Muir cleans up in Fiji


Kieran Muir has followed in the footsteps of Michael Hendry and Ryan Fox, with a clear cut victory in the Higgins Fiji Open.


Elsewhere, Danny Lee had his best result of the season with a T5 at the Byron Nelson, Lydia Ko faded towards the end of the Kingsmill Championship, but still finished T10, which should see her retain her World 1# ranking moving into this week’s Volvik LPGA Championship.


Michael Hendry played all four rounds at the Kansai Open, but otherwise it was a tale of missed cuts for most of our other contenders.


 


Higgins Fiji Open


2016 Mondiale NZ PGA Order of Merit winner Kieran Muir set the tone with an opening round of 64 at the Denarau Golf Club, and was never headed from there, adding rounds of 69, 68 and 68 for a      -19 total to cruise to a seven shot victory over fellow New Zealander Hayden Beard.  Luke Toomey finished 4th on -7.


The win qualifies Kieran for the $A 1.5 million Fiji International at Natadola in August, and the chance to take his career to the next level.


The Fiji circuit continues with the Starwood Classic at Denarau this week.


TX Civil & Logistics WA PGA Championship


2014 NZ Open winner Dimitrios Papadatos took out the latest event on the PGA Tour of Australasia, battling strong winds in the final round to record a four round total of -12 in Kalgoorlie.  Papadatos now heads to the European Tour to try his luck there.


Michael Long did best of the New Zealanders, finishing 25th on -3.  Campbell Rawson finished T49 on +6.


The Tour now takes a break until the Fiji International in August.


Japan Tour


Shugo Imahira romped to victory in the Kansei Open in Kyoto, winning by 6 shots with a final tally of -9 on a typically tough Japan Tour course.  Only seven players finished under par for the tournament, including 2016 NZ PGA champion Brad Kennedy, who banked another $30,000 to keep his cash register jingling.


Michael Hendry had another mid field finish, T36 on +6.


Ben Campbell started with a promising even par 71, but faded to a 78 in round 2 to miss the cut by two shots.  The experience should however set him up well to tackle his next Japan Tour start this week, which has the added carrot of being an Open Championship qualifier.


 


PGA Tour


Danny Lee has had some poor weekends of late, but corrected that in the AT & T Byron Nelson with rounds of 64 and 68 to propel him to a T5 placing, four shots behind winner Billy Horschel, who beat Jason Day on the first playoff hole to win one of the most prestigious titles on the Tour.


Danny had a wobbly start to his final round with two early bogeys, but rallied with a 32 on the back nine to record his first Top 10 finish of the 2017 season, and nearly double his official earnings with a cheque for $NZ 380,000.  A couple of late birdies were particularly valuable for Danny: each shot gained being worth about $100,000 at this level.


He now moves up 20 places on the FedEx Cup rankings to 103#.


Steven Alker and Tim Wilkinson both failed to make it to the weekend.


LPGA Tour


It looked like Lydia Ko was going to give the Kingsmill Championship a good shake at the halfway mark, but in the end it was Lexi Thompson’s week with a commanding display and a four round score of -20.  Meanwhile, Lydia went the other way with closing rounds of 70 & 73 – the 73 could have been even worse after she doubled the par 5 15th hole, but two late birdies pulled her up to a T10 finish.


It’s a month before the next LPGA Major – the KPMG PGA Championship at Olympia Fields – so it would be nice to see Lydia put four good rounds together, and get back into winning form by then.


Other Tours


On the European Tour, the cut in the Rocco Forte Open was made at a hot -5, unfortunately one fewer than Ryan Fox’s 36 hole score of -4.  The tournament was won by Alvaro Quiros of Portugal, who beat Zander Lombard of South Africa on the first playoff hole after both had finished tied on -14 in regulation play.


Bernhard Langer won another Seniors Major when he took out the Regions Tradition.  It was the 8th Major victory for the 59 year old German, who has certainly tapped into a rich lode of form and money on this Tour, and brought him level with Jack Nicklaus in Seniors Majors.


On a lower level, New Zealand’s Shaun Jones is currently trying his luck on the Alps Tour, which sees a mix of ex-European Tour players and up and comers battling it out across Europe.  The latest tournament was the Gösser Open in Austria, where Shaun missed the cut after rounds of 76 & 70.  He will be teeing it up again in Paris this week (not sure where the Alps feature there), and you can follow his progress on www.alpstour.com