Sepp Straka, Cam Smith and Allisen Corpuz each found the winner’s circle in the world of golf this weekend, and all three did it in incredibly different ways.
While the John Deere Classic typically lacks fireworks, Straka woke up Sunday morning and said “look at this” when he not only flirted with shooting a 59, but also gave away the tournament.
Cam Smith began the final round at LIV London with a lead and held on after reminding the world that when the putter is hot, he is virtually impossible to beat.
Smith and Straka may have both lifted trophies on Sunday, but Corpuz lifting the US Women’s Trophy was arguably the most meaningful.
As usual, we have plenty to unpack from another eventful week in golf. Plus we’re only two weeks away from The Open at Royal Liverpool, so we’ve got that covered too.
Sepp Straka goes almost from completely to zero
Sepp Straka began his John Deere Classic by posting a 2-over 73 on Thursday, which probably felt like an 84 for the big man from Austria. He was tied for 133rd with 54 holes to play, but swept his opening round, flipped a switch and completed one of the greatest comebacks in Tour history over the weekend.
Straka posted a very quiet 63 on Friday and followed it up with a 65 on Saturday to put himself in contention a bit, but most would have judged him to be a shot or two too far back for really to fight on sunday.
He didn’t see it that way though.
Getting off to a birdie-eagle start Sunday and turning in at 7-under didn’t put him in contention, it put him in the lead. Then a string of four-straight birdies on holes 11-14, and it looked like Straka might just run away with the tournament while posting a sub-60.
With the prospect of shooting 59 with a birdie on the last no doubt in mind as he stood in the 18th fairway, Straka got overly greedy and dragged his approach shot into the water before carding a double bogey for a 9-under 62. Imagine shooting 62 with a double bogey on the card. Absurd.
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With one swing it went from ‘Sepp Straka could win by two or more’ to ‘Sepp Straka could lose by two or more’, with the latter group having six holes to play but thanks to Brendon Todd and Alex Smally who both forgetting how to lay down the stretch, Straka ran away with what was his second victory on the PGA Tour.
The former Georgia Bulldog now has a win and three more Top 10 finishes to his name this season on Tour and is targeting a European Ryder Cup spot.
Allisen Corpuz’s first professional win means everything
Anyone who tuned into this week’s US Women’s Open at Pebble Beach is probably tired of hearing about how ‘monumental’ this week was, but it was justifiably a groundbreaking week for women’s golf.
Just as the introduction of the Augusta National Women’s Amateur in 2019 tore down walls for women’s golf, the first women’s major ever held at Pebble Beach was just as important on the professional side of things.
The leaderboard during the week never consistently showed up with big names that the casual golf fan would recognize, but that doesn’t take away from Allisen Corpuz getting the job done.
Less than two years ago, Corpuz led the USC Trojans and represented the United States in the Curtis Cup before turning pro in 2021. She began Sunday’s final round at the US Open a shot behind leader Nasa Hataoka, and despite not having a pro victory to her name, she savored the moment by firing a Sunday 69 to win by a whopping three shots at 9-under par.
The US Women’s Open returns to Pebble Beach in 2035, 2040 and 2048.
Cam Smith loves London
While Corpuz was breaking down walls in California and Straka was going mega-low in Iowa, Cam Smith was across the pond just outside of London making every putt he looked at.
The Aussie was automatic through the first two rounds when it looked like he would prevail from Sunday with a three-shot advantage on the course.
Interestingly, adversity hit him right in the mouth on his opening hole when he duck-hooked his tee shot into the trees but somehow walked away with a par. It was the moment when it felt inevitable that he would win the golf tournament on Sunday.
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Smith now has two LIV wins under his belt after finding the winner’s circle in Chicago last season.
More importantly, Smith may have found his putting stroke just in time to defend his Open title in two weeks. Smith has finished inside the Top 10 in two of the year’s three majors so far, and all signs point to him also being in contention in Liverpool in two weeks’ time.
Rickie Fowler and the boys kick off Euro Week in style
Speaking of London, a couple of properly dressed gents took up some tennis over the weekend.
Justin Thomas, Rickie Fowler, Jordan Spieth and their better halves suited up to watch Sunday’s action at Wimbledon ahead of the tee at this week’s Scottish Open.
Not a bad way to start a two-week run across the pond.
The best thing about this photo is knowing that these three were inevitably in a group chat, JT or Fowler asked “should we wear three-piece suits at Wimbledon” and Spieth probably replied “hell no.”
In terms of golf this week, the Genesis Scottish Open brings all the heat with a packed field to take on the Renaissance Club. Rory McIlroy, Scottie Scheffler, Xander Schauffele and the three gentlemen pictured above are at the head of the course.
After back-to-back weeks in Detroit and Silvis, Ill., some Scottish golf will be more than welcomed by players and fans alike this week.
Follow Mark Harris on Twitter @ItIsMarkHarris