Different Strokes: Big week ahead for Maguire and Meadow

Word of mouth, by the numbers, know the rules; remembering Elkington’s Players win


The onward and upward trending of Ireland’s women golfers is reflected on both the professional and amateur stages this week, where the ANA Inspiration - the first Major of the season - and the Augusta National Women’s Amateur Invitational will each feature two players.

Leona Maguire, currently 18th on the LPGA Tour order of merit, and Stephanie Meadow are in the field for the ANA Inspiration at Rancho Mirage in California with this week’s edition marking the 50th staging of a tournament previously known as the Kraft Nabisco Championship (it has been a Major since 1983) where the tradition is that the winner takes a clothed-jump into the champion’s lake beside the 18th green, known as Poppie’s Pond.

Maguire earned a top-20 finish in the 2020 championship (won by Mirim Lee), which was played in September last year after being pushed back due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. Meadow’s best finish was a tied-20th on her debut in 2015.

On the amateur front, Olivia Mehaffey - in tremendous form of late, including a top-10 finish in the Carlisle Classic on the Symetra Tour - and Julie McCarthy are competing in the second staging of the ANWA Invitational, which was cancelled last year due to the pandemic.

Mehaffey, in her post-graduate final year at Alabama State, and Dubliner McCarthy, an accountancy student at Auburn University, are part of the field that will complete 36 holes at Champions Retreat with the leading 30 players advancing to the final round of the 54-hole tournament which will be played at Augusta National. Mehaffey is one of 21 of the current top-25 in the world amateur rankings competing.

Word of Mouth

“It was my first week back out in three months or so and I played so good. I couldn’t believe how I was doing out there. I thought this week was just kind of a preparation for next week (the ANA Inspiration) but I exceeded so much more. I’m just really happy” - Inbee Park on marking her return to competition with victory in the Kia Classic, her 21st career win on the LPGA Tour. Park, the 32-year-old South Korean and world number four, heads on to the ANA Inspiration, which she won in 2013, in search of her eighth career Major title.

By the numbers

111: In his 111st start on the PGA Tour, American Joel Dahmen secured his breakthrough win in the Corales Puntacana Championship in the Dominican Republic. Dahmen very nearly lost his trademark bucket hat which was lifted off his head by a gust of wind on the 18th green photoshoot only for it to be retrieved. “I was pretty emotional after that putt went in . . . . that’s what we dream of, right? I’ve been at this 111 events, so I mean, I was more that due. I’ve been a pretty solid player out here for a couple years now and I was due for a win.”

In the bag

Inbee Park (Kia Classic winner)

Driver - XXIO Eleven

3-wood - Callaway Epic Flash SubZero

5-wood - XXIO Eleven

Hybrid - XXIO Eleven (5) (23 degrees)

Irons - XXIO Eleven (5 iron to Pitching Wedge)

Wedges - Cleveland RTX4 (46, 50 and 56 degrees)

Putter -Odyssey Works Versa Sabertooth

Ball - Srixon Z-Star

On this day: March 30th 1997

Steve Elkington was so keen to get the job done that he rose at 6am on the final day of The Players, leaving him with a lot of time to kill before his final round. He watched the Sylvester Stallone movie Daylight and practiced putting on his hotel bedroom carpet, then went out and shot a finishing 69 for a 16-under-par total of 272 that gave him a seven-stroke winning margin over Scott Hoch.

“I basically blew away the best field we’ve ever had, and I didn’t know it if I was capable . . . . I must say leading all the way is the most difficult thing I’ve ever done in golf. You use up a lot of energy getting the lead and then a lot more holding onto it. I’m drained,” confessed the Aussie after his impressive performance.

Elkington’s putter was red hot - averaging under 1.5 putts through the tournament - and he became only the third winner to lead alone from start to finish, joining Al Geiberger (1975) and Greg Norman (1994) in accomplishing that particular feat.

Twitter Twaddle

“Someone I don’t personally know just PAID MY NEXT 3 TOURNAMENTS E NTRY FEES. 2 other people donated $$$ for meals while I am on the road. With their heard earned money, during a global pandemic. Just out of kindness and to help me succeed. I’m overwhelmed. Why are people so nice” - Hannah Gregg discovering her social media influencing is having some payback in helping to fund her fledgling pro career on the Symetra Tour stateside.

“100% agree Pace of play ridiculous. No one in front of them. Green reading books, lining up the lines on the ball. Really annoying me. And Matchplay is the fastest form of golf. something has to be done #slowplay” - Colin Montgomerie taking to the twitter world to agree with Sky Sports commentrator Ewen Murray about the slow play in the final of the WGC-Dell Matchplay.

“Congratulations to @BillyHo_Golf on his win at the @DellMatchPlay! We have been working hard and waiting since 2018 for win number 6! Billy’s work ethic and passion for the game is relentless and I’m so happy for Billy and his team!” - Horschel’s coach Todd Anderson

Know the rules

Q: In taking a drop as required from knee height, a player’s ball is accidentally stopped by his foot. Is there any requirement to take the drop again?

A: Such a situation is covered by Rule 143.c(1)/1 and there is no penalty. In undertaking the drop, the player has completed taking relief and must play the ball as it lies. If the ball then moves when the player moves his/her foot, the player must replace the ball as required by Rule 9.4 but gets no penalty as the ball’s movement was a result of reasonable actions taken in taking relieve under a rule.

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