Tiger arrives at Portrush, Phil's weight loss and another first-time winner on tour: 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 July 15.
Another first-time winner on tour
A familiar storyline played out on Sunday at the John Deere Classic. Frequent as that tale has become, in no way has it become tired.
Dylan Frittelli is the latest protagonist of this plot—the plot being players earning their PGA Tour breakthrough—getting his inaugural win on tour at TPC Deere Run.
"It's still sinking in," Frittelli said. "It means a lot. My focus this week was to just try and get some FedEx Cup points and try to move up in that top 125 (Frittelli was 153rd before this week), and now, perspective is going to change big time."
Aided by 54-hole leaders Andrew Landry and Cameron Tringale going sideways, the 29-year-old Frittelli toured the front nine in 31 strokes, then added consecutive birdies at the 10th and 11th holes to take the lead. He was able to add another red figure with a beautiful up-and-down at the par-5 17th to turn in a bogey-free 64, a score good enough for a two-shot victory over Russell Henley.
The South African is the 12th first-time winner on tour this season. Aside from invites to next year's Masters and PGA Championship, Frittelli received the final spot into this week's Open Championship at Royal Portrush.
"Hopefully I can be calm by the time I get there," Frittelli said. "It's going to be a fun flight."
Kevin C. Cox
Wiesberger wins, Beef punches Portrush ticket
Bernd Wiesberger left with a trophy. Andrew (Beef) Johnston...well, he didn't. But he does get a chance to contend for golf's most famous piece of hardware.
Wiesberger was able to hold off a hard-charging Benjamin Hebert, the latter who turned in a final-round 62 to force a playoff, in three holes of sudden death to win the Scottish Open.
“That was something different,” Wiesberger said. “I’m grateful at how this turned out. Everything was different from the first three days. This is the biggest event I have ever been in position to win. So I knew it was going to be tough and it was. I struggled all day and had to dig deep.”
Wiesberger, who won the Made in Denmark event just two months ago, is now atop the Euro Tour's Race to Dubai standings thanks to his 22-under performance at the Renaissance Club. Now up to No. 40 in the world, the 33-year-old enters Portrush as an interesting watch. For years the Austrian has been touted as one of the most talented players on the Old World circuit, but that dexterity has not translated to the majors, with zero top 15s in 20 previous starts. Now enjoying the hottest run of his career, Wiesberger can put that reputation to bed this week.
Joining Wiesberger in Northern Ireland will be Johnston. Entering the day 10 shots back of the lead, Johnston turned in a Sunday 62 to grab one of the final Open qualifying spots. The jolly Englishman, who last week shared his battles with mental health, was emotional following his round:
The 2016 Open was one of the platforms to fame for Johnston. He's trying to gather a sense of equilibrium with his game and his position in the sport; hopefully this week aids in his pursuit of both.
Tiger arrives at Portrush
The Open Championship returns to the Emerald Isle for the first time in 68 years. Tiger Woods' sabbatical hasn't been as long, yet the reigning Masters champ has played just four competitive rounds in two months.
Yet Woods enters the year's final major as one of its favorites, and judging by the response to his Portrush arrival, one of its crowd darlings.
On Sunday morning Woods made his first appearance in Northern Ireland, on Portrush's venerable links within two hours of his overnight Florida flight landing. The 43-year-old, who has recently changed his practice schedule at majors to accommodate the limitations of his body, played 18 holes with Patrick Reed, with observers noting Woods looked a tad rusty off seven-hour journey.
Of course, that rust could also be attributed to a lack of reps. Woods has vacationed across the world in the past month, and since his triumph at Augusta National, the 15-time major winner has played in just three tournaments. It's a schedule that has led some pundits and players, such as Ryder Cup captain Padraig Harrington, to question Woods' game plan.
That sentiment was lost on the crowds, as Woods was greeted with shouts and cries throughout his round, many of the locals seeing Woods for the first time in his career.
Woods is a three-time Open champ, his last win coming at Royal Liverpool in 2006. He led last year's Open at Carnoustie on the back nine, although ultimately finished T-6.
Phil's "hard reset" for Open
Phil Mickelson won the opening rounds in his fight against Father Time this year with a runner-up at the Desert Classic and win at the AT&T Pebble-Beach Pro Am. However, since that Pebble victory, Mickelson has been on the business end of that bout. The 49-year-old has missed seven of his last 10 cuts (which includes an early exit at the WGC-Match Play) and finished outside the top 50 at the PGA Championship and U.S. Open. The stats underline the struggle, as Mickelson ranks 129th in strokes gained, 137th in sg/off-the-tee and 145th in sg/putting.
Struggles that have also explained his relative social media silence as of late. "I haven't felt good about myself and the way I've been playing, and so I haven't done anything or wanted to be in public," Mickelson said on Sunday, in his first Instagram post of the month.
Knowing his game needed a shot of vitality before the final major of the season, Mickelson said he went for a "hard reset," going on a retreat and losing 15 pounds in the last 10 days.
Fifteen pounds is dramatic, although we doubt the body change conjures a Koepka-like response from Brandel Chamblee.
As Mickelson admits, he's not sure if the weight loss will help, but it certainly can't hurt. In his last 17 major appearances, he has just one top-10 finish (his epic duel with Henrik Stenson at Troon) with five missed cuts in this span. At 80-1, Mickelson is a claret jug long-shot. But this is a tournament that favors veterans, giving Mickelson a chance to prolong his Father Time battle a bit further.
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