Golf Writer, Keith Cook, provides the Weekend’s Wrap-up of the Winners, Losers, and Other News from the LPGA, PGA, Champions, and European Tours!
ALFRED DUNHILL LINKS CHAMPIONSHIP
ST. ANDREWS, Scotland /// Just down the road from Gleneagles in Scotland, the week of the 2014 Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, in St. Andrews, Scotland, started out as more of a post-European Ryder Cup celebration than a golf tournament.
However, the tournament soon took center stage with outstanding play over 4-days on three of Scotland’s greatest links courses: The Old Course at St. Andrews, Carnoustie, and Kingsbarns. *All competitors played each course once, with the fourth, and final round, played at The Old Course at St. Andrews.
In the tournament on a sponsor’s exemption, trying his best to secure his tour card for 2015, and holding the unpleasant moniker as “player to earn the most money on the European Tour . . . without a win”, Englishman Oliver Wilson wasn’t anyone’s pick to win the tournament when the week began.
But don’t tell Oliver Wilson that, because this week was one his greatest and perhaps one of dreams come true. In the cool St. Andrews weather, Wilson started the week hot, shooting a magnificent first round -8 under par/64 at Carnoustie, long felt to be the toughest of the Alfred Dunhill rota courses. His stellar play continued with rounds of Even Par/72 at Kingsbarns (on a tough weather day), and a Saturday, -7 under/65 at The Old Course in beautiful conditions.
After day 3, Wilson slept on an overnight three-shot lead. Actually, he later admitted he “slept awful” thinking about what this first win would mean to him and his career. Not helping his rest, one of those chasing and coming up fast – World #1, Rory McIlroy.
Oliver Wilson, 2014 Alfred Dunhill Links Champion Photo: www.golfchannel.com
Day 4 began in beautifully sunny, but chilly temps in the low 50s (F) / low teens (C) with McIlroy, Englishman Tommy Fleetwood, and Scotland’s Richie Ramsay putting the pressure on. In the end, Wilson’s three under par, 33 on the back nine made the difference with the best shot on the nine, being his wind-cheating second shot on the Par 4, 16th from 199-yards to less than 4-feet for birdie. Wilson finished the tournament at -17 under/271 total – just one stroke ahead of T2s: Fleetwood, Ramsay, and McIlroy.
“I don’t have words for it” said an emotional Wilson after the round. “It’s been 10, 11 years coming . . . this week to have the opportunity from Dunhill to play, I can’t thank them enough to give me the opportunity to play. I guess it’s what golf’s all about.”
With the win, Oliver Wilson captures his first ever victory on the European Tour, secures his tour card – not only for 2015, but for 2016 as well – and pockets a first place winner’s check of $800,000.
REIGNWOOD LPGA CLASSIC
Mirim Lee, 2014 Reignwood LPGA Classic Champion Photo: Associated Press
BEIJING, China /// Sensational Rookie, Mirim Lee won for the second time during her 2014 Rookie season, firing an impressive 4-under par/69 at Reignwood Classic to outlast tour veterans, Caroline Headwall, Brittany Lang, and World #1, Stacy Lewis.
Lee began the final round tied for third, but started quickly on the front nine with three birdies and finished the day with birdies on 16 and 18 to finish at 15-under par. Lee’s 15-under/277 total was two strokes clear of second place finisher, Sweden’s Caroline Headwall.
After the round, Lee’s second victory of the season seemed to take her by surprise. ”I really didn’t think I would get my second win this quickly . . . I was a lot more nervous this time than first time around.”
With the victory, Mirim Lee takes home one of the highest winner’s purses on the LPGA tournament schedule, $315,000.
The Race to the CME Globe is a season-long points competition in which LPGA Members accumulate points in every Official LPGA Tournament. At the end of the season, the winning player will be named the “Race to the CME Globe Champion” and takes home $1 Million Dollars – the largest payout in the history of Women’s golf.
NAPA, California /// With the conclusion of the Tour Championship by Coca-Cola in Atlanta, the PGA Tour 2013-2014 season is complete. The PGA Tour 2014-2015 tournament schedule opens Oct 9-12 at the Frys.com Open in Napa, California. Jimmy Walker is the defending champion and is coming off an impressive Rookie debut in the 2014 Ryder Cup.
CARY, North Carolina /// The Champions Tour takes a one-week break and travels across the country from California to North Carolina for the SAS Championship, October 10-12, 2014, in Cary, North Carolina. Russ Cochran is the defending Champion.
BIO: Keith Cook is a Writer and Contributing Editor for localgolfer.com. He is a retired 29-year US Military Veteran and Ashford University Graduate living in Michigan. Follow Keith and Local Golfer on Twitter @_KeithCook and @LocalGolfer
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