Lydia Ko was close to her best over the weekend in the Swinging Skirts tournament in Taiwan, finishing a clear cut 2nd, and taking her official 2017 LPGA Tour earnings to well over the $US 1.0 million mark.  Michael Hendry will be wondering what might have been, after the Bridgestone Open was cut to 36 holes thanks to Typhoon Lan, but he recorded another top 10 finish on the Japan Tour just the same.  Elsewhere, there were creditable performances by Gareth Paddison in Macau, Mark Brown in WA, and Peter Fowler on the European Senior Tour.

Sergio Garcia showed his liking for playing in Spain, particularly on the iconic Valderrama course, with victory in the Andalucia Valderrama Masters, supported by Sergio’s own foundation.

Swinging Away in Taiwan

Lydia Ko would have been an easy winner of the Swinging Skirts LPGA Taiwan Championship for the 3rd time, had not Eun-Hee Ji of Korea chosen to deliver arguably the performance of a lifetime to take out the tournament by six shots, finishing on -17.  It was her first victory on the Tour for 8 years – well before Lydia Ko turned professional.  Lydia looked to be in danger of falling back into the pack when she stood over a 5 metre par putt on the 7th hole in the final round, having birdied the first followed by five pars while those around were picking up birdies.  However, Lydia’s putt went in, triggering off two birdies on 8 & 9, with four more to follow on the back nine for a closing 65.

Lydia pocketed $US 202,000 for her efforts, and now sits 10# for money earned in 2017, as she heads towards being the fastest player to $US 10.0 million in the history of the LPGA.  A great response to those who had written off this year as a bad one for the Ko machine.

Japan Tour

With Typhoon Lan and its 215 kph winds threatening to cause major disruption throughout Japan over the weekend, it’s a wonder any golf at all was completed in the Bridgestone Open.  Rounds 1 & 4 were wiped out, but there was time for 36 holes, at which point Ryuko Tokimatsu stood atop the leaderboard on -9, thanks to a 2nd round 64.  Michael Hendry had shot 67 & 71 to lie T9, which collected him another $NZ 20,000+ cheque when no further play was possible.

Michael now moves on to the WGC-HSBC Championship in Shanghai, where he will have fellow Kiwi Ryan Fox as company later in the week.

PGA Tour

History was made with the first regular PGA Tour event to take place on Korean soil – the CJ Cup at Nine Bridges on Jeju Island.   The winds may not have been as strong as Typhoon Lan, but there was enough around to beat up most of the field, especially over the weekend when par was a great score.  The course was certainly a fitting challenge for those competing for the $US 9.25 million on offer.

In an up and down final round, Justin Thomas held the lead, then faltered but recovered with a birdie on 18 to get into a playoff with Marc Leishman, which Thomas took out with a birdie on the 2nd time down playoff hole 18.  Leishman looked well out of it around the turn, but made a couple of outrageous pars on 10 & 11 to stay in touch and nearly pull off an unlikely victory.

Danny Lee started well at -3 through nine holes in his opening round, but it was mostly backwards from there, and he will want to forget his 80/79 weekend, which finished with a closing nine holes of 43. Still, he returns from Asia with around $NZ 350k in his pocket, as a platform for the rest of the season.

European Tour

It must be very satisfying to host your own tournament and then win it, as Sergio Garcia did in the Andalucia Valderrama Masters at Valderrama this week.  A final round of 67 was good enough to get him to -12 for a one shot victory over Joost Luiten (Netherlands), followed by Daniel Brooks of England on -7.

Sergio was made an Honorary Life Member of the European Tour last Friday, and his wife is expecting their first child, so everything seems to be going well for the popular Spaniard, who will no doubt have further Majors in his sights in 2018.

On the European Senior Tour, Peter Fowler had a sniff at victory in the Farmfoods European Senior Masters at the Forest of Arden course near Coventry, only to fade with a 75 to finish T5 on +2.  It’s still been a great campaign for the evergreen Chook, who has piled up earnings of around $NZ 265k, with the season ending Tour Championship in Mauritius in December still to follow.

Other Tours

Gareth Paddison had a worthwhile trip to the Macau Open, finishing T12 on -2, 11 shots behind winner Gaganjeet Bhullar of India, and earning around $NZ 10k as a result.  Daniel Chopra also showed some glimpses of his best form with a T24 finish on +1.

In the Nexus Risk TSA Group WA Open, there was no denying Australian Steven Leaney, who recorded his 6th WA Open title with a final score of -15 at Royal Perth.  Best of the New Zealanders was Mark Brown (T9, -9), followed by Michael Long (T36, -1), Brad Shilton (T40, +1) and Luke Toomey (T47, +3).

On the China Tour, the Foshan Open also doubled as the penultimate tournament on the European Challenge Tour, attracting a strong field as a result.  Oliver Farr of Wales won on -18; Josh Geary finished T26 on -2, and Mathew Perry T51 on +5.