Tour Rundown: Rose rises to the top
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Tour Rundown: Rose rises to the top

Sep 12, 2023




It was a week for playoffs and close finishes as June weekend arrived in 2023. Three tours went to extra holes, while another was decided by a single stroke. The two-shot margin on the DP World Tour almost felt like a runaway in contrast, except for the shot that the winner had to manufacture at the last. With everything on the line, Tom McKibbin delivered a magical strike. From Ohio to New Jersey to North Carolina in the USA, to Colombia and Germany across international lines, five tournaments crowned worthy winners, and gave us one more reason to run down all the results in this week's edition of Tour Rundown.

The slam dunk eagle from @jenniferkupcho earlier in the round ?

Catch the end of the action live on @GolfChannel!

— LPGA (@LPGA) June 4, 2023

DP World Tour @ European Open: McKibbin takes a bow for Northern Ireland

Tom McKibbin was hoping to share the spotlight with countryman Rory McIlroy, atop two separate podia on two distinct tours. McKibbin got work done in Hamburg, but Roars was unable to comply and match his efforts across the Atlantic.

McKibbin entered the final round in a six-way tie for first with Alexander Björk, John Axlesen, Jordan Smith, David Law, and Julien Guerrier. The first four shared one thing on Sunday: a scorecard with a stroke total of 75. That quadrilateral tumbled to a sixth-place tie, five shots out of first place. Guerrier held on much longer, but was done in by a dearth of birdies. Making but two on the day was enough to keep him under par on Sunday, but not enough to equal McKibbin.

The Northern Irishman, previously without a victory on the big tour, came out like he owned the event. An outward nine of 32 made him look like a runaway victor, but a pair of early bogeys on the inward half returned doubt to the outcome. When many a competitor would have wilted, McKibbin did the opposite. He steadied the ship with two final birdies, at 15 and 18. The one at the closing hole, when the stakes were highest, should be seen to be believed, so have a glance below.

Shot of the day. Shot of the week.

Take a bow, @tommckibbin8 ?#PEO23

— DP World Tour (@DPWorldTour) June 4, 2023

LPGA @ Mizuho Americas Open: Rose rises in her professional debut

From Shakespeare to country music, the metaphors for Rose Zhang's first name are plentiful, so we’ll let the golf and the composure convey the message. Rose Zhang made her professional debut this week, on the LPGA tour, after winning everything in amateur golf. She was an NCAA individual medalist, a USGA Junior and Amateur champion, and a victor in the Augusta National Women's Amateur. In team competition, she was member of winning squads in the NCAA, the Pan American games, and twice in the Curtis Cup. Despite a remaining year of college eligibility, it was time for the young Californian to take the next step, and she did, and she did, and she did!

Zhang took her bow not super-far from Broadway's lights, in Jersey City, New Jersey. Playing on a sponsor's exemption in the first Mizuho Open, Zhang eased her way up the leaderboard until suddenly, on Saturday evening, she was in the lead. Well, didn't the golf world go wild! Folks forgot that, just like the final round at Augusta in April, it takes guts and grit to close out a tournament. Just as Zhang fought to a playoff win in Georgia, she would have to do the same in Jersey.

After snatching 14 birdies and an eagle over the first three rounds, Zhang had absolute zero of those on Sunday. Forget A and B games; how do you win a tournament with your C game? Zhang got it done. She kept the bogey total to two on the day, although a five at the last extended her week for another hour. Jennifer Kupcho, the inaugural ANWA champion in 2019, posted 69 on Sunday, making up five shots on Zhang. Kupcho's slam-dunk eagle (seen above) was the highlight of a round that almost saw her snatch victory from the new kid on the tour.

The playoff saw how match play golf makes a medal play event simultaneously more uncomfortable (for the player) and interesting (for the fan.) Both golfers chopped their way through the first hole, scratching out pars from less-than-stellar shots. The second go-round in overtime was more textbook, but Zhang's stellar approach rattled Kupcho, who failed to match. Her ensuing three-putt allowed young Zhang to two-putt from ten feet for par, to claim the jar.

What. A. Shot. ?

Rose Zhang knocks one close on the second playoff hole at Liberty National

Watch now on @GolfChannel!

— LPGA (@LPGA) June 5, 2023

PGA Tour @ The Memorial: Hovland moves to mainland USA for fourth Tour victory

Viktor Hovland was one of three heralded amateurs to turn professional in 2019. Matthew Wolfe burned brightest early, with a win in Minnesota. Collin Morikawa ignited with two major title in his first three years among the professional ranks. For Hovland, it seems that a steady climb up the ladder is in the works. The Norwegian first won in Puerto Rico, in 202o. He followed that with two wins in Mexico, in late 2020 and again in 2021. This week, Hovland took another ascended another rung on the ladder, with a title in Ohio, at Jack's Place.

The 2023 Memorial seemed to be a fitting place for Hovland to make his mark. The annual honoree was Larry Nelson, a two-time major winner in the 1980s. A grinder like Hovland, Nelson quietly clawed his way up the climbing wall of recognition on the PGA Tour. Hovland survived this week as the last man standing, outlasting a game Denny McCarthy in a playoff.

Scottie Scheffler was there for a time, until bogey at the 71st hole did him in. Si Woo Kim mixed a bitter cocktail of birdies, bogeys, and doubles on the inward half, to end his chances. And the aforementioned Rory, tied with Si Woo after 54 holes, had a final-round pratfall, ending in 75 and a tie for seventh. It was left to Hovland and McCarthy to settle matters in extra time. The session was brief.

Hovland found the fairway left, while McCarthy pushed his drive right. He had to pitch out to the fairway, while Hovland reached the putting surface with his second. McCarthy's third settled 15 feet from the hole, while the Norwegian faced nearly 60 feet of sloping frog hair. His approach putt was barely acceptable, finishing seven feet off the mark. From there, McCarthy missed and Hovland made, and the bow was tied in a neat little knot.

Shot of the day. Shot of the week.

Take a bow, @tommckibbin8 ?#PEO23

— DP World Tour (@DPWorldTour) June 4, 2023

Korn Ferry Tour @ UNC Health Challenge: Fernández-Valdés wins at next level

Jorge Fernández-Valdés stayed home in Argentina for his amateur career. He represented the azul celeste in two Eisenhower international team events, and won a few events around his home city of Córdoba. His professional career began in 2012, and over the first decade of competition, he made his mark. Four wins on PGA Tour Latinoamérica came his way. In 2023, the Platense stepped up a level, winning a first Korn Ferry event, in the Tar Heel state.

The third playoff of June 4th was arranged when Fernández-Valdés and Trent Phillips tied for regulation supremacy at 13-deep. John Augenstein was a stroke back at minus-twelve, and accepted a third-place finish. JFV and Phillips returned to the 18th hole, and Phillips seized control with a drive to the fairway, while Fernández-Valdés found the rough. The Argentine gouged his approach to the green, and drained a massive putt for birdie. Phillips’ matching effort was away, and another winner from South America had joined the pantheon.

Playoff victory ???@jorgitoFV comes up clutch to win the 2023 @UNCHealthChamp.

— Korn Ferry Tour (@KornFerryTour) June 4, 2023

PGA Tour Latinoamérica @ Inter Rapidísimo: Myles travels many miles for trophy

Is there a cooler title sponsor than Inter Rapidísimo? So much fun to say. So much fun for Myles Creighton to win. The Canadian from tiny Digby, Nova Scotia, and tiny Radford University, found a home away from home this week, in Bogotá, Colombia. Challenges came from Austin Hitt and the best name in golf (Sandy Scott, and yes, he is from Scotland) but Creighton was up to the challenge.

Everyone trailed George Toone at the start of Sunday's final round, but the Englishman received the wrong roadmap for Sunday. His 78 relegated him to a tie for sixth position. Scott finished at 17-under par, to post the clubhouse lead. Next came the USA's Austin Hitt, whose 69 was fine, but not fine enough. He had started the day equal with Creighton, and when the down-easter posted 68, the tournament was his.

Myles Creighton ?? estuvo a punto de embocar para birdie en el hoyo 72, pero el par le bastó para imponerse por uno con total de -19 en @clubelrincon.@Myles11 came this close to making birdie at the last, but the par was enough for him to lock the title in Colombia. ???


WOTW: Viktor Hovland's Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore "Indigo"

Morning 9: Rory: Players could skip majors | Why Jack wore Sunday yellow | Memorial photos

Ronald Montesano writes for from western New York. He dabbles in coaching golf and teaching Spanish, in addition to scribbling columns on all aspects of golf, from apparel to architecture, from equipment to travel. Follow Ronald on Twitter at @buffalogolfer.

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Last week, four lucky GolfWRX members visited Fujikura Headquarters in Carlsbad, California, to meet Fujikura's team of product experts, learn about how VeloCore benefits the golfer throughout the bag, and get fit into Ventus woods and Axiom irons. The four WRXers — @Puppetmaster, @hammergolf, @CactusGolf, and @eric61 — enjoyed a once-in-a-lifetime experience thanks to Fujikura.

hammergolf: "The Axiom feels different from any of the other graphite shafts I’ve played previously. They feel much more stable and maybe a touch stiffer than my current shafts, however, I ball speed, carry distance, launch, and spin with TIGHTER patterns. I’ve played them all, Steelfiber, Recoil, and now MMT. Hands down Axiom is better."

"My god are these good. We were hitting into the wind on the range so it was a really good test for the shafts. First thing I noticed is seeing a different peak height, and tighter pattern. I hit it side by side with my gamer (PXG Gen3XP MMT 70 R) I really liked my gamers before I hit Axiom. It's just on a different level. Because of the advantage of using Velocore, Fujikura can make a shaft do something that all others I’ve had can't. The Axiom is so stable yet helps me to launch the ball much higher, (my indoor testing showed almost 4* more launch) with more spin (indoor test showed me almost 900rpms more) and a much higher decent angle (indoor test showed almost 5* increase of decent). Well I saw all that with my own eyes outside yesterday. However, here's what crazy. I hit the Axiom side by side with my gamer. I was able to hit the Axiom higher, spin it more, and land it softer but it carried the same distance as my gamer. That was great, but here's what I’m still scratching my head about. It was an even tighter dispersion pattern… Side by side, the Axiom is much more stable and to me feels stiffer than the MMT. I just don't understand how something can feel more stable and stout, but deliver more launch, more spin, and not lose any distance. That's what Fujikura call Velocore. And it wasn't just me, I saw @Puppetmaster, @CactusGolf, and @eric61 all hitting great shots with Axiom. Another thing that amazed me was how four guys with 4 different swings and four different clubhead speeds can have the same great results. I think that's a testament to how Fujikura has designed 3 different weight and profiles to fit anyone.

"The one thing I haven't mentioned is feel. They have a great feel that is not mushy, but just the right amount of feedback, yet no unpleasant shock or vibration. In summary, Fujikura just flat out nailed it. If you’re thinking about switching, or have hand, wrist, shoulder pain, these are an absolute no brainer. Hands down the best performing shaft I’ve ever hit. Can't wait to get them built and in the bag!"

eric61: "The first thing I noticed is that the 75S is more stout than you’d think, and the 125X is more playable than you’d think. The way they’ve managed to separate weight and flex is really impressive.

"The next thing: Axioms for me launched pretty high with relatively high spin. (And not just the 105X that Andrew fitted me into — I found this to be true in the full range.) They didn't have an i230 fitting head, but I was hitting a P790 — Andrew measured my i230 at 34 degrees of loft and the P790 was at 31. The P790 with the Axiom 105X was going 9 yards further, as you’d expect given the loft and head design differences, but it was actually almost identical in terms of peak height and landing angle, and it was spinning only a couple hundred RPMs less than my i230s.

"I’m not really looking for more distance — my home course is 6,700 yards from the back tees, so I really just need control. And what I found in the Axiom 105X was significantly tighter dispersion.

"My swing speed would usually indicate I’m more of an S than an X. But Andrew noticed I looked like I was losing the club head a bit in transition with the 105S, and the 105X really tightened things up quite a lot for me.

"The other thing I liked about them is the profile. They are stout handle, softer mid, stout tip shafts."

"I think the Axiom shafts are going to pair really well with player's distance type irons, where they’ll allow you to get the ball speed and forgiveness those iron heads offer while gaining the height and spin to make them really playable. Lower-spin guys in players’ irons will also love them.

"The other thing I’ll say, for folks who haven't hit graphite iron shafts before, is that they really take the sting out of impact. This is the first time in a while where I’ve had absolutely no wrist pain after a round. And it doesn't come at the cost of the iron heads’ feel. The T100 I mentioned was still buttery soft."

Puppetmaster: "The Tour V, much like my driver post above, did not spin enough, even though to my eye, they still launched decently high. Andrew, who is a fantastic fitter btw, wanted me to get more spin and a steeper descent angle. The Axiom 105 did just that, with a tight dispersion, were easier to load and had the right amount of feel (yes, subjective) for my swing. I think Fujikura is pretty darn close to that holy grail of both stability and feel with the Axiom (and Ventus). The hardstep was to give me more of the firmer feel I wanted, without needing to go into the 105X, which was too much work for me given my transition characteristics.

"Also, I hit a few draws and cuts for giggles after the fitting with the 105S and was able to do that, at least, to the best of my limited ability.

"One more note – I tried the 75S and 125X too, I think all of us did. The 75 did not feel like a 75 gram, felt much more stable than the weight would suggest. The 125X was stout but didn't feel like a pipe. Definitely felt all of the 125 grams, but again, they’ve done a nice job of leaving enough feel in it even though it's stiff, heavy shaft."

eric61: "Just wanted to start by thanking all 24 employees at Fujikura's U.S. operation here in Carlsbad. Spencer, Eric, Marshall and Kelsi were super generous with their time and knowledge. Andrew Hoang was just terrific in our fittings for Axiom iron shafts and Ventus driver shafts.

"One particular highlight for me was the tour Spencer gave us of the behind-the-scenes stuff — showing us how a shaft is made in-house, from raw materials (thanks Kevin, who showed us how shafts are rolled and admitted the Axiom 125s are the toughest to make) to the paint job to shipping the shafts out."

CactusGolf: "This has been one of the best, once-in-a-lifetime experiences that I’ve ever had for a multitude of reasons! I want to make sure I think everyone at WRX and Fujikura for the opportunity. I was shocked to have been selected and unbelievably excited to dive in head-first into the fitting and product process."

Puppetmaster: "I just wanted to say again how awesome this was in terms of the experience, education, and the chance to sit around and dialog about shaft design, fittings, and everything else golf related. So much learning – from the design/prototyping process to the actual production to the fitting and everything else in between and beyond."

hammergolf: "First and foremost, thank you again to everyone at Fujikura for making us all feel at home. Spencer, Eric, Marshall, Kelsi, and Andrew were all incredible! The phrase is used too much, but these people and this company just get it. They are all dedicated to make the best product possible to help all golfers play their best golf. Fujikura are first class in every thing they do."

Head over to the thread for more comments, reviews, and future updates. Don't forget to become a member today for future opportunities like this, plus product member testing and giveaways!




Viktor Hovland started his final nine holes at the Memorial four strokes behind and made the lone birdie on 17 to get into a playoff. After beating Denny McCarthy in the playoff, Viktor put on his Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore "Indigo" and received the crystal trophy from golf legend Jack Nicklaus. And of course, Jack was wearing his solid gold Rolex Day-Date Ref 18038.

Name: Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore 42Reference: 26470ST.OO.A030CA.01Limited: NoDate: 2018Case: Stainless SteelBezel: Stainless SteelDial: Indigo "Méga Tapisserie"Size: 42mmMovement: Calibre 3126/3840, 59 JewelsPower Reserve: 50 HoursGlass: Sapphire CrystalWaterproof: 100 MetersBracelet: Indigo Rubber StrapPrice: ~$34,000

The Royal Oak Offshore was the idea of Emmanuel Gueit, a young watch designer who was inspired to create a larger and more rugged version of the iconic Royal Oak model, originally designed by Gérald Genta in 1972. Gueit's vision was to create a watch that would appeal to a new generation of watch enthusiasts who desired a sportier and more contemporary timepiece. When the Royal Oak Offshore was unveiled at the Baselworld watch fair in 1993, it caused quite a stir in the watchmaking community. The watch featured a larger case size of 42mm, which was significantly larger than the average watch size at the time. Viktor's "Indigo" version was released in 2018 and can be had with the matching rubber strap as well as a stainless steel bracelet.

A 42mm stainless steel case might not be as big today as it was in 1993 but the long, 55mm, lug-to-lug length does give this Offshore a larger feel on the wrist. On the right side of the case is a blue ceramic crown and matching ceramic pushers. This was Audemars Piguet's first use of Blue Ceramic in the 42mm Offshore line. The caseback is held in place with 8 screws and features a sapphire crystal display window where you can see the movement. On top of the case is the iconic Royal Oak octagon bezel with a thick rubber gasket between them. The bezel is held in place by 8 steel hex screws, another timeless Royal Oak design. An indigo dial sits under the sapphire crystal and contains AP's Méga Tapisserie pattern for a unique texture. Méga Tapisserie is made up of small squares that also contain what looks like milling and there have been a few different sizes of Tapisserie over the years. Most blue Offshore dials have contrasting subdials, but this model keeps a more subtle chronograph look. Hour markers are numerals made from white gold, along with the hour and minute hands. There is also an inner bezel with a tachymeter scale printed on it and done in metallic blue paint. A date window sits at 3 o’clock with an inverse, magnifying, cyclops lens over it in the sapphire crystal.

Inside the Indigo Offshore is a Calibre AP 3126 self-winding, automatic movement that is built from 365 parts. The 3126 is built in-house by AP and contains a modified Dubois-Depraz chronograph module in order to run the chronograph functions. There are 59 jewels in the movement to help it run smoothly and is backed up by a 50-hour power reserve. An Indigo rubber strap holds the piece on Viktor's wrist and is fitted to the case with small screws. The rubber strap comes together with a larger pin buckle and has a satin finish applied to the AP logo. This is a pretty collectible watch and there doesn't seem to be tons of them online for sale. If you are looking to add this piece to your collection then expect to pay around $34,000.




GolfWRX was live this week from Jack's place — Muirfield Village — for the 2023 Memorial Tournament.

We have a look at last week's winner's WITB (Emiliano Grillo) and a peek at what NBA superstar Steph Curry was playing in the pro-am.

Also of interest: In-hand looks at new Titleist T-Series irons and Rory McIlroy‘s new gap wedge.

Check out links to all our photos below!

See what GolfWRXers are saying and join the discussion in the forums.

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DP World Tour @ European Open: McKibbin takes a bow for Northern Ireland LPGA @ Mizuho Americas Open: Rose rises in her professional debut PGA Tour @ The Memorial: Hovland moves to mainland USA for fourth Tour victory Korn Ferry Tour @ UNC Health Challenge: Fernández-Valdés wins at next level PGA Tour Latinoamérica @ Inter Rapidísimo: Myles travels many miles for trophy hammergolf: eric61: Puppetmaster: eric61: CactusGolf: Puppetmaster: hammergolf: WOTW Specs Name: Reference: Limited: Date: Case: Bezel: Dial: Size: Movement: Power Reserve: Glass: Waterproof: Bracelet: Price: General Albums 2023 Memorial – Monday #1 2023 Memorial – Tuesday #1 WITB Albums Bo Hoag – WITB – 2023 Memorial Lee Hodges – WITB – 2023 Memorial Aldrin Potgieter – WITB – 2023 Memorial Hayden Buckley – WITB – 2023 Memorial Chris Gotterup – WITB – 2023 Memorial KJ Choi – WITB – 2023 Memorial Lanto Griffin – WITB – 2023 Memorial Emiliano Grillo – WITB – 2023 Memorial Stephen Curry WITB (NBA basketball player, Golden State Warriors) – 2023 Memorial Tournament Pullout Albums Peter Malnati – new Titleist custom black irons – 2023 Memorial Garrick Higgo – new Titleist irons – 2023 Memorial Titleist irons – new T-150 & T-200 comparison – 2023 Memorial New Titleist U505 – 2023 Memorial New Titleist irons – T100 comparison – 2023 Memorial New Titleist irons – 2023 Memorial Cameron putters – 2023 Memorial Titleist 350 iron – 2023 Memorial Rory McIlroy's new T/M 50* wedge – 2023 Memorial New Titleist irons – T100 & T150 comparison – 2023 Memorial Swag "milkshake" ballmarker – 2023 Memorial Super Stroke Zenergy camo putter grips – 2023 Memorial See what GolfWRXers are saying and join the discussion in the forums. Photos from the 2023 Charles Schwab Challenge Photos from the 2023 PGA Championship Photos from the 2023 AT&T Byron Nelson