No first-time winners on PGA Tour’s West Coast swing
The key word for the seven-tournament swing was experience. There were no first-time winners, with veterans taking home every title, including Las Vegan Kevin Na.
And that’s a wrap.
As the LPGA and Champions tours get ready to begin their seasons with their first full-field events of 2021 this week, the PGA Tour has completed its West Coast swing, saying goodbye to the Pacific Time Zone until June’s U.S. Open in San Diego and the Barracuda Championship outside Lake Tahoe in August.
The key word for the seven-tournament swing was experience. There were no first-time winners, with veterans taking home every title, including Las Vegan Kevin Na, who won for the fifth time at the Sony Open in Hawaii.
The 2021 West Coast swing will be remembered for four key moments:
— Daniel Berger hitting a perfect drive, 3-wood and 20-foot putt to eagle the 72nd hole to win the Pebble Beach Pro-Am.
— Brooks Koepka chipping in for eagle on the 17th hole Sunday to grab the lead in Phoenix and seal his first win since returning from a hip injury in 2020.
— Max Homa winning in his hometown at Riviera Country Club despite hitting his tee shot against a tree trunk on the first hole of a playoff with Tony Finau.
— Patrick Reed running away from the field on Sunday at Torrey Pines after causing a huge stir Saturday with a questionable rules situation.
Interestingly, the four most consistent players on the swing failed to get a win.
Patrick Cantlay had finishes of second, third, 13th and 15th, including a record-breaking 18-under weekend in Palm Springs that left him one shot shy of a win.
Tony Finau was fourth in Palm Springs and second in both San Diego and Los Angeles. He now has 21 top-five finishes since his lone win at the Puerto Rico Open in 2016.
Joaquin Niemann had back-to-back seconds in Hawaii, and Jordan Spieth rediscovered his game, finishing fourth, third and 15th the last three weeks.
Finau took his latest close call in stride Sunday.
“I’m not a quitter. I’m not someone that’s going to fade away into the sunset because I can’t win in these situations,” he said. “I had another great shot today. I don’t know what else I can say other than I enjoy playing good golf. One of these days it will happen for me and hopefully turn into kind of a domino effect.”
Montgomery closer to Tour
Las Vegan Taylor Montgomery took another huge step Sunday toward a spot on the PGA Tour next season.
The UNLV alum lost a playoff in the Korn Ferry Tour’s season-opening Suncoast Classic in Lakewood Ranch, Florida. Hayden Buckley birdied the first playoff hole for the win, but Montgomery’s finish moved him to 14th on the Korn Ferry standings.
The top 25 at the end of the season earn their PGA Tour cards. With so many events cancelled last year, the Korn Ferry Tour is combining the 2020 and 2021 seasons into one points race.
Montgomery’s position at No. 14 gives him some breathing room for the rest of the 2021 schedule, which includes a hometown event for him, the Paiute Las Vegas Championship in April.
No fans for first major
Anyone thinking of making the drive to Rancho Mirage, California, for the LPGA’s ANA Inspiration April 1-4 can put away those thoughts.
The LPGA announced the year’s first major on any tour will be played for the second consecutive season without spectators.
The LPGA has not had fans at any event since returning to play last summer.
Primm Valley Amateur
Danny Tiscareno shot even-par 142 over two rounds to win the championship division of the Primm Valley Amateur over the weekend on the Lakes Course at Primm Valley Golf Club.
Tiscareno was two shots better than Marco Trstenjak, who had the tournament’s low round Sunday with a 66, aided by a hole-in-one on the 178-yard 17th.
Other winners included Michael Godfrey (Championship Net), Jim Pliska (Senior Gross and Senior Net), Steven Fink (Silver Gross) and Loren Little (Silver Net).
Greg Robertson is a freelance reporter who covers golf for the Review-Journal. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org .
International Federation of PGA Tours
What: World Golf Championships-Workday Championship.
Where: Bradenton, Florida; The Concession GC (7,474 yards, par 72).
When: Thursday-Friday, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. (Golf Channel); Saturday, 9-11:30 a.m. (Golf Channel), 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m. (KSNV-3); Sunday, 10-11:30 a.m. (Golf Channel), 11:30 a.m.-4 p.m. (KSNV-3).
Prize money: $10.5 million. Winner’s share: $1.82 million.
Defending champion: Patrick Reed.
What: Gainbridge LPGA.
Where: Orlando, Florida; Lake Nona Golf & CC.
When: Thursday, 5-7 p.m. (Golf Channel-tape delay); Friday, 4-6:30 p.m. (Golf Channel-tape delay). Saturday-Sunday, 5-7 p.m. (Golf Channel-tape delay).
Prize money: $2 million. Winner’s share: $300,000.
Defending champion: Madelene Sagstrom.
Race to CME Globe leader: Jessica Korda.
What: Puerto Rico Open
Where: Rio Grande, Puerto Rico; Grand Reserve CC (7,506 yards, par 72).
When: Thursday-Friday, 7:30-10:30 a.m. (Golf Channel); Saturday, 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. (Golf Channel); Sunday, 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. (Golf Channel).
Prize money: $3 million. Winner’s share: $540,000.
Defending champion: Viktor Hovland.
FedEx Cup leader: Patrick Cantlay.
PGA Tour Champions
What: Cologuard Championship.
Where: Tucson, Arizona; Omni Tucson National (7, 218 yards, par 73).
When: Friday, 6:30-8:30 p.m. (Golf Channel-tape delay); Saturday, 2-4 p.m. (Golf Channel); Sunday, 1:30-4 p.m. (Golf Channel).
Prize money: $1.7 million. Winner’s share: $255,000.
Defending champion: Bernhard Langer.
Charles Schwab Cup leader: Bernhard Langer.
—By The Associated Press