Planet Golf News for Sunday, May 12, 2024

Rory McIlroy pulls within shot of Xander Schauffele in Wells Fargo Championship, Korda’s bid for record sixth straight LPGA win dashed by Sagstrom, Zhang

Sunday, May 12, 2024

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Blades Brown, 16, shoots 66, moves up Myrtle Beach Classic leaderboard in PGA Tour debut


Today’s Top Golf News in Two Minutes

Good Morning,

In the world of golf Saturday, the fairways were bustling with exciting action and a few heated exchanges. At the heart of the drama, Brandel Chamblee and Anthony Kim found themselves locked in a fiery Twitter spat concerning the PGA Tour's dealings with Saudi Arabia and LIV Golf. Chamblee supports the controversial partnerships, while Kim openly criticizes his stance, stirring up quite the storm among fans and followers.

On a lighter note, Jon Rahm is making waves in the LIV Golf league as a new team manager during the mid-season transfer window. Already boasting two team victories, Rahm is skillfully navigating through LIV Golf's unique transfer rules, aiming to strengthen his team's lineup as they push forward in the season.

The Wells Fargo Championship in Charlotte, NC, is seeing a nail-biter as Xander Schauffele, leading the pack, feels the heat from Rory McIlroy, who's hot on his heels just one stroke behind. Schauffele's resilient short game is clashing beautifully with McIlroy's impeccable driving, setting up a showdown that promises to be a highlight of the tournament. Not far behind are Sungjae Im and Sepp Straka, who are keeping the leaders within their sights.

At the Myrtle Beach Classic, Chris Gotterup is seizing the spotlight, holding a commanding four-stroke lead heading into the final round. Meanwhile, in his PGA Tour debut at the Myrtle Beach Classic, 16-year-old golfer Blades Brown shot a bogey-free 66, moving up 26 spots on the leaderboard to tie for 22nd.

The Cognizant Founders Cup in Clifton, NJ, is equally gripping with Madelene Sagstrom and Rose Zhang battling for the lead. Sagstrom, leading by one, and Zhang are both gunning for their second LPGA victory in what's shaping up to be a tightly contested finish. Meanwhile, Nelly Korda's struggle in her bid for a sixth consecutive win sees her trailing significantly, making the final round a crucial one for all.

Lastly, in the Regions Tradition in Birmingham, AL, the senior players are showing they still have plenty of game. Doug Barron and Ernie Els are tied for the lead, adding to the excitement as they head into the final round of this prestigious senior major.

From Twitter feuds to thrilling championship rounds, the golf world is as lively and dynamic as ever, offering both drama and top-tier competition as players tee up across various greens.

[ Today’s Top Stories ] 

Golf Tournaments happening this week

Wells Fargo Championship - Charlotte, NC

Saturday, after round three of the tournament, Xander Schauffele maintained his lead but saw his advantage over Rory McIlroy shrink to just one shot heading into the final round. Schauffele carded a 1-under 70, while McIlroy shot a bogey-free 4-under 67 to apply pressure on the leader.  McIlroy trailed Schauffele by four shots at the start of the day but erased the deficit with an impressive driving performance, gaining nearly 3 strokes off the tee.  Despite a "lazy" round by his own admission, Schauffele managed to hold onto the lead thanks to his impressive short game and putting, preventing McIlroy from overtaking him. Sungjae Im (-8) and Sepp Straka (-7) are the closest challengers behind the final pairing of Schauffele and McIlroy, with Straka matching McIlroy's 67 for the low round of the day.  The final round promises an exciting battle between Schauffele and McIlroy, with the latter's driving prowess and the former's short game setting the stage for a thrilling conclusion to the 2024 Wells Fargo Championship. 

Cognizant Founders Cup - Clifton, NJ

As the 2024 Cognizant Founders Cup at Upper Montclair Country Club approaches its final round, the competition has effectively narrowed down to a duel between the leaders. Madelene Sagstrom, currently at the forefront, holds a one-shot advantage over Rose Zhang, the early leader of the tournament. Sagstrom, who played a stellar round on moving day, managed a bogey-free 6-under 66, thus securing her lead over Zhang. Despite Zhang tallying seven birdies in her latest round, a pair of bogeys prevented her from maintaining her earlier pace and left her trailing Sagstrom by a single stroke entering the final 18 holes.

Meanwhile, other notable players such as Nelly Korda, who was vying for her sixth consecutive win, find themselves significantly behind. Korda, alongside Gabriela Ruffels and Sei Young Kim, entered the final round at 8-under, 11 shots adrift of Sagstrom. Korda's performance in the third round, marked by a 1-over 73 and punctuated by four bogeys in the front nine, has all but ended her quest for a sixth straight victory.

Both Sagstrom and Zhang are on the brink of clinching their second LPGA victory. The final round promises to be a gripping conclusion to what has become a tightly contested race, highlighting not just the pursuit of victory but also the relentless pressure of professional golf.

Myrtle Beach Classic - Myrtle Beach, SC

Chris Gotterup delivered an impressive performance at the PGA Tour's Myrtle Beach Classic, taking a commanding four-stroke lead into the final round after shooting a 6-under 65 on Saturday. This achievement at the Dunes Golf & Beach Club marks a significant milestone in his budding career, particularly as he seeks his first PGA Tour victory.

Starting the day already ahead by one stroke due to his solid rounds of 66 and 64, Gotterup continued to show his skill and determination under favorable weather conditions, with the breeze peaking at only 12 mph. His gameplay was nearly flawless, featuring seven birdies offset by a solitary bogey. His strategic play and steady nerve were evident, especially in how he handled the challenging moments, like his recovery from a difficult position on the right of the fairway on the final hole. There, he not only managed to hit a great shot but also sank a 17-foot birdie putt to close the round, underscoring his ability to perform under pressure.

Gotterup's performance on Saturday was not just about extending his lead; it was a statement of his readiness to step up on the PGA Tour. At only 24 years old and in his 27th start, the former University of Oklahoma player showcased a maturity and skill set that belied his relatively brief experience on the tour. His total score of 18-under 195 tied him for the largest lead of the season, demonstrating both consistency and potential for future success.

As he heads into the final round, the challenge for Gotterup will be to maintain his composure and manage the expectations and pressures that come with being in a leading position. His ability to convert this lead into a maiden tour victory could be a defining moment in his career, setting the stage for his future in professional golf.

Regions Tradition - Birmingham, AL

Saturday, during the third round of the Regions Tradition at Greystone Golf & Country Club in Birmingham, Alabama, Doug Barron and Ernie Els emerged as joint leaders. Doug Barron played an impressive round, shooting a 6-under 66, which allowed him to catch up to Ernie Els at the top of the leaderboard. This sets up a potentially thrilling conclusion for the final round of this major championship on the PGA Tour Champions circuit.

The Regions Tradition, known for its prestige as the first senior major championship of the year, has seen fierce competition this week. The tournament, which began with a weather delay, has featured strong performances from several top golfers, including two-time defending champion Steve Stricker, who initially took the lead in the earlier rounds.

As the tournament heads into its final day, the competition remains tight with multiple golfers in contention for the title. The strategic play and experienced shot-making at Greystone have been key highlights, showcasing the high level of skill present in this senior major championship.

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