In a result that undoubtedly made International Team Presidents Cup captain Trevor Immelman take notice, Aussies Cameron Smith & Marc Leishman defeated South Africans Charl Schwartzel & Louis Oosthuizen on the first playoff hole to win the Zurich Classic of New Orleans. This is the second time Smith has won this event – the previous instance coming in 2017 when paired with Jonas Blixt. Smith is the first player to claim multiple victories in New Orleans since this became a team event four years ago.
When the Zurich Classic switched to a team event in 2017, it marked the first time an official team tournament was on the PGA Tour schedule since 1981. Because of this, Smith enters some rarified air in terms of multiple wins in a team event: the last players to win multiple times in the same team event on the PGA Tour were Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer, who won the PGA National Team Championship as a duo in 1970 and 1971.
This is the third PGA Tour victory for Smith – all of which have come in a playoff. How rare is that? Smith is the first player to claim each of his first three career wins via playoff since Steve Lowery did it back in the day. The victories for Lowery came in 1994, 2000 and 2008.
This is the sixth PGA Tour victory for Leishman, and the fifth since the beginning of the 2017 season. Leishman is now one of just seven players with five or more wins in that span, joining Justin Thomas, Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau, Brooks Koepka, Rory McIlroy and Jon Rahm. Leishman has now finished highly in back-to-back events, having finished tied for fifth at The Masters in his previous start.
Hard luck Louis Oosthuizen has had a tremendous career around the world, but is still only credited with one PGA Tour victory: the 2010 Open Championship at St Andrews, which he won by seven strokes. Oosthuizen now has nine runner-up finishes on the PGA Tour, and they’ve run the total gamut of events – all four major championships, The Players Championship, a WGC (match play), a FedExCup playoff event, a regular event, and now a team event.
Brooke Henderson shot a final round 67 to win the LPGA’s Hugel-Air Premia L.A. Open by one stroke over Jessica Korda. It is the tenth victory of Henderson’s LPGA career – her ninth win back in 2019 had already made her the winningest player from Canada on either the PGA or LPGA Tours, all-time. Henderson missed just six fairways for the entire tournament and hit 15-of-18 greens in regulation in her final round.
21-year-old Garrick Higgo won his second European Tour title, the Gran Canaria Lopesan Open in Spain. His remarkable 72-hole total score of 255 was the lowest total in the history of the European Tour by two strokes. The previous mark of 257 was set by Andy Sullivan at last summer’s English Championship at Hanbury Manor.
One week after losing in a playoff at the Austrian Open, Maximilian Kieffer finished solo second again on the European Tour, this time holding a small piece of unfortunate history. Kieffer finished three shots back, with a total of 258. That is the lowest 72-hole total score in European Tour history by a player who did not win the tournament that week.
The LPGA will shift overseas next, heading to Singapore for the first of three consecutive events in Asia. This marks the first LPGA event conducted in Asia since the COVID-19 global pandemic began last year. The PGA Tour will move to Florida for the Valspar Championship, a tournament Paul Casey has won each of the last two times it was conducted. The last player to win any single PGA Tour event three times in a row was Steve Stricker at the John Deere Classic from 2009-2011.
The Copperhead Course – host of the Valspar Championship – is typically one of the tougher tests on the PGA Tour every year. In 2019 (the event was not held in 2020), the field hit the green in regulation only 54.1% of the time, the lowest rate of any course on the PGA Tour that season. Players made birdie or better on par 4s less than 12% that year, too, also the most difficult rate of any venue on Tour in the 2018-2019 season.