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Fowler experiences career resurgence

Rickie Fowler experiencing career resurgence in 2023 leads to renewed hope for first victory in four years

Here is a non-exhaustive list of players who have been statistically worse than Rickie Fowler since the start of 2023: Rory McIlroy, Cameron Young, Jordan Spieth, Tyrrell Hatton, Justin Thomas, Viktor Hovland, Matt Fitzpatrick, Sam Burns, Hideki Matsuyama, Brooks Koepka, Patrick Reed and Tom Kim.

Again, that's non-exhaustive.

Fowler hasn't received the praise I certainly expected because, after three years of wandering, he still hasn't won since the 2019 Phoenix Open. Make no mistake about it, however, he's playing at an incredible clip worthy of inclusion in discussion among the best players in the world.

On Monday, Fowler was invited to next week's PGA Championship at Oak Hill based on the number of PGA points (separate from FedEx Cup points) he's earned so far this season. He also rose to No. 50 in the Official World Golf Rankings, his highest placement on the list since November 2020. As Brentley Romine of Golf Channel pointed out, if he can maintain that level in the OWGR, he will also qualify into the U.S. Open in June and Open Championship in July.

Fowler has only played three majors since the November 2020 Masters. He got an exemption into the 2021 PGA Championship, where he finished in the top 10, earning a spot in the following year's PGA. He also got into the 2021 Open Championship, which Collin Morikawa won. He missed six other majors because he fell to nearly No. 200 in the OWGR. 

He's been a menace on the course so far this year. Top 20s at Torrey Pines, Phoenix and Riviera were followed by a T13 at the Players Championship, a T10 at the Texas Open and two top 15s in a row at the RBC Heritage and Wells Fargo Championship, both of which carry the new designated event status on the PGA Tour schedule.

"It's definitely been a bit more consistent," Fowler said of his play so far this year before a T14 at the Wells Fargo. 

"Feel like it's been weeks where I've been able to rely on maybe one or two parts of the game. Really haven't had everything yet, but I'd say the state that I feel like I'm at in the last few years, that would be a missed cut or finishing in the back of the pack and now being able to manage and keep things moving forward, build momentum, that's turning those weeks into top 20s and top 10s."

Fowler's iron play -- always a signature of his game -- had dropped way off the last several years. He went from consistently being a top 25 approach play golfer in the world to hitting approach shots at a worse-than-Tour-average clip. 

Much of this happened as Fowler transitioned away from swing coach Butch Harmon to John Tillery. Fowler recently reunited with Harmon, and the results have been evident. (Fowler credits Tillery for setting him up to take off again with Harmon.)

Fowler is having the single best season he's ever had when it comes to approach play. And while his driving has been average to above average, he's thriving because of his iron play. Among players with at least 25 measured rounds since January 1, only Scottie Scheffler, Xander Schauffele, Tony Finau, Collin Morikawa and Jon Rahm have been better on approach shots. Combined wins: seven. It's pretty great company to keep.

Now Fowler sets his sights on something bigger than just getting into the field at majors. Harmon predicted a win at some point this year, and what may have sounded crazy four months ago no longer sounds crazy. Fowler is a legitimate threat to win every time he tees it up, even if nobody has realized it yet.

That's a good thing, too. Because no matter how you feel about the former Oklahoma State superstar, it's almost impossible to deny this fact which will play out in obvious ways at the PGA Championship and beyond: Rickie Fowler is great for golf, and professional golf is better off when he's playing at the highest level.

Source: CBS Sports


Finau outlasts Rahm at Vidanta

2023 Mexico Open leaderboard, grades: Tony Finau outlasts world No. 1 Jon Rahm for victory at Vidanta

"Confidence when you win is contagious," said Tony Finau after winning the 2022 Houston Open for his fifth career title on the PGA Tour. At the 2023 Mexico Open on Sunday, Finau's confidence was on full display as he outmanned and outgunned the hottest player in the world, Jon Rahm, en route to his sixth victory and fourth in his last 18 starts with a 24-under performance.

Beginning the day with a two-stroke lead over his good friend and playing partner most off weeks in Scottsdale, Arizona, Finau squashed the thought of any potential duel from the very start. A birdie on the opener saw Finau expand his lead to three before three casual pars on the next three.

Up ahead in the penultimate group, Brandon Wu would make his presence known. Carding three birdies and an eagle in his first seven holes, the 26-year-old momentarily caught Finau at 21 under. However, that would be as close Wu would get as mistakes piled up while Finau's quality began to persist.

A birdie on the par-3 5th was followed by a nifty par save on the 6th, a crucial birdie on No. 7 and an even more critical par on the 8th. Finau turned in 3 under, and not only regained the lead but grew his margin as a three-stroke edge was in his hands despite Rahm, Wu and Akshay Bhatia all throwing their fair share of punches.

Unfortunately for the chasing pack, none of them would land and no noticeable unease would imprint on the leader.

The final nine from Finau was a masterclass on how to play with a large lead. Laying up short of trouble, converting birdie opportunities when presented and slowly draining the life out of the tournament and his fellow competitors, the 33-year-old's inward half 34 meant a final round 66 and a three-stroke victory.

This all -- staring the world No. 1 square in the eyes and sneakily becoming one of the most prominent winners on Tour – probably doesn't materialize for Finau if this tournament was just three years in the past. Enduring a five-year winless drought over 142 tournaments, Finau has now won five times since his victory in the 2021 FedEx Cup Playoffs at the Northern Trust just 41 starts ago.

"On Sunday out here I've learned that you just have to be aggressive, you have to make birdies," said Finau. "Guys are going to make birdies. There's so many great players, especially someone of Rahmbo's stature … So my mindset on Sundays I think has just changed. You never get comfortable with the lead. That's my nature, anyway, is to be an aggressive player. I always have been that way, and so Sundays are starting to shape up better for me since I've been in contention, but I think I just have learned a lot."

With this win, Finau becomes the fourth player on the PGA Tour to claim multiple victories on the season joining Rahm, Scottie Scheffler and Max Homa. Rarely is he discussed in such company as he has yet to win an upper echelon event such as the Genesis Invitational let alone a major championship.

However, just like Finau's former inability to close, expect him to figure this out and soon. With the PGA Championship at Oak Hill Country Club quickly approaching, Finau will be among those capable of taking down Rahm (as he did today) and the other members of the true elite such as Scheffler. His iron play tops the PGA Tour over the last six months, and his confidence may not be far behind.

2023 Zurich Classic Winner, David Riley & Nick Hardy team up to win FIRST TIME on PGA Tour

Winning on the PGA Tour is difficult. Each and every year, the circuit is replenished with fresh new talent while the mainstays remain at the top. Just ask Davis Riley and Nick Hardy who are in the middle of their second seasons and claimed their first career titles at the 2023 Zurich Classic at 30 under after rounds of 64-66-63-65.

"This is so special and to share it with one of my best friends out here on Tour is a dream come true," Riley said. "The progression of playing high school, college golf and playing PGA Tour golf is super special and to share this moment with Nick is pretty cool."

While Riley wasn't even supposed to play in this event after he teamed up with injured Will Zalatoris in 2022, Hardy originally sought the services of his former collegiate teammate Thomas Detry. The Belgian decided to pair with a potential European Ryder Cup teammate Victor Perez, and as such, Hardy looked in the direction of Riley, a fellow PGA Tour sophomore and longtime friend.

Their relationship that began at the age of 14 proved to be fruitful as they set the all-time tournament scoring record and surpassed the mark set by defending champions Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele.

Beginning the day three strokes off the pace set by Wyndham Clark and Beau Hossler, the winning duo didn't really get into gear until the back nine on Sunday. Turning in a respectable 2 under, Hardy and Riley found their stride with five back-nine birdies including a near ace on the par-3 14th struck by Riley.

"All I had to do was hear it," Hardy said of Riley's shot. "It was the purest 5 iron I have ever heard, I didn't even watch it and it almost went in obviously. It was really solid down the stretch and it just feels great to close."

This would pull them into a share of the lead with a surging Nick Taylor and Adam Hadwin and a sputtering Hossler and Clark. With the Canadians setting the clubhouse lead at 28 under, the young guns kept their heads down and went to work. A clutch birdie on the short par-4 16th put them in control before an unlikely bid from off the green on 17 slammed the door shut on Hossler and Clark who were behind them on the golf course.

For Hardy and Riley, this moment was years in the making. Both AJGA All-Americans growing up, the two have dealt with the difficulties of playing on the PGA Tour first hand. Hardy fought injury in the latter stages of 2022, aggravating his wrist at this very tournament, and was forced to go through the Korn Ferry Tour Playoffs to retain his playing privileges. Riley meanwhile has experienced his fair share of close calls with the winner's circle.

Even more importantly, this catapults both of them inside the top 40 of the FedEx Cup and secures their playing privileges moving forward. Beginning the week outside the top 80, they are both locks to make their way into the postseason and are proof these regular events still hold significant weight and importance for those players itching to make a name for themselves. Grade: A+

Here is the breakdown of the rest of the notable teams on the leaderboard at the 2023 Zurich Classic.

3. Wyndham Clark/Beau Hossler (-27): For the majority of the tournament, it felt as if the first time winners would be Clark and Hossler. Holding at least a share of the lead after each round, the two were on their way early in the final round. Carding a couple early birdies, the wheels began to fall off when a sloppy bogey was made on the par-5 7th. Unable to take advantage of the short 8th, additional birdie bids would fall by the wayside on the back nine. The inability to take advantage of the par 5s and short par 4s was ultimately their downfall and opened the door for the eventual winners to walk through. Despite this disappointment, the week should be chalked up as a success as both players tasted contention for the first time in a while. Grade: A

T4. Patrick Cantlay/Xander Schauffele (-26): While their play in foursomes was impressive, their play in four-ball simply fell short. Signing for rounds of 67-66, the two friends were unable to card enough birdies in the easier format to apply pressure on the rest of the field. While their quality shined in the difficult alternate shot, by that point, it was too little too late. They came into the week as heavy favorites and will be kicking themselves for not kick-starting their season at this event as they did last year. With only 17 events left in the season, the two remain winless as spring enters its latter stages.

"Best ball wasn't our best format this year compared to last year," Cantlay said. "We both had some opportunities to save some pars and make some putts that we didn't make this year. Coming down the stretch, I just hit a poor drive on 18 and put him in a bad spot. That was kind of the story of the week. We didn't necessarily hit all the great shots when we needed to." Grade: C

6. Keith Mitchell/Sungjae Im (-25): After getting into a share of the lead with an opening birdie, these two failed to set up realistic birdie opportunities on a consistent basis. Both players were to blame as loose shots off the tee from Mitchell handcuffed Im and poor iron shots from Im left Mitchell in a pickle. Still, if there was a team that would be classified as a winner despite not raising hardware, it is these two. Seemingly becoming best friends out of thin air, Im and Mitchell cultivated a bromance few expected. Grade: B

T7. Si Woo Kim/Tom Kim (-23): The International Presidents Cup teammates from Quail Hollow were unable to capture the same type of magic at TPC Louisiana. They acquitted themselves quite nicely in foursomes with rounds of 67-68, but similar to Cantlay and Schauffele, were unable to produce enough fireworks in Rounds 1 and 3. After both got off to scorching starts to the 2022-23 season with victories, perhaps this week will act as a launchpad for the final few months of the year as their quality has dropped ever so slightly. Grade: C

MC. Collin Morikawa/Max Homa (--): The Californians were never able to get things going around TPC Louisiana as they followed a round of 6 under in four-ball with a 2-under 70 in foursomes to miss the cut by one. Despite their pedigree, it was always going to be difficult for this team to compete in this shootout style given Morikawa's shortcomings with the putter in hand and Homa's lackluster tee to green presence over the last month. Morikawa carried the brunt of the weight and should be able to brush this missed cut off. Meanwhile, Homa may be different as his struggles since the Florida Swing have continued to persist. Grade: F

Source: CBS Sports


Charlie Reiter is finaly playing on thye pro golf tour see what Jon Rahm says about this

As an 18-year-old playing on an exemption in a PGA Tour event, Charlie Reiter so impressed Jon Rahm with his clubhead speed that the Spaniard said he expected the lanky teen to hit it by him.

“He hits it far and when I mean far, I mean really far, like he can easily get it past me,” said Rahm, then the third-ranked player in the world, who was a member with Reiter at Bighorn Golf Club in Palm Desert, California. “He reminds me of Brandon Hagy (a Cal product and another TrackMan marvel); they’re both similar build, not the biggest guys, but they’re just fit and have a lot of power.”

During the second round of the 2018 CareerBuilder Challenge (now the American Express) Reiter averaged 348.5 yards off the tee in the second round on PGA West’s Nicklaus Tournament Course, where he pounded two of the three longest drives recorded during the event’s first 54 holes. In the third round, he averaged 332.5 yards on a windy day around PGA West’s Stadium Course.

Reiter started consistently hitting the ball more than 300 yards during his freshman year of high school, when he was just 14 years old. And the prodigy’s golf story begins in infancy. His father, Mike, a skilled golfer who played on the mini-tours, used to put plastic clubs in Charlie’s crib. By age 4, Reiter won his first tournament.

Trophies began to pile up. When Reiter was 10 he competed in the Golf Channel Amateur Tour National Championship at PGA West.

And now, finally, Reiter has a professional golf tour to play – at least for the rest of the year.

Reiter, who turned pro last fall after a summer that saw him play in the U.S. Open and the U.S. Amateur, rallied from four shots back at the start of the day Friday to win a U.S. qualifier tournament for the PGA Tour Canada. With a final-round 3-under 69 at Soboba Springs Golf Club in San Jacinto, California. Reiter is now fully exempt for the Canada tour that begins its season in June.

“Now I have a full schedule over the summer,” Reiter said after gaining full status for the Canada circuit. “I know what the summer will be.”

Reiter finished at 15-under 283, including a sizzling 64 in the third round, to edge Kyle Karazissis of La Quinta, California, by a single shot. Karazissis, a mini-tour golfer who also caddies at The Quarry in La Quinta, will be exempt on the PGA Tour Canada for the first five events, through that tour’s first reshuffle of exemptions.

Reiter’s victory turned on a two-shot swing on the final hole Friday. On the par 5, Reiter hit a good drive and reached the green in two shots, while Karazissis was forced to lay up and reached the green in three. Reiter had a routine two-putt from 20 feet for his birdie, but Karazissis three-putted from 35 feet, including a hard lip-out of his par putt from about 10 feet.

Reiter, who played college golf at both USC and the University of San Diego, fired rounds of 70, 70, 64 and 69 to win the qualifier. Karazissis stumbled to a 74 in the final round.

Reiter started his final round quickly with three consecutive birdies on the fourth, fifth and sixth holes, but he followed that with three bogeys in a row starting on the eighth hole.

The comeback started with a birdie on the 13th hole, then continued with a birdie 2 on the 16th hole. Reiter then completed the comeback with his birdie on the 18th.

Qualifying for the PGA Tour Canada was always part of Reiter’s plan for 2023 after he missed signup dates for Korn Ferry Tour qualifying last fall and also struggled for the money to sign up since he was still an amateur.

“I wasn’t thinking about (Korn Ferry qualifying) that quickly. I was just sort of so jumbled up with the U.S. Am and stuff like that,” Reiter said. “I just kind of forgot about it.”

This year he has played in the Asher Tour, a mini tour mostly in California, while preparing for PGA Tour Canada qualifying.

“This is kind of the other first little way,” Reiter said of PGA Tour Canada qualifying.

Reiter, whose 2022 season also included a victory in the California State Amateur, has experience in professional events, having played in PGA Tour’s The American Express three times as an amateur, including when he was a senior at Palm Desert High School.

The PGA Tour Canada will play a 10-event schedule starting with the Royal Beach Victoria Open in Victoria, British Columbia, June 15-18. The tour will end its year with the Fortinet Cup Championship in September. The Order of Merit winner from the tour will earn status on the PGA Tour’s developmental Korn Ferry Tour in 2024.

“There are other opportunities,” Reiter added. “I’m playing in May up in Reno, the Reno Open, and if you win that, you get to play in the Barracuda (Championship on the PGA Tour in July). You never know.”

A win at the Barracuda Championship would put Reiter in more PGA Tour events in the following weeks.

“If I could play in three or four straight events, I would probably get conditional status,” Reiter said.

The PGA Tour remains the ultimate goal for the 23-year-old who is still living in San Diego for now. But his summer will also include U.S. Open qualifying, something he did last summer that allowed him to play his way into his first U.S. Open last June.

“It will be a busy summer,” Reiter said.

Source: Golfweek

Beulaville Area Chamber of Commerce Scholarship Golf Tournament

4 person scramble

Format of the Event: Superball

Friday, May 19th | 8:30am & 1:00pm shotgun

$300 per Team | Breakfast & Lunch provided

$100 Hole sponsorship is available!

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