Expert picks: AT&T National

By Golf Channel DigitalJune 27, 2012, 12:30 pm

This week the PGA Tour heads to Washington, D.C. as Congressional CC plays host to the AT&T National for the first time since 2009. Nick Watney defends his title against a field that includes Jim Furyk, Hunter Mahan and Tiger Woods. Each week a panel of experts will offer up their picks from four groups of players based on Golf Channel's new fantasy game, Fantasy Challenge. We will also keep track of their scores and standings. The panel consists of: senior writers Rex Hoggard, Randall Mell and Jason Sobel; contributors John Hawkins and Win McMurry; editorial director Jay Coffin;'s Rob Bolton; 'Morning Drive' host Gary Williams; and Golf Talk Central contributor Ryan Ballengee.

Rex Hoggard

Group 1: Tiger Woods: The last time he played Congressional in 2009 he ranked 93rd in driving accuracy, 71st in greens in regulation and 35th in total putting. He won by a stroke. Coming into this week's event he's 32nd in driving accuracy, ninth in greens in regulation and 15th in total putting. You do the math.

Group 2: Brendon de Jonge: It's been another workmanlike year for de Jonge, who has made 16 of 19 cuts and has five top-25 finishes, but closing rounds of 65-66-66 at the Travelers Championship suggests he may be ready to take the next step.

Group 3: Davis Love III: The U.S. Ryder Cup captain continues a strong summer season this week on a course where he finished T-11 in last year's U.S. Open. If his recent form holds, announcing his assistant captains on Wednesday may not be the only news DLIII makes this week.

Group 4: Patrick Cantlay: The newly-minted professional got off to a rough start last week at TPC River Highlands, but he has good vibes at Congressional - where he took low amateur honors during last year's U.S. Open - and too much talent to be in Group 4.

Ryan Ballengee

Group 1: Tiger Woods: He is twice a winner this year and the champion when the AT&T National was last played at Congressional.

Group 2: Rory Sabbatini: The South African is starting to find confidence in his work with Rick Smith, including a T-2 at Memorial to Tiger Woods.

Group 3: Bryce Molder: Molder is playing pretty well of late and has two top-eight finishes in his last three AT&T National starts.

Group 4: David Mathis: More of a pick based on current form, as Mathis has five top-25 finishes since April.

Gary Williams

Group 1: Hunter Mahan: Mahan has won twice this year and he ended his Travelers Championship with a bang by shooting a final-round 61 on Sunday. In three AT&T National starts from 2007-2009 at Congressional, he has not finished out of the top 12 and was runner-up in 2009.

Group 2: Rory Sabbatini: After a rough start to his 2012 season, Sabbatini is showing signs of life as seen by his runner-up finish in the Memorial and a T-18 showing last week. This is his first appearance in the AT&T National but he has had success in the D.C. area before, winning the Booz Allen Classic in Bethesda in 2003.

Group 3: Kevin Chappell: Chappell made a splash at Congressional in 2011, finishing T-3 in the U.S. Open as a sectional qualifier. That finish got him into this year's U.S. Open at Olympic, where he finished T-10 for his first top-10 showing of 2012. Chappell has good memories of the Blue Course and I can see him earning his second top-10 finish of the season this week.

Group 4: Brian Harman: Harman is a rookie this year on Tour and has five top-25 finishes in 19 starts. He had been struggling recently with four straight missed cuts, but ended that slump with a T-24 finish last week in Connecticut. He has proven he can play well on tough courses and since Congressional is definitely tough, Harman may be in for a great week.

Rob Bolton

Group 1: Jim Furyk: In vintage form over the last three months with seven top-15 finishes in nine starts. Contended at the U.S. Open en route to a T-4 finish. He's recorded a pair of T-3 finishes and a T-7 in his three appearances at Congressional in the AT&T National.

Group 2: Ryan Palmer: Rory Sabbatini and Cameron Tringale also tugged on me here, but Palmer has four top-10s in his last five starts. Also placed T-21 at Congressional in last year's U.S. Open.

Group 3: Seung-yul Noh: Surging rookie that is finding a groove. Other than accuracy off the tee, he's consistently solid across the board and playing like it. Riding a consecutive cuts made streak of eight with four top-20s including in each of his last two starts.

Group 4: Graham DeLaet: Tough choices this week, especially as I didn't want to lean on more than one rookie. The Canadian has cashed in six of his last seven starts although he's struggled on the weekends. A made cut in Group 4 is just fine, however.

**Join Fantasy Expert Rob Bolton for a live golf chat Wednesday at 12:00p ET at**

Tune in to Golf Channel Thursday-Friday from 3P-6P ET for live coverage of the AT&T National.

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Chamblee comments on Choi's unique step-through swing

By Golf Channel DigitalJune 24, 2018, 3:55 pm

The golf world found itself enamored with a largely unknown journeyman this weekend.

Ho-sung Choi went from 554th in the world to No. 1 in the hearts of all those who swing the golf club just a little bit differently thanks to his run at the Korean Open.

The 44-year-old with the exaggerated step through impact found himself two off the pace through 54 holes and in contention for one of two available invitations to this year's Open Championship at Carnoustie.

Choi fell out of the hunt for tournament title and the Open exemption with a final-round 74, but nonetheless left an impression with his tie for fifth.

Asked about Choi's swing Saturday night, Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee offered the following:

"If Chi Chi Rodriguez and Gary Player had a golf school, what would their first professional golfer swing like? Voila," Chamblee said.

"Both those legends had walk through finishes, but Ho Sung has taken this move to a new level with a borderline pirouette to keep from hanging back.

"In an era when professional golfers get accused of having golf swings that all look alike, I’ve never seen anyone swing quite like Ho Sung Choi.

"I can’t wait to try this on the range tomorrow."

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Wallace holds off Olesen to win BMW International

By Associated PressJune 24, 2018, 3:43 pm

PULHEIM, Germany - England's Matt Wallace shot a 7-under 65 to hold off a record-breaking charge from Thorbjorn Olesen and win the BMW International Open on Sunday.

Wallace finished on 10-under 278 - just ahead of Olesen, Mikko Korhonen and 2008 winner Martin Kaymer, whose chances took a blow with a bogey on the 17th hole.

''I want to keep building on this,'' Wallace said after his third European Tour win. ''Obviously this gives me a lot of confidence to go on and play well and I want to kick on and hopefully do this in the bigger events from now on.''

Full-field scores from the BMW International Open

Olesen had played himself into contention with the lowest round in tournament history, with nine birdies and an eagle for an 11-under 61. It was the lowest round of his European Tour career and it gave the Dane a three-shot lead before the final group had even teed off.

''I was just trying today to go out there and build on my game, see if I could shoot a low score,'' Olesen said. ''Obviously as the round progressed I kept on thinking birdies and trying to make the round better. Finishing with four birdies was pretty nice.''

Wallace turned in 34 but then made five birdies in seven holes from the turn to edge a shot past Olesen. He waited as Kaymer and Korhonen went close with rounds of 68 and 67, respectively.

England's Aaron Rai and Denmark's Lucas Bjerregaard finished joint-fifth with rounds of 69.

Sunghyun Park (left) and Minchel Choi (right). Getty Images

Choi, Park qualify for Carnoustie from Korean Open

By Nick MentaJune 24, 2018, 2:54 pm

Two players - Minchel Choi and Sanghyun Park - qualified for next month's Open Championship at Carnoustie via the Open Qualifying Series on Sunday.

Choi (69) held off Park (66) to win the Korean Open by two shots.

This was the Qualifying Series debut for the Korean Open, whiched awarded Open Championship exemptions to the tournament's top two finishers inside the top eight and ties who were not already qualified.

Choi, the 532nd-ranked player in the Official World Golf Ranking, punched his ticket in his first professional win.

Park, the 146th in the world, is a six-time Korean Tour champion who has already won twice this season. 

Both players will be making their first ever major starts.

“I am absolutely honored to be playing in The Open and I wanted to win this championship to give me [that] opportunity," Choi said. "I cannot believe that I have won today. I am so happy and excited."

“It is a great honor to have qualified for The Open and make my first appearance in the championship," Park added. "I’ve watched The Open on television every single year and I can’t really believe that I have qualified, it is amazing."

The Open Qualifying Series continues next week at the Open de France, where as many as three exemptions will be awarded to the three leading players inside the top 10 and ties who are not already qualified.

The 147th Open will be held at Carnoustie from July 19-22.

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Minjee Lee co-leads Walmart NW Arkansas Championship

By Associated PressJune 24, 2018, 12:25 am

ROGERS, Ark. - Minjee Lee wasn't all that concerned when she missed her first cut of the year this month at the ShopRite LPGA Classic.

The ninth-ranked Australian has certainly looked at ease and back in form at Pinnacle Country Club in her first event since then.

Lee and Japan's Nasa Hataoka each shot 6-under 65 on Saturday to share the second-round lead in the NW Arkansas Championship 13-under 129. Lee is chasing her fifth victory since turning pro three years ago. It's also an opportunity to put any lingering frustration over that missed cut two weeks ago behind her for good.

''I didn't particularly hit it bad, even though I missed the cut at ShopRite, I just didn't really hole any putts,'' Lee said. ''I'd been hitting it pretty solid going into that tournament and even into this tournament, too. Just to see a couple putts roll in has been nice.''

The 22-year-old Lee needed only 24 putts during her opening 64 on Friday, helping her to match the low round of her career. Despite needing 28 putts Saturday, she still briefly took the outright lead after reaching as low as 14 under after a birdie on the par-5 seventh.

Full-field scores from the Walmart Arkansas Championship

Lee missed the green on the par-4 ninth soon thereafter to lead to her only bogey of the day and a tie with the 19-year-old Hataoka, who is in pursuit of her first career win.

Hataoka birdied six of eight holes midway through her bogey-free round on Saturday. It was yet another stellar performance from the Japanese teenager, who has finished in the top 10 in four of her last five tournaments and will be a part of Sunday's final pairing.

''I try to make birdies and try to be under par, that's really the key for me to get a top ten,'' Hataoka said. ''Golf is just trying to be in the top 10 every single week, so that's the key.''

Third-ranked Lexi Thompson matched the low round of the day with a 64 to get to 11 under. She hit 17 of 18 fairways and shot a 5-under 30 on her opening nine, The American is in search of her first win since September in the Indy Women in Tech Championship.

Ariya Jutanugarn and Celine Boutier were 10 under.

First-round leader Gaby Lopez followed her opening 63 with a 75 to drop to 4 under. Fellow former Arkansas star Stacy Lewis also was 4 under after a 72.