Patrick Cantlay turns on style to seal second PGA Tour title

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Patrick Cantlay secured his second PGA Tour title in style, producing a sparkling 64 on Sunday to win the Memorial Tournament by two shots.

Cantlay came into the final round four strokes behind overnight leader Martin Kaymer but five birdies on the front nine closed that gap to two as he reached the turn.

And three more gains on the back nine saw him finish the tournament on 19 under par to claim his first victory since November 2017 and earn a handshake from tournament host and 18-time major champion Jack Nicklaus.

Australian Adam Scott finished alone in second on 17 under after a late charge, comprising birdies at the 14th, 15th and 16th, saw him sign for a closing 68.

Former European Ryder Cup star Kaymer was two shots further back in third after three back-nine bogeys derailed his challenge in Ohio.

In an interview shown on the PGA Tour’s website, Cantlay said: “It feels great.

“It’s been a while since I’ve won and being able to win on this golf course – a golf course I really like – in front of Jack, making that putt on the last hole, I can’t tell you how good it feels.”

Cantlay followed up early birdies at the second and fifth with three in a row from the seventh for a front nine of 31.

When German Kaymer – playing in the final group – dropped his first shot of the day on the ninth, Cantlay was just one behind, and he tapped in his birdie putt at the long 11th to grab a share of the lead.

Cantlay continued to create plenty of chances going down the stretch, narrowly missing his 10-foot birdie putt on the 12th before firing back-to-back birdies from the 14th, having come agonisingly close to holing his enormous eagle effort at the 15th.

He curled in his eight-foot par putt on the 18th green to keep his card clean and close out a stunning victory.

Masters champion Tiger Woods finished the week with a 67 to claim a share of ninth place on nine under.

Provided by Press Association Sport 

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Discover Ireland in the best possible way with unique golf tours

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As the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open rolls into Lahinch next month, thousands of people from Ireland and beyond will descend on the picturesque town in County Clare.

Two weeks later, action moves five hours north to Portrush, where the 148th edition of the Open Championship, golf’s fourth major of the year, takes place, again highlighting the beauty and attraction of Ireland’s golf courses.

In fact, over 200,000 overseas visitors play golf during their visit to Ireland every year, contributing almost €270 million to the economy and driving over 1.7 million bed nights across the country.

As a result of this, a number of Irish golf tour operators have come to the fore in recent years, and with Ireland proving such an exceptional golf destination, as well as offering unrivalled attractions off the course, it is easy to see why.

One of the men at the centre of golf tourism in the country is Maurice O’Meara. After a brief stint in the commercial world with Kerry GAA, the Kerry native is back working with his beloved golf, leading Discover Ireland Golf Tours.

O’Meara is a former general manager at Killarney Golf and Fishing Club where he worked for nearly seven years, before leading the charge at Island Golf Club (2013-2015) and Dooks Golf Club in beautiful Glenbeigh from 2015 to present.

Speaking on the eve of the Irish Open, O’Meara said: “Its great to see the market buoyant again after some difficult years in the industry due to worldwide economic conditions. Demand is very high and we are already focussing on the 2020 season , with bookings and tours already in place up to October 2020.

“The next few weeks are huge for Irish golf with the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open being at Lahinch and the Open Championship at Royal Portrush. The golf industry in Ireland will be in very strong position following these events.”

His love of the sport has been evident since first lifting a golf club at aged-12, and his latest venture has combined a passion for both golf and business. It was the next natural step for a man who has worked closely with both tour operators and visitors over the years in his respective roles.

Discover Ireland Golf Tours focuses on the attributes of welcoming and looking after visiting golfers to the island of Ireland, and facilitates them in finding and enjoying the best of courses that the country has to offer.

The company is mainly targeting North America, Canada, Scandinavia and the UK. Bespoke services include in-house PGA professionals available for escorted tours/tuition, and 24-hour concierge services during a golfer’s trip to Ireland.

“We are also running a number of unique events in the shoulder months which will be mainly focussed at the domestic market and will be hosted in our partner clubs here in the south west namely Killarney Golf & Fishing Club and Dooks Golf Links,” said O’Meara.

“We have strategically partnered with agents in the UAE and stateside in Tampa , New York, Ohio, Dallas and San Francisco, we will be working closely with these partners to provide tours and showcase the best that Ireland has to offer in all things golf.

“It is important for clubs to communicate fully and accurately with members, staff and all key stakeholders. Helping clubs manage their communication strategies and sales and marketing plans will be one of our specialties at Irish Golf Consultancy.”

Further details are available at www.discoverirelandgolftours.com.

MAURICE’S FIVE FAVOURITE COURSES

Waterville Golf Club
Dooks Golf Club
Killarney Golf & Fishing Club
Lahinch Golf Club
The Island Golf Club

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Koepka bidding for back-to-back titles and other talking points ahead of PGA Championship

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Brooks Koepka

Brooks Koepka will be bidding to defend his PGA Championship title on Thursday as the second major of the year gets under way at Bethpage Black Course in New York.

Here, we look at five talking points ahead of the tournament.

Can Koepka retain PGA Championship?

The World No2 is shaping himself into becoming an unstoppable force over the last two years, combining a devastating game off the tee with a razor-sharp short game.

A win this weekend would mean the Florida man holds four of the last eight majors played, with one of the others being a T2 finish at the Masters last month.

Players like Dustin Johnson and Tiger Woods may be household names in America, but Koepka certainly deserves serious recognition among the golf public after being underrated in the game for so long.

Remarkably, he is 55-under par in the last 10 majors held – 15 shots better than any other player in that span.

It’s time to start taking this man seriously. He’s a class act.

How is Tiger looking after Masters triumph?

Tiger looked back to his scorching best after clinching a 15th major at Augusta last month, but the significant question will be whether he can carry his sterling form into the second major of the year.

The Jupiter resident has enjoyed tremendous success at the Farmingdale course over the years with victory at the 2002 US Open and a top-10 at the 2009 US Open.

Out of the top performing professionals with at least eight competitive rounds at Bethpage, Woods has the third best scoring average, behind Jason Day and Louis Oosthuizen.

If there is anything to make you believe the iconic American will deliver this weekend, he has only won the year’s first two majors once in his career, and that was back in 2002, when they were staged at Augusta National and Bethpage Black.

Will Spieth complete career grand slam?

Since leaving Augusta ranked number three in the world last year, Jordan Spieth has slipped to 39th in the rankings and is looking devoid of confidence over short putts.

In fact, the 25-year-old has not achieved a top-10 finish in nearly nine months – stretching back to the British Open at Carnoustie in mid-July.

And, while there has been little evidence to suggest he could compete for a career grand slam this weekend, his last performance at Bethpage Black should give him some confidence, finishing in a tie for 10th back in 2016.

Perhaps a solid weekend with improved putting could elevate his confidence and overall game management back to a position where it should be.

Rory hitting top form

The best player in the world at the moment.

A blazing start to the season has seen Rory McIlroy win at the Players Championship, finish second in Mexico and clinch three top-5s and three top-10s from nine starts.

The 30-year-old currently leads the PGA Tour in strokes gained/tee to green and he recorded the second biggest victory of the season at Sawgrass in March.

The Northern Irishman has not secured a top-10 finish at the PGA Championship since winning Valhalla in 2014. But back to his immaculate best, McIlroy should be in serious contention this weekend.

Will America’s dominance at majors continue?

Tiger Woods’ victory at Augusta last month means American players currently hold six of the last eight majors, with Sergio Garcia and Francesco Molinari’s respective wins at the Masters and the Open being the only two held by European players since April 2017.

American players’ strong hold on the PGA Championship is also tight, winning the last three tournaments.

Based on current form, it’s difficult to see America golf’s dominance being toppled in New York this weekend or at the US Open now next month either.

The wait continues.

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