Expert picks: PGA Championship

By Golf Channel DigitalAugust 6, 2013, 8:26 pm

This week marks the season's final major, as Oak Hill hosts the PGA Championship. Each week, a panel of experts will offer up their picks from four groups of players, based on Golf Channel's fantasy game, Fantasy Challenge. We will also keep track of their scores and standings. The panel includes: senior writers Rex Hoggard, Randall Mell and Jason Sobel; contributors John Hawkins and Win McMurry; editorial director Jay Coffin; 'Morning Drive' host Gary Williams and staff writer Ryan Lavner. They are joined by former 'Saturday Night Live' star Norm Macdonald, who will serve as a celebrity guest.

Rex Hoggard

Group 1: Tiger Woods: You can wear out the search function on your laptop looking for reasons not to pick the world No. 1 this week, but if five victories in 2013 and a commanding performance last week at Firestone isn't enough to convince you, then you deserve to get burned.

Group 2: Ian Poulter: No, they haven't reverted back to the old match play format for the PGA, a move that would make the Englishman a perennial favorite at the year's final major, but he is playing well, having tied for third at the Open Championship. Normally Poulter has his best stuff toward the end of the season.

Group 3: Michael Thompson: He's been quiet since his breakthrough victory earlier this season at the Honda Classic, but he has the Shaun Micheel-like demeanor that seemed to work so well the last time the PGA was played upstate in 2003.

Group 4: Pablo Larrazabal: The Spaniard has been hit or miss for much of 2013, having finished inside the top 15 or missed the cut in his last 12 starts. He's worth taking a flyer on the chance that Oak Hill is one of those weeks.

Ryan Lavner

Group 1: Tiger Woods: Fresh off his thoroughly impressive victory at Firestone. Didn't play well here in '03, but with top-6s in two of the three majors this year, chances are he'll be in the mix again for major No. 15.

Group 2: Zach Johnson: The main key at Oak Hill will be to keep the ball in play, and few do that better than ZJ. He's clearly in form, too, with three consecutive finishes inside the top six.

Group 3: Jordan Spieth: Well-rested after a whirlwind start to the summer. One of the best iron players on Tour is a dark horse pick to win.

Group 4: Roberto Castro: Quietly consistent year with eight top-25 finishes. His two top 10s this season have come in his past four starts, including a tie for sixth in Canada.

Win McMurry

Group 1: Tiger Woods: With his seven-shot victory Sunday at Firestone, he brings immense confidence into this week at Oak Hill. When the PGA Championship was last played here in 2003 he finished T-39, but this is a much different year and a much different time for Tiger. He has top-10 finishes in two of the previous three majors this year and he's hungry for just one thing: another major win. Phil won the week before winning the Open Championship, and Tiger is set to do the same.

Group 2: Hunter Mahan: He was leading on Saturday in Canada a couple weeks ago before getting the call about the pending birth of his daughter. It always seems that family life agrees well with golfers. So, with the anxiety now gone and a healthy family to gain strength from, added to the fact he's played in the final group on Sunday in each of the last two majors, he's a strong bet.

Group 3: Miguel Angel Jimenez: The Spaniard had a good week in Akron (T-4), finished T-13 at the Open Championship and, as a bonus, he tied for 27th at last year's PGA Championship.

Group 4: Peter Uihlein: Primarily playing on the European Tour this year, he comes in off a T-10 finish at the Scottish Open, one of five top 10s this year (which includes a win in Portugal). He didn't play on the weekend in Reno, where he received an exemption last week, but the former U.S. Amateur champion has good buzz building around him this week.

Getty Images

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."

Getty Images

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.

Getty Images

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.