10 Notes to Know: March 29, 2021

March 29, 2021
Justin Ray
  1. Billy Horschel defeated Scottie Scheffler in the final of the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, his sixth PGA Tour victory and first career World Golf Championship title. Horschel is the fourth consecutive American winner of the event, and this was the third year in a row the finale was an all-American affair. With the win, Horschel moved into the top-20 in the World Ranking for the first time since 2015.
  1. Matt Kuchar defeated Victor Perez of France in the consolation match, capping off an excellent week for the 42-year-old past champion of this event. Kuchar reached the semifinals of the WGC Match Play for the fourth time in his career, tying Tiger Woods for the most appearances all-time. The win over Perez was the 34th match victory for Kuchar, now two shy of Woods’ record for most matches won.
  1. Getting out to an early lead once again proved vital at Austin Country Club: for the week, 77% of players who took the initial lead in their match either won or halved with their opponent. For the third year in a row, no player came back in any match when trailing by more than 2 down at the turn.
  1. Rust? What rust? In her first start of 2021, Inbee Park led after every round of the Kia Classic, her first wire-to-wire victory since 2015. Park wins for the 21st time in her career, tying Hall of Famer Marilynn Smith for 25th place on the all-time list. Her five-stroke margin of victory ties the largest of her incredible career.
  1. The ANA Inspiration – the first major of the season – comes next. This is the second time in Park’s career she has won a tournament the week before a major championship. The other instance was in 2013, when Park took the NW Arkansas Championship the week before the U.S. Women’s Open. She then went on to win that U.S. Women’s Open the following week.
  1. In his 111th career PGA Tour start, Joel Dahmen won the Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship by one stroke, his first victory. Dahmen was balanced through the bag, ranking tenth in the field in greens in regulation, fourth in scrambling and second in putts per green in regulation. Dahmen is the third first-time winner on the Tour this season, joining Jason Kokrak and Carlos Ortiz.
  1. The ANA Inspiration returns to its usual spring spot on the schedule after being held in September last year. Lexi Thompson has finished in seventh or better six of the last seven years in this championship. Since 2014, she is a combined 69-under-par there – 30 strokes better than any other player in that span.
  2. Five of the previous six years, the ANA Inspiration has been decided by either a single stroke or a playoff. Five consecutive winners have come from outside the United States, with nine straight major winners overall coming from non-American players. The last American to win a women’s professional major championship was Angela Stanford at the 2018 Evian Championship.
  3. The Augusta National Women’s Amateur begins Wednesday at Champions Retreat Golf Club, before concluding Saturday at Augusta National. This is the second edition of the event, as it was canceled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In the inaugural edition, Jennifer Kupcho outdueled Maria Fassi, going five-under-par in her last six holes.
  1. The PGA Tour will remain in the Lone Star State for the Valero Texas Open, the last event on the schedule before the Masters. The last three winners of the Texas Open – Kevin Chappell in 2017, Andrew Landry in 2018 and Corey Conners in 2019 – ranked second, first and first that week in strokes gained approach. World number one Dustin Johnson will be in the field, teeing it up in San Antonio for the first time since 2015.