ROCCO MEDIATE won his first senior major, Jordan Spieth finally got the Masters monkey of his back, Scott Hend failed to capitalise on his third round lead on the European Tour while Minjee Lee had another encouraging finish behind rising Thai star Ariya Jutanugarn.
Mediate sprung to prominence with his 18 hole playoff loss to Tiger Woods at the 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines but was back in the spotlight on the weekend with a stirring victory at the 2016 Senior PGA Championship at Benton Harbor in Michigan.
The 53 year old won wire to wire after three mostly discouraging season on the US Champions Tour.
He closed out Sunday with a 5-under 66 for a record 265 total, 19-under-par overall. That was the record for lowest score at the Senior PGA Championship, three shots better than Sam Snead’s 268 total in 1973 at PGA National.
Colin Montgomerie (67) was three strokes back on 16-under while Bernhard Langer, aiming for back to back majors and the only one of the five senior majors he hasn’t claimed, was a further three back.
“It’s hard to dream that,” said Mediate. “It just turned out really cool. I didn’t know I shot 66. I didn’t know what I shot. But when I added it up, I went, yeah. A lot of great things happened today and I don’t believe I’m sitting here. I really don’t. I’ve said that about eight or nine times in my career, that’s about it. Every time you’re like, ‘I can’t believe that I was the low score this week.’ My wife told me it was going to happen, but you know I don’t believe everybody.
“One thing Jess said to me is, this is what you like, you like all the fans and you like all the pressure. And I’m like — I hadn’t been (in contention) in 1,700 years. She’s like, this is what you like, you should be able to thrive in this. And I’m like, that’s actually a point, I do like it. I think we all like it. But it’s just hard to get there.”
Peter Senior (68) finished the best of the Aussies on 4-under an T31 while senior major debutante Peter O’Malley (69) was one stroke further back and T36.
Spieth wins 8th US PGA TOUR title
Jordan Spieth finally got the Masters meltdown monkey off his back (it’s really on been a month) and also slew another dragon with his first tour victory in his home state of Texas with a rousing win at the Dean & Deluca Invitational at the Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth.
Spieth was back to his best in the final round, particularly with his three closing birdies, including a chip in from off the green on 17 and a 34 putt on the last.
“The significance of it happening now, because I wasn’t sure how long it would take to get over the hurdle of having to come in to every single interview room, having to listen to crowds only talk about what happened a month ago, and it’s very difficult, and I’m 22,” Spieth said afterwards.
Thailand’s Ariya Jutanugarn makes it three in a row
Twenty year old Thai golfer Ariya Jutanugarn became the first LPGA Tour player to make her first three tour wins consecutive.
Whilst she struggled to close out her first two wins over the past fortnight she had no such problem on Sunday at the inaugural LPGA Volvik Championship in Ann Arbor in Michigan, winning by four shots over Christina Kim with Jessica Korda and Brooke Henderson a further shot back.
“Last year I had a chance to win a few tournaments but I did not learn how to play with pressure,” said Jutanugarn. “This year I am learning how to do that. My goal right now is to be inside the top five in the world.”
And to win a major, which will be her next start in a fortnight.
Minjee Lee had another good tournament, finishing in 20th position.