returned to the resort to check

out the scene at the only destination on earth that can lay claim to a

portfolio of linksy landscapes crafted by the design teams of Tom Doak,

Coore Crenshaw and Hanse (with Jim Wagner).




By now you probably already know the story, but for us it began back in

May of 2012 when we toured the Red & Blue courses with original Project

Manager Tom Sunnarborg during the turf grow-in period (8 months before

the official opening), it was obvious that Streamsong was already well

beyond extraordinary long before a round had ever been played. It's been

nearly six years since we watched Coore, Crenshaw, Doak (and the man

with the vision behind it all) Mosaic's Rich Mack hit the ceremonial opening

tee shots. Sandscapes draped with enormous dunes left to evolve in nature

after phosphate mining was completed several decades ago - discarded by

one industry only to become a masterpiece in another. All themed in width

and angles on the firmest Bermuda turf you could imagine. For any avid

linkster either living in or traveling to the Sunshine State, it was and still

is hard to fathom this was even a possibility in Central Florida, and perhaps

the best part - Rich Mack made sure that it was accessible to everyone who

could make the trek to this remote location in Polk County.







After the initial opening of those 36 holes and the resort's lodge, Streamsong

could have rested on the accolades (both Red & Blue courses reaching Top

100 ranking status), but they didn't. Mack's vision moved forward another

notch, hiring Hanse to design the Black Course, which was largely a flat

parcel that lacked the built-in features given to Doak and Coore/Crenshaw

previously. What came out of the process was a big and bold Aussie sandbelt

style design, a two-acre putting course called "The Gauntlet" and 7 hole par 3

gem dubbed the "The Roundabout". It's an obsessed golfers dream hangout,

an anything goes practice spot that can be played from different tees to a

variety of hole locations. Easily one of our new personal favorite vibes in golf.





As pure as it gets, this par 3 playground allows and encourages Play

from any teeing ground to the target you desire. We could have spent

an entire day on Gil Hanse's eclectic 1,688 yard 7 hole beauty. The fourth

hole pictured above is the longest of the lot playing 160 yds over a gully

that fronts the green.






For those who have yet to visit the resort, allow for some links creativity in

your game. Although not a true links entity based on its inland location, the

3 routings provide plenty of proper "ground game" options. High spinning

lob wedge shots around these green complexes are often the toughest to pull

off, especially when a flatstick can be used from nearly anywhere within

50 yards. The likelihood of losing a golf ball is slim due to very generous

fairway widths throughout. Playability and options keep all players in the

game, while rewarding those with the skill set to pull off shots that reward

a better angle of approach. Firm and fast is the theme here, tight lies are

the norm, and although each layout at the resort has evolved from the same

minimalist ethos, that's where the similarities end. Each differs in how it

challenges you to score.




Blue 10th green complex




The Blue is a bombers paradise, but inside 100 yards and on the par 3's it's

a completely different story. Extreme bunkering that guards many tucked pin

locations requires a deft combination of pinpoint accuracy and creativity on

Doak's large confounding surfaces. This combined with tight Bermuda lies

in greenside swales makes saving par the exam equivalent of trying to destroy

a horcrux. For those who are genuine links enthusiasts or who want to express

their inner "Seve", the Blue is likely your flavor of choice.








Biarritz par 3 - 16th on the Red Course


The Red has been called by many as their favorite routing at the resort, and

with good reason. Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw created a superb blend of

visual stimuli from each tee box, all while challenging the ball striker in you

at the same time. The green surrounds require a fair bit of imagination, but

without torturing your scorecard. If you strike it relatively well, you will have

chances to score all day on the Red. Holes 15 thru 18 are without a doubt

the best closing stretch at Streamsong. After numerous trips around each

over the last half dozen years, the Red has emerged as my personal choice.







Punchbowl 9th on the Black







Black 12th




Gil Hanse and Jim Wagner's Black Course is every bit as unique as the first

two designs at the resort, perhaps even more so. The vibe at the Black

Course complex (which is located just a brief 2 minute ride from the lodge)

is one the great scenes in American resort golf. The streamlined horizontal

clubhouse framed in black is home to the Pro Shop & Bone Valley Tavern.

The "Gauntlet" (a two putting course), along with the "Roundabout" and

driving range are all also part of the expansive Black Course compound.


As for the course design, it very well may be the best and most memorable

at the resort. Similar to Blue in that each challenge comes as you get closer

to your target, the green surrounds and putting surfaces on the Black are all

one height of cut (meaning the greens will appear and play larger than anything

you've probably ever previously seen or experienced. After our second spin on

the Black, I understand what many have expressed to me regarding their

frustration with the scale and severity of the greens undulations. Colleague

Ryan Adams (PGA Magazine) and I agreed that the Hanse team may need to

come back and modify a half dozen or so greens (for example the magnificent

uphill par 3 - 5th has very few truly playable pin locations, and the par 4 - 13th

(that has two greens), needs its left green to be completely redesigned, It's too

severe for its own good. The finishing 18th is a masterful hole design, but the

green is just too shallow to hold even a high soft approach with a long iron or

hybrid. However, designs like the short uphill par 4 - 2nd and the "Punchbowl"

9th are priceless gems that make the Black an absolute must play. With a few

needed tweaks the Black can be even better and more playable. Be sure when

you walk off of the Punchbowl to stop by the "Tin Can" and order the lobster &

shrimp roll, you can thank me later.






The "Tin Can" halfway house at Streamsong Black







*My outside the box suggestion on how to get the most enjoyment when

playing the Black Course - play your round with friends in a match play,

best-ball or skins game format. If you're going to play in traditional

grind it out stroke play, just be prepared to have more 3 (and 4) putts

than you may have ever experienced.






photo courtesy of Streamsong Resort

The lodging accommodations and resort cuisine at Fifty-Nine, P205 and Bone

Valley Tavern were spot on as always. Director of Golf Scott Wilson and his

staff continue to provide a truly superb golf experience. Whichever layout you

favor, it's a given that you'll leave the resort knowing that you just experienced

one the world's true golf meccas. We can't wait to see what Rich Mack and the

folks at Streamsong have in store for the next chapter . . .












Photo courtesy of Streamsong Resort


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