Jason Dufner won his first tourney since the 2013 USA PGA in the Career Builder at La Quinta. Over in Abu Dhabi Ricky Fowler held off the challenge of Thomas Pieters to win.
Steve Palmer in the Racing Post is in a rich vein of winning tickles. In his column he was boasting – and why not ? – of his £10,000 win after backing Haydn Porteous each way. I followed Steve closely. No doubt next week, he will bemoaning his luck as Jamie Lovemark, after landing in the drink 3 times to double bogey, finished outside the top 5. The Pargie tenner was looking at £200 if he did manage top five so I was less than happy when his ball went aquatic.
I was nonetheless pleased for Ricky Fowler. I have a feeling that this year the 27 year old who has yet to win a major will do so. Jason Day did and of course Rory, the other 27 year old, has 4 under his belt. The tourney was showcased as the Rory v Jordan Spieth show. Though both finished in the top 5 it was Ricky Fowler and Belgian Thomas Pieters, recommended by Steve Palmer, who dominated the final day. Pieters, a big hitter from Belgium, is only 23 and probably now has more chance than his compatriot Nicholas Colsaerts of making the Ryder Cup. Another continental fringe candidate Joost Luiten of Holland had a good tourney too. I was particularly impressed by Thomas who kept his cool.
You could not say this of Jamie Landmark, now recovered from severe injury, and who had every chance of winning going into the fourth round but blew it. Pete Dyer who designed Sawgrass was the architect of La Quinta and built a tough examination. The fifteenth had a massive bunker, 18 feet below the green. There was footage of the speaker of the House of Representatives Tip O’Neill unable to get out even when he threw the ball. Even if you did clear the sheer side then the pace required to do so could carry the ball beyond the green. The seventeenth Island green was similar to the Sawgrass hole with no margin for error. Jason Dufner won the play off David Lingmerth on this hole. For the pro am amateur participator, two of whom hit holes in one, I still would have thought the courses – there are three – would be too demanding. Watching the painfully slow Kevin Na, I wonder when the U.S. PGA will follow the Europeans in penalising slow play as they did with Jordan Spieth.