Nelly Korda delivered a throwaway line with a serious undercurrent of her duel down the stretch with Leona Maguire as the duo threw birdies at each other. "I was pretty entertained. A little stressed out, too, actually," said Korda, who hung on to win the Meijer Classic, her second win of the season on the LPGA Tour.
For Maguire, it was a second runner-up finish of what is still a rookie season. And with this week's tour stop being the KPMG Women's PGA Championship – a Major – the stakes will be even higher when the event kicks off at Atlanta Athletic Club come Thursday.
Maguire's impressive form of late has pushed her within touching distance of an automatic place on Europe's Solheim Cup team, and very much on the radar of team captain Catriona Matthew for the match in early September. Before that, the busy schedule will also include the Olympics in Tokyo and a further two Majors, the Evian and the AIG Women's Open.
Of the increased competition on the LPGA Tour, Korda made an interesting point, including Maguire among those breaking through: “Competition is getting fiercer every year. You see Patty (Tavatankit) won her first tournament and she’s a Major champion. Everyone. It doesn’t matter what nationality; Europeans are playing well, Americans are getting fierce. I just think the girls are starting to dominate. You go into a week back in the day I think you would say, five or 10 people could win. Now you look at the field and you’re like, anyone can take home the victory.”
Maguire will aim to carry momentum – four top-10s so far this season and going ninth and second in the past two weeks – on to Atlanta, where Stephanie Meadow is also in the field.
McIlroy on the right path
Unfortunately Jon Rahm won't be playing in next week's DDF Irish Open at Mount Juliet (that bid to complete a hat-trick of titles must wait for another day for the Spaniard) but the field is set to be a strong one, with Tommy Fleetwood adding his name to one that already includes the Big Four of Irish golf: Rory McIlroy, Shane Lowry, Pádraig Harrington and Graeme McDowell.
Next up for McIlroy is that Irish Open and his tied-seventh place finish behind Rahm at Torrey Pines provided evidence that his game is again trending in the right direction: “I’m going from walking away Friday night from Augusta (after missing the cut in the Masters) to basically being right in the thick of things in the back nine of the US Open . . . . I’m on the right path. I feel way more comfortable with what I’m doing.
“The last few times I’ve been in this sort of position (contending in a major), I’ve went out on Sunday hoping to play well. Where I feel like now I know what to do to play well and I know I have the tools to play well. It’s just a matter of execution and sticking to what I’ve been working on.”
Word of Mouth
"I'm second again. It's frustrating. It's disappointing. I'm playing good golf but winning a major championship is not just going to happen. You need to go out and play good golf. I played good, but I didn't play good enough" - Louis Oosthuizen on again playing second fiddle in a major. The Springbok's only Major win came in the 2010 Open at St Andrews. Since then, he has finished runner-up on no fewer than six occasions in the various Majors.
By the Numbers
50: This year marks the 50th anniversary staging of the Brothers Open Fourball tournament run by Forrest Little Golf Club in north county Dublin. Among the past winners include Ryder Cup player Philip Walton and his brother Alan. In a rather appropriate sponsorship, the event – which takes place on July 4th – is sponsored by Brother International. Entries are currently open on the club's website forrestlittle.ie
In the Bag: Jon Rahm - US Open winner
Driver - Callaway Epic Speed (10.5 degrees)
3-wood - Callaway Epic Speed (15 degrees)
5-wood - Callaway Epic Speed (19 degrees)
Irons - Callaway Apex TCB (4-PW)
Wedges - Callaway JAWS Forged (52, 56 and 60 degrees)
Putter - Odyssey White Hot OG Rossie S
Ball - Callaway Chrome Soft X
“What a week for the @modestgolf family. Our first ever signing @guidomigliozzi finished 4th in his first ever @usopengolf and the wonderful @leona_maguire takes another big leap on the @LPGA finishing 2nd and will jump up the world rankings. Proud of you guys x” - Niall Horan
“Congrats to Rahm! That dude is special special” - Max Homa
On this day: June 22nd, 1997
Ignacio Garrido had all the trademarks of the next great thing to emerge from Spain when the 25-year-old won the Volvo German Open in Stuttgart. A son of former tour winner Antonio, he went about his business with aplomb in closing the deal with a final round 72 for a total of 13-under-par 271 to lift his maiden European Tour title, with a four stroke margin over Russell Claydon and Mark James a further stroke back in third.
Garrido - who had graduated from the Challenge Tour three years earlier - led from start to finish having shared the first round lead on 65 with Van Phillips, Rolf Muntz and Mike Weir, moving into a two stroke lead through halfway and holding a five shot lead through 54-holes. He earned a payday of €163,304 for his efforts.
The win also had the effect of propelling the young Spaniard into Europe’s Ryder Cup team for the match at Valderrama later that year, which meant the Garridos became only the second father and son combination (joining Percy and Peter Alliss) to play in the match.
Know the Rules
Q On the putting green, Player A takes a number of practice strokes in preparing to make his putt and inadvertently hits his ball which moves. What action should the player take?
A Under Rule 13.1d(1)/1, there is no penalty for accidentally movement of ball or ball-marker on the putting green. In such an instance of accidental movement, the ball must be replaced and there is no penalty to anyone. If the exact spot from where the ball was moved in not known, it must be estimated.