Rahm-Palmer pairing ace Zurich Classic; Lee roars to win in LA - GulfToday

Rahm-Palmer pairing ace Zurich Classic; Lee roars to win in LA

Golf

Jon Rahm and Ryan Palmer pose with the trophy after winning the Zurich Classic at TPC Louisiana on Sunday. Agence France-Presse

Spain’s Jon Rahm and American Ryan Palmer partnered for a three-under par 69 Sunday to win the US PGA Zurich Classic pairs event by three strokes.

Palmer and Rahm finished 72 holes at the TPC of Louisiana course near New Orleans on 26-under par 262 in the unique tournament with four-ball (best ball) first and third rounds and foursomes (alternate shot) in the second and final rounds.

Spain’s Sergio Garcia and England’s Tommy Fleetwood were second on 265 with South Korean Lee Kyoung-hoon and American Matt Every sharing third on 267 with Slovakian Rory Sabbatini and American Brian Gay.

Palmer, 42, captured his fourth US PGA title but his first since the 2010 Sony Open in Hawaii. He had lost three tour playoffs since then, including last year at Torrey Pines to Australia’s Jason Day.

“Nine years since I last won,” said a tearful Palmer said. “Really special.” Palmer’s other wins came at defunct events, the 2004 Disney World Classic and 2008 Ginn sur Mer Classic.

Rahm, 24, took his third career US PGA title and first win of the year after crowns last year at Palm Springs, the European Tour’s Spanish Open and the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas.

Palmer blasted a second shot on the par-5 second hole to the fringe and tapped in for birdie after Rahm was just short on an eagle putt.

Rahm found rough off the sixth tee and Palmer couldn’t reach the green in two as they made bogey but the duo stayed on top and opened the back nine with another birdie when Rahm sank a 13-foot putt.

They began to pull away with birdies at the par-4 13th, after Rahm dropped his approach three feet from the cup, and par-3 14th, on Palmer’s 11-foot putt.

Three strokes ahead and with no rival on the course within five strokes, Rahm and Palmer parred to the finish to complete the victory.

Australia’s Minjee Lee pulled away from the field with a closing round of three-under 68 to capture the LA Open by four strokes and earn her fifth career USLPGA Tour title. The 22-year-old from Perth finished at 14-under 270, four strokes ahead of runner-up Kim Sei-young of South Korea.

Lee collected $225,000 in first place prize money and boosted her career earnings to $5.32 million, making her the third highest winning Australian overall in purse money. In terms of victories only Karrie Webb, with 41, Jan Stephenson (16) and Rachel Hetherington (eight) have more titles by an Aussie.

Lee started her fourth round on Sunday with a one-stroke lead over Denmark’s Nanna Koerstz Madsen who stumbled to a five-over 76.

Kim had one of the best rounds of the day with a 66 but it wasn’t enough to catch Lee. Americans Annie Park, with a 67, and Morgan Pressel tied for third at nine-under, five shots adrift of Lee.

Madsen, who was seeking to become the first from Denmark to win on the Tour, finished in a tie for 13th.

Lee made two birdies on a bogey-free front nine. She rebounded from a bogey at No. 11 with birdies at the 13th and 18th. The win comes at a time when she is playing some of her best golf. Lee tied for third in Hawaii last week after consecutive second-place finishes in February. She hadn’t won since May of 2018 at the Volvik Championship.

South Korea’s Amy Yang fired the low round of the day and equalled the low round of the tournament, shooting a bogey-free 64 to finish tied for fifth along with four others, including Park In-bee and world No. 1 Ko Jin-young of South Korea (69).

Agence France-Presse