Planet Golf News for Monday, April 1, 2024

Stephan Jaeger 'slays the dragon,' wins his first PGA Tour title, Nelly Korda wins third straight LPGA start at 2024 Ford Championship

Monday, April 1, 2024

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Stephan Jaeger denies Scottie Scheffler's third straight victory in Houston


Today’s Top Golf News in Two Minutes

Good Morning,

Golf enthusiasts, buckle up because the greens have been absolutely buzzing with action, triumphs, and a bit of drama this past weekend. From the sun-soaked (and often rain-soaked) courses of Houston and Arizona to the historic fairways of Augusta, let's dive into the heart of what's been happening in the world of golf.

Starting off with a bang at the 2024 Texas Children's Houston Open, Stephan Jaeger clinched his first PGA Tour victory, a dream moment that was long overdue after 134 starts. Picture this: a nail-biting finale where Jaeger, despite being in a deadlock with golf heavyweights including Scottie Scheffler, pulls off a stunning final-round 67 to grab the win. And oh, the drama didn't end there – Scheffler, aiming for a third straight tour win, missed a crucial putt on the 18th, leaving Jaeger to bask in the glory of his maiden win.

Meanwhile, over at the LPGA Ford Championship, Nelly Korda was writing her own headline with a sensational third consecutive tour win, a feat not seen in eight years. Battling soggy conditions in Gilbert, Arizona, Korda's mastery on a challenging Sunday saw her finishing with a commanding lead, etching her name alongside legends. The young Aussie Hira Naveed made headlines too, finishing strong in her second-ever start.

Not to be overshadowed, the seasoned Retief Goosen emerged victorious at The Galleri Classic on the PGA Champions Tour. Goosen navigated through a dramatic final round filled with errors from his closest competitors, showing that experience and calm can indeed triumph in the face of chaos.

Across the globe, the Hero Indian Open saw Keita Nakajima claim a wire-to-wire victory, a significant first DP World Tour title for the young Japanese prodigy. Nakajima's triumph wasn't just a win; it was a statement of intent, marking him as a rising star to watch out for.

As we edge closer to the Masters, the golfing community is abuzz with speculation and excitement. Brooks Koepka, Jon Rahm, Scottie Scheffler, and Rory McIlroy are among the favorites, with Tiger Woods’ expected participation adding a layer of anticipation and nostalgia.

In the broader landscape, the golf world is eyeing the potential merger between the PGA Tour and LIV Golf with bated breath. The merger talks remind us of past sports integrations, hinting at a unified future that could reshape the sport's landscape. Amid these discussions, golfers like Graeme McDowell and Collin Morikawa voice optimism for a harmonious resolution, envisioning a future where the sport's best can compete together, free from the division.

And then there's the lighter side of golf, from Cameron Smith's buzzworthy haircut, Charles Barkley's redemption on the course, to insights on what makes a clutch putter from Chris DiMarco. Not to forget, Paige Spiranac's new look as she turns 31, proving that golf's appeal stretches far beyond the fairways. [Michael Wolf]

[ Today’s Top 10 Stories In Depth ]

[1] 2024 Texas Children's Houston Open


On Sunday at the 2024 Texas Children's Houston Open, Stephan Jaeger emerged victorious, marking his first PGA Tour win. Entering the final round, Jaeger was in a five-way tie for the lead at 9-under, alongside Scottie Scheffler, David Skinns, Alejandro Tosti, and Thomas Detry. Despite the competitive field and the presence of World No. 1 Scottie Scheffler, Jaeger shot a final-round 67 to secure his win. This victory was particularly significant for Jaeger, who had not won in his previous 134 starts on the PGA Tour. The win was a remarkable turnaround from his performance at this year’s Farmers Insurance Open, where he had held the 54-hole lead but finished T-3 after shooting even par in the final round. Jaeger's success in Houston was attributed to his solid short game and putting, areas he had been focusing on improving. His performance on the greens was especially notable, ranking third in strokes gained/putting during the tournament.


[2] LPGA Ford Championship presented by KCC


Nelly Korda achieved a remarkable victory at the Ford Championship, securing her third consecutive win on the LPGA Tour, a feat that hadn't been accomplished in eight years. She shot a 7-under 65 on a challenging, soggy Sunday at Seville Golf and Country Club in Gilbert, Arizona, finishing with a two-stroke lead at 20-under 268. This win marked her 11th career LPGA victory and placed her alongside Ariya Jutanugarn, who last won three straight starts in 2016, and Nancy Lopez, who won five straight in 1978.

Korda's performance was particularly impressive given the progressively worsening weather conditions, which included a significant temperature drop and steady rain throughout the final round. Despite these challenges, she managed to maintain her composure and skill, exemplified by nearly holing out her second shot on the short par-4 16th, which allowed her to take the lead, and securing a birdie on the 18th hole.

Her closest competitor was Australian rookie Hira Naveed, who finished second at 18 under after shooting a 66. Naveed, in her second career start, had a chance to tie Korda on the par-5 18th but fell short after her chip shot did not set her up for a birdie.

Lexi Thompson was also in contention, briefly sharing the lead and staying within a shot through 15 holes. However, her chances diminished after a wayward drive on the 16th hole led to a bogey, and a missed short par putt on the 17th further set her back. Thompson finished in a five-way tie for fourth at 17 under.

The tournament began with two days of record-setting scores, but the final round's inclement weather did little to slow down the leaders, with four players tied for the lead and 11 within two shots early on the back nine. Korda's victory at the Ford Championship not only showcases her exceptional talent and resilience but also solidifies her position as a dominant force in women's golf.


[3] PGA Champions Tour event The Galleri Classic


Retief Goosen emerged as the winner of The Galleri Classic, securing the victory with a final round score of 3-under 69, which brought his total to 13-under 203 for the tournament. The victory was particularly dramatic due to the challenging conditions on the final holes and the errors made by his closest competitors.

The other finishers of the tournament were as follows:

Alex Cejka tied for second place with a score of 12-under 204. Despite being in contention and at one point tied at 14-under with other leaders, Cejka finished with a 70 after bogeys on the 15th and 16th holes.

Steven Alker also tied for second place with a score of 12-under 204. Alker was in a strong position to win but made critical errors in the final holes, including a bogey-bogey finish and hitting his approach into the water on the 18th hole.

Ricardo Gonzalez shared the second-place spot with a score of 12-under 204. Gonzalez, who was the overnight leader, struggled with various parts of his game on the back nine but managed to post a 71 to secure his position in the top finishers.

David Toms, the previous year's winner, finished in fifth place with a score of 11-under 205. His final round of 3-under 69 was not enough to defend his title but still placed him as the top American finisher in the tournament.

The Galleri Classic was held at the Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, California, and featured a purse of $2.2 million. The event is named after GRAIL's multi-cancer early detection test and is part of the PGA TOUR Champions.


[4] Hero Indian Open


Tt the Hero Indian Open, Keita Nakajima completed a wire-to-wire victory, securing his first DP World Tour title in emphatic style. Nakajima, a 23-year-old from Saitama, Japan, finished the tournament with a final round of 1 over par 73, bringing his total to 17 under 271. This performance gave him a four-shot lead over a three-way tie for second place, consisting of Veer Ahlawat, Joannes Vreeman of the US, and Sweden’s Sebastian Soderberg, who all finished on 13 under 275.

Nakajima's victory was notable for several reasons. It was his first DP World Tour win in just his 11th start of his rookie season, and he pocketed $382,500 for his efforts. His win was also a record-setting one for the Hero Indian Open, marking a record winning score. Nakajima's triumph was particularly impressive given the challenging conditions at the DLF Golf and Country Club in Gurgaon, where the tournament was held. Despite a tough back nine during the final round, Nakajima managed to maintain his lead, thanks in part to a significant advantage he had built up earlier in the round.

This victory places Nakajima among the rising stars of golf, having previously been the top-ranked amateur for 87 weeks and winning the Japan Golf Tour order of merit in his first full season as a professional. Following this win, Nakajima has set his sights on securing a PGA Tour card, aiming to finish in the top 10 on the DP World Tour and then move to the PGA Tour in 2025.


[5] The Masters


Brooks Koepka was close to winning his first green jacket last year, and he will try once again when the 2024 Masters tees off Thursday, April 11. Koepka had a four-shot lead over Jon Rahm in the third round of last year's event at Augusta National Golf Club before inclement weather caused a rain delay. The Florida native then faltered and finished the final round three over par, which landed him one stroke behind Rahm on the final leaderboard. Koepka is 21-1 to win, while Rahm has favorable 2024 Masters odds as the defending champion at 13-1.

Scottie Scheffler is the 5-1 favorite, while Rory McIlroy is next at 10-1 in the latest 2024 Masters odds. Koepka, Jordan Spieth, Will Zalatoris, and Viktor Hovland are all 21-1.


[6] LIV vs. PGA

[7] Trimmed

[8] Keep Your Day Job

[9] Putt Putt

[10] The Paige Minute

Heard in the Locker Room



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