Na wins in playoff, Rahm's hot streak continues and player secures tour card despite DQ: What you missed
Welcome to the Dew Sweeper, your one-stop shop to catch up on the weekend action from the golf world. From the professional tours, trending news, social media headlines and upcoming events, here's every golf-related thing you need to know for the morning of Oct. 7.
Na beats Cantlay at Shriners
Kevin Na is proof that patience is a virtue.
Na, who won just once on the PGA Tour in his first 369 career starts, captured his third victory in his last 30 appearances by defeating Patrick Cantlay in playoff at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open.
The finish, while theatric, was far from an instant classic. Na held a three-shot lead over the field heading to the back nine at TPC at Summerlin, but tripled the par-4 10th to bring Cantlay, Bryson DeChambeau and a host of others into the mix.
"I hit a really bad tee shot, got a little unlucky and made a triple, and all of a sudden it felt like I was the underdog," Na said. "But I'm a fighter."
The advantage officially vanished with a bogey at the par-5 16th against Cantlay's birdie. Cantlay's solo lead would last just one hole though after putting his tee shot at the par-3 17th into the water. A nifty up-and-down out of the bunker from Na tied things up heading into the final hole, where both players hit poor approaches that lead to pars, resulting in a playoff.
After trading birdies on the first hole of sudden death—highlighted by Na walking in his putt a good two strides before it fell—Cantlay's approach at the 18th in his third go-around was well short, a distance that led to a three-jack. After a gunned birdie try, Na cleaned up the remaining five feet to claim the tournament.
"I've been in this situation before where I've lost the lead, and I've failed many times," Na said. "I've lost three playoffs, this was my first playoff win, and I knew, I kept telling myself this is the playoff that I'm going to win."
A fitting way to end, as Na rolled in over 550 feet of putts in Las Vegas, the most in PGA Tour history.
The win, coupled with a T-14 at the season-opening Greenbrier, gives Na a formidable case regarding the Presidents Cup, especially since his skillset (chiefly, short game) is one the American club lacks. The unfortunate truth is captain's picks are more political than mere performance, and with a number of stars needing a wildcard spot to make the United States roster, it's likely Na will be on the outside looking in come November when rosters are finalized. That he's never made a U.S. appearance, at 36, doesn't help.
Of course, as he asserted Sunday, Na relishes the underdog role, and the last 15 months have underlined he's a late bloomer. Na can make things interesting, and very uncomfortable for the powers that be, with one more stellar appearance in the upcoming weeks.
Phil goes full Phil out of bush
Phil Mickelson finished 61st on the Shriners score board. But this is 2019, where lives are lived through six-second clips. And Mickelson has never been one judged by score, but how that score came to be.
Which is a long-winded way of saying: Look at this video of Phil hitting a driver from a bush:
As he nears 50, it's becoming clear Mickelson is golf's version of Dr. J. His accomplishments, and shortcomings, secondary to the style, a testament that not all art resides in museums.
And in the off chance you're reading this Phil, feel free to re-enact Julius Erving's "rock the baby" dunk on a Lil Tykes hoop for your next social media clip.
Luke Walker/Getty Images
Rahm repeats in Spain
The next time a national open is held, do your bank account a favor and throw a couple bucks in Jon Rahm's direction.
Rahm, already a two-time Irish Open champ, can say the same about his homeland of Spain, as the 24-year-old defended his title at the Open de Espa``ña with a five-shot victory.
“In front of a home crowd, it's always really hard for me to keep everything under control and to play the weekend that I did for them, it's always really fun,” Rahm said. “I can't wait to come back next year and hopefully do it three times. It was unlike anything else. Spanish crowds love golf, they love us coming back. It's hard to believe how many people come out here.”
Rahm entered the final round with a five-shot lead thanks to a Saturday 63, and did little on Sunday to put that advantage in doubt. He played the first 10 holes in five under, and with six holes to go increased the gap between the field to 10 shots. Rafa Cabrera-Bello birdied the last five holes to make the final look respectable.
It is Rahm's fifth career European trophy—absurd given he's played in just 14 regular European Tour events—and ninth worldwide win. The win also continues a torrid streak for Rahm, who now has eight top-seven finishes in his last 11 appearances, and moves to No. 4 in the World Rankings.
Knight dedicates win to deceased brother
Cheyenne Knight’s first win on the LPGA Tour came in front of family and friends. It was dedicated, however, to one who wasn't there.
Knight became just the third American to win on the tour this year, her six-under 66 on Sunday at Old American G.C. outside Dallas good enough for a two-shot victory at the Volunteers of America Classic over Jaye Marie Green and Brittany Altomare.
“When I got my card, I said this is the event I was most looking forward to,” Knight said on the 18th green. “Who would have thought this would help me secure my card? This means everything, knowing I can persevere, and I’m strong enough to do anything.”
The triumph was two-fold. The first, mentioned above, regards Knight's status. She entered the week 120th on the tour's money list and needed a strong push to crack the top 100 to keep her card. On that front, mission accomplished.
The second, and more meaningful, level involves Knight's brother, Brandon, who died in a car wreck 10 years ago. Cheyenne, who grew up an hour from Dallas, dedicated her win to him, and did so with more than words. Her 66 involved 33s on both nines ... the same number Brandon wore in high school football.
“I think I had a second caddie out there, and I know he’s watching in heaven, just so proud of me,” Knight said.
Player earns LPGA card despite forced WD
Mind Muangkhumsakul earned her LPGA Tour card on Sunday. Just not in the fashion she envisioned earlier in the week.
Muangkhumsakul entered the Symetra Tour's season finale 10th on the circuit's money list, with the top 10 advancing to the LPGA. Unfortunately for the 20-year-old from Thailand, she was disqualified from the Tour Championship on Wednesday for missing her pro-am tee time.
According to Muangkhumsakul, she was under the impression she wasn't going off until 9 a.m. The problem is Mind was scheduled for 8 a.m., and despite a rain delay, she was unable to catch up to her group by the second hole, forcing her out of the event.
She stayed around, however, and came to the course on Sunday to practice and watch her fate unfold. Luckily for Muangkhumsakul, her two nearest competitors—Kyung Kim and Min Seo Kwak—failed to make weekend charges, giving Mind enough breathing room to earn promotion.
“I’m really happy,” she told LPGA media. “It’s really exciting. I would like to go back to Thailand and work hard and practice. It’s exciting to practice like I’m planning for next year.”
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