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PGA Tour Monthly Recap – October Came and Went

By Michael Wynn
Published on November 7, 2018

Do you remember watching the 2018 Ryder Cup? It wasn’t that long ago.

But believe it or not, it’s been over four weeks since the Americans got blasted in Paris, and the first full month of the 2018-2019 FedEx Cup schedule is already over and done with!

Boy, does time fly when you’re having fun.

I had time to squeeze in my own wedding and play in a prestigious golf tournament myself, so I must say, it has been quite the productive month!

Just when it felt like October was getting started, we’re turning the page to November and are getting ready for turkey day! But as we embark on a new month on the PGA Tour, it’s important to take a quick look back at the previous 30 days.

After kicking off the year in wine country at the Safeway Open, the PGA Tour had a 3-week spell in Asia which culminated with a WGC event. That same week witnessed the Sanderson Farms Championship, so in total, there were 5 PGA Tour events taking place during “month 10” of the calendar year.

Take a look at what went down.

Kevin Tway – Meet “Winner’s Circle”

The opening event of the 2018/2019 PGA Tour season got started with a bang as the Safeway Open took place in California.

The players convened in Napa Valley at the gorgeous Silverado Resort and Spa to tee it up for the first time in the new season.

With everybody starting from scratch, this marked the first opportunity to jump out in front atop the FedEx Cup standings. That honor would go to Kevin Tway, the 30-year-old graduate of Oklahoma State University.

The 1986 PGA Championship winner’s son began the final round at 13 under par, trailing 54-hole leader Brandt Snedeker by three shots.

But a tough day for Brandt and birdies at 17 and 18 from Kevin meant that both men (along with Ryan Moore) were heading to a three-man sudden-death playoff.

Tway kept his foot on the gas pedal, birdieing the par-5 18th hole two more times in the playoff, which eliminated Snedeker but couldn’t fend off Moore.

Then a birdie on the 10th (third playoff hole) meant that Kevin had reeled off five straight “birds” going back to the 71st hole of the tournament.

More importantly, it meant that the 87th-place finisher on last season’s FedEx Cup standings had a head start on this year’s points list.

And it also meant that Kevin Tway was no longer living in his father’s shadow.

Kevin is now a winner on the PGA Tour, and that can’t ever be taken away from him.

Marc Leishman Goes Low in Malaysia

Ready to hear about some crazy-low scoring? Well, all you have to do is feast your eyes on the second tournament of the current PGA Tour season, and you’ll be introduced to an incredible birdie and eagle fest!

The tour moved to Malaysia for the second tournament of the season, the TCIMB Classic.

Poor Bronson Burgoon, Emiliano Grillo, and Chesson Hadley. These guys all finished at 21 under par for the week as they each fired four rounds in the 60s.

And they still came up five shots short of even sneaking into a playoff!

That’s how good Marc Leishman played when he captured the CIMB Classic at TPC Kuala Lumpur.

When it was all said and done, the accomplished Aussie had posted 26 under par, a new tournament record.

After opening with a relatively quiet 68, Marc blistered the course on Friday en route to shooting 10 under par 62.

And truth be told, he was actually upped by Gary Woodland’s 61 that same afternoon!

But Woodland was only able to shoot 6 under over the weekend, falling well off the torrid pace set by Marc.

Leishman would post 67-65 on Saturday and Sunday respectively, which was more than enough to earn him the trophy.

Achievement Unlocked – Brooks Koepka Reaches #1 in the World

After the tournament ended in Malaysia, many remained on Asian soil and took the flight north up to South Korea, where they landed on Jeju Island.

The CJ Cup was played at the stunning Nine Bridges Golf Club, and we’d end the week with a new player atop the Official World Golf Rankings (OWGR).

This week would be another that would feature plenty of low scores, but none went lower than Brooks Koepka.

Knowing that a victory would supplant Dustin Johnson as the new top dog was all the motivation that the three-time major champion needed.

Brooks got to 13 under by the end of the third round and was four clear of the field. But rather than leave the fate of the golf tournament in the hands of his competitors, “Brooksy” went out and left nothing to chance.

Despite starting slow and being one over through his first four holes, Koepka birdied the 5th and 6th holes to get the round into the red.

And then Koepka shattered everyone else’s hopes and dreams by shooting 7 under 29 on his inward nine.

The chiseled 28-year-old from West Palm Beach, Florida, birdied five of his first eight holes on his back nine before putting an emphatic stamp on his day with a crowd-pleasing eagle on 18.

Brooks’ final-round 64 landed him at -21 for the week and four shots ahead of his nearest colleague.

The win pushed Koepka to the top of the OWGR for the first time in his career, something that may or may not have even sunk in yet around the golf community.

But if you are waiting for Brooks to slow down and stop winning golf tournaments, you’d better pull up a chair and get mighty comfortable.

You could be here a while.

Xander Schauffele Continues to Impress on the Big Stage

The final leg of the Asian swing featured the best field yet, as a “who’s who” in the world of golf was on hand in Shanghai to take part in the festivities.

Trying to predict who would come out on top in the WGC-HSBC Champions was like trying to find a needle in a haystack, so let’s just find out what ended up happening.

The scoring at Sheshan International GC was much more difficult than the players had encountered during the previous two weeks, but a couple of guys were still able to go pretty low.

Xander Schauffele and Tony Finau both birdied the 72nd hole to finish at 14 under par, four shots better than third-place finisher Justin Rose.

In fact, Xander converted an 18-foot birdie putt at the 214-yard par-3 17th hole just to put himself in a position to birdie 18 and get in a playoff.

I’m beginning to wonder if the former SDSU Aztec golfer even has blood flowing through his arms during times like these. Because Xander has shown us time and time again that on the big stage, he has ice water running through his veins.

The 2017 PGA Tour Rookie of the Year birdied the 18th once again in the playoff and snagged his third victory on Tour in the process.

Schauffele has vaulted himself up the OWGR and will be a force to be reckoned with for the foreseeable future.

Now sitting in the 12th slot, ahead of household names like Jordan Spieth and Tiger Woods, it’s time to start giving this kid the respect he has earned.

Cameron Champ – The New Phenomenon in Golf

The same time that the WGC was being played, there was another PGA Tour event on tap some 7,600 miles away. Jackson, Mississippi, was the venue for the Sanderson Farms Championship.

Anyone who hadn’t heard of Cameron Champ before this one better start taking notice, because this dude is the real deal.

Cameron Champ fired a 65 on Thursday in Mississippi to open up a one-shot lead over Cameron Tringale and the rest of the field. And the former Texas A&M golfer never looked back.

The 23-year-old freakish athlete had built up a four-shot lead by the time that Saturday’s third round had been completed, and the way he was swinging the golf club, nobody had a chance to catch him.

Cameron was caught momentarily when he and Corey Conners stood on the 12th tee at 16-under for the tournament. And they were still tied when they both rolled in their nine-foot birdie putts on the par-3 13th.

But Champ added birdies on 14, 15, 16, and 18 to jump all the way up to 21 under.

If you think this is the last you’ll be hearing about the long-bomber from Sacramento, think again.

You can say what you want about guys hitting it a long way on the PGA Tour, but I’ll confidently tell you this right now.

Cameron Champ is the longest of the bunch. Just look at the PGA Tour leaders in club head speed. Cameron is sitting alone at the top at a crazy 129.99 mph. Nobody else on tour even eclipses 125 mph.

And ready for his ball speed?

How about 193.25 mph – more than 8 mph faster than the next closest guy!

If this kid’s putting catches up with his long game, he’ll wind up with more trophies than he’ll know what to do with.

What to Expect in November

Typically, November would be counted as a “slow month” on the PGA Tour.

But there’s this little match taking place in Las Vegas the day after Thanksgiving between a couple of guys – and something tells me there might be a fan or two who is interested in checking it out.

I’m talking about the Tiger vs. Phil match that’s taking place at Shadow Creek Golf Course.

With $9 million up for grabs, people are going to wind up coughing up the $19.99 that Pay-Per-View is requiring whether they like it or not.

Remember, ladies and gentlemen, that this is Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson we are talking about.

Golf fans who reside in Las Vegas like myself actually didn’t have to wait until November 23rd to experience world-class golfers playing for tons of money, because the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open kicked the new month off already!

The next chance to pick up some FedEx Cup points is at the Mayakoba Golf Classic in Playa del Carmen, with the RSM Classic at Sea Island in Georgia to follow that.

Don’t worry; there will be ample opportunities to bet these tournaments on the most trusted golf betting sites, and you can bet your bottom dollar I’ll be adding my two cents on which matchups I’ll be targeting.

I’ll be discussing the much-anticipated duel between Woods and Mickelson at great length as we approach Thanksgiving, so bookmark our blog section to stay in the loop with everything.

And once November is over and we look ahead toward Christmas, I’ll wrap up everything that happened in the world of golf and hook you up with another monthly recap!

Until then, enjoy all the golf, and good luck turning a profit!