by Jeff Skinner
With the NFL and the baseball playoffs dominating the sports headlines the exciting golf that was played this past weekend can be easily over looked. You’ll be forgiven if you missed some of the great play on the weekend as you sucked down beers and wings while cheering for those damn Patriots and Red Sox.
Of the four winners this weekend, the one with the most upside is Lexi Thompson. The eighteen year old Thompson won her second LPGA Tour event with a four stroke victory at the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia. Thompson has been one of the bright new stars for the LPGA and a long ball machine. Her length of the tee (270 yds) has allowed her to hit greens from anywhere (2nd on tour). But her putting had been her Achilles heel. But a recent two and a half hour session with Jim McLean where they only worked on her putting has changed her game. Mclean totally changed her putting setup and there has been a huge difference lately. Thompson moved to 14th in the Rolex Rankings and this change may just move her up even more.
The first tournament of the new PGA Tour 2013-2014 season brought with it a first time winner: Jimmy Walker. Walker beat the PGA Tour Litigant of the Year, Vijay Singh by two shots at the Frys.com Open. It took Walker 188 events to earn his first PGA Tour win. Walker was three shots behind 54 hole leader, Brooks Koepka at the start and shot a final round 66 to earn the win and his first trip to Augusta as a player. “I’ve gone through everything,” he said. “I’ve played — not on every tour, but on a lot of tours. I won on a lot of tours. This is kind of the final steppingstone.”
The Champions Tour’s Russ Cochran finished with a flourish at the SAS Championship as his four finishing birdies earned him a one stroke victory over David Frost. It’s Cochran’s fifth Champions Tour win and his finish may have been the most exciting of the weekend. “It’s such a hard tournament to win, especially from the lead because you know everyone is back there firing at the hole,” Cochran said. “The drive on the 18th hole was a big deal because you’ve made these birdies now, and you don’t ever want to give a guy like David Frost another chance.”
Giving Cochran a run for his money in the exciting finish category is England’s David Lynn who came from six shots back at the start of the final round to win the Portugal Masters. It is Lynn’s second career European Tour win and moves him into the top 50 of the Official World Golf Rankings.