European Perspective

By Tom AbbottOctober 24, 2010, 10:57 pm

European TourLast week, Victor Garcia predicted a winning score of 15-under par for the Castello Masters. He didn’t say who would reach that winning total on the course where he is the head professional, but you know he was hoping it would be his son, Sergio.

Instead, a 17-year-old named Matteo Manessero made history by becoming the youngest winner ever on the European Tour, finishing a shot off of Garcia’s prediction at 16 under for the week.

Earning honors as low amateur in the 2010 Masters Tournament, Manessero rose to prominence at last year’s British Amateur, beating Sam Hutsby in the Final to become the youngest winner in the event’s 115-year history.

A friend of mine who watched the two youngsters duel it out noted: “If these two are the future of the game then we’re in good hands. They play without delay, with terrific sportsmanship, and they’re bloody good!”

Students of the game might be crying déjà-vu, because the fellow could well have been speaking about the Final 11 years prior – the one where Sergio Garcia beat a Welshman named Craig Williams.

A year later when the 18-year-old Garcia won twice on the European Tour and challenged Woods in the PGA Championship, people were talking about the next Seve, perhaps even a rival for the prodigy from across the Atlantic.

Funny enough it’s the exact same chatter we’re hearing about Manessero today. This week’s headlines will be about Manessero, his victory and what might lie ahead. Garcia’s comeback will be all but forgotten.


Hard to believe the once-heralded Garcia would fall to the point of needing a comeback but that’s what happened to the now 30-year-old from Borriol. His desire for playing tournament golf fell to such a low this summer that after a missed cut at the PGA Championship he stepped away, returning with a fanfare at his hometown event last week.

Garcia was optimistic at the beginning of the week, coming back with a rededication to the game that has seen him starting to practice again, as well as set new goals.

“I want to win this week,” Garcia said, “and eventually become the No. 1 player in the world.”

Just few days later, though, Garcia walked off the 18th green looking dejected after double bogey on No. 17 put pay to his chances of playing the weekend in a tournament he won in 2008.

So what now? That was the question probably being batted around the Garcia dining table on Friday evening.

The pundits have their theories: It’s all about putting; it’s mental; it’s the product of a broken heart.

Garcia himself may not even know the answer, for that matter, so all there really is to do is look forward.

This week the tour moves to Spain’s most famous course, Valderamma, where Garcia is once again in the field, as is Manessero. The 17-year-old will likely play like he doesn’t have a care in the world, while Garcia will probably look burdened by similar talent.

Maybe the tournament’s organizers will pair them together. Maybe Garcia’s putter will continue to be as cold as the cervezas they serve in the happening bars of nearby Puerto Banus. Maybe Garcia will snap into the sort of form Manessero showed the week before.

One thing’s for sure: For the Italian everything seems to be a dead cert. For Garcia, sadly, it’s all about maybes.



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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 charges 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.