It might prove to be a significant week in the timeline of professional golf.
Asian players simultaneously winning events on both the European PGA Tour (Thongchai Jaidee) and the US PGA Tour (Hideki Matsuyama).
A sign of things to come? Maybe not in the next 5-10 years… but in 15-20, who knows.
Here’s how Jaidee and Matsuyama upset the golf betting odds.
66/1 Jaidee strikes late to take Nordea Masters title
This was the 44-year-old Thai golfer’s first win since the Wales Open at Celtic Manor in 2012.
And it was well-deserved after a final round 65 took him from T7th after R3 into an eventual three-way tie with Victor Dubuisson and Stephen Gallacher.
So to extra holes…
But only one was needed as a birdie on the 1st play-off hole (the 18th) handed the veteran a 6th career success in his 274th start on the European Tour.
There were plenty in with a chance on Sunday… but whilst Jaidee (65), Dubuisson (67) and Gallacher (68) all shot low scores, several of the fancied players failed to break 70… Alvaro Quiros (71), Eddie Pepperell (72) and home favourite Henrik Stenson (71).
In fact, Stenson was the joint overnight leader after R3 – alongside Pepperell – and headed the betting ahead of R4 but failed to provide Sweden with another home winner of this event.
And it’s some list of champions that the host nation boasts… Alexander Noren and Richard S. Johnson most recently, and going further back Peter Hanson, Joakim Haeggman and Jesper Parnevik).
But Jaidee took the trophy…
Winning the first Nordea Masters staged at the new PGA Sweden National golf course in Malmo.
He brought solid 2014 cut-making form to the table this week but his previous record in this tournament (T52nd-MC-MC) was clearly negated by the new course.
Here’s how they finished up…
Nordea Masters – Results
No doubting the success of Jaidee saved the layers… several Scandinavian golfers – Blixt (20/1), Bjorn (20/1) and Henrik Stenson (7/1) – were high in the bookmakers lists and Gallacher (35/1) was also well-backed before the off.
So a relatively easy week for the bookies!
One for the future, Matsuyama bags first PGA win at Colonial
Although the Japanese player is barely 22-years-old, he’s already been touted as ‘a player to follow on the PGA Tour’.
And the youngster opened his account on the US circuit at one of the most prestigious tournaments aside from the majors and WGCs.
This was his first career win in just his 26th start.
A clear sign that this guy has some potential given that this was also his first start at Muirfield Village.
Matsuyama came to Dublin, OH (a course created by none other than golf legend Jack Nicklaus) having thrown away a winning opportunity in his previous start – he led the Crowne Plaza last time out after R3, only to shoot a disappointing 71 on Sunday to finish T10th.
This time, he came from 3rd spot on Sunday morning, behind US Masters champion Bubba Watson and another USPGA Tour maiden, Scott Langley, neither of whom broke 70 – Watson (72) & Langley (79) failing to last the distance.
Ultimately, Matsuyama, birdied the last hole, tied with Kevin Na, who shot a best round of the day 64, to force a play-off. The Japanese player winning at the first extra hole.
Memorial Tournament – Results
This was a good field at the Colonial GC… Rory McIlroy, Adam Scott, Matt Kuchar, Justin Rose and Dustin Johnson headed the market. Only Scott making the frame come Sunday.
Matsuyama went generally unbacked, and unnoticed by the golf tipsters, given his rookie status (in winning terms), lack of course form and previous experience in the Crowne Plaza.
All of which made this win, in this company, all the more impressive. There’s little doubt that this guy will win again.
Moving onto this week…
In the final week before the 2014 US Open at Pinehurst, the European Tour heads to Austria for the Lyoness Open. Defending champion here, and tournament favourite, is Joost Luiten (6/1).
Over in the States, the action’s in Memphis, TN at TPC Southwind and the Fedex St. Jude Classic where Dustin Johnson (16/1) heads the market.
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