Around the wider world of golf: Mikko Ilonen won the Volvo World Match Play Championship on the ET; Scott Hend won the Hong Kong Open, co-sponsored by the Asian Tour and the ET; Kyu Jung Baek won the LPGA KEB Hana Bank Championship on the LPGA; Lee-Anne Pace won the Cell C South African Women’s Open on the LET; Jay Haas won the Greater Hickory Kia Classic on the Champions Tour; and Sun-Ju Ahn won the Fujitsu Ladies on the JLPGA (the Constructivist has details).
Ben Martin hopes that what happens in Vegas does NOT stay in Vegas. He’d like to take it to a number of tournaments going forward.
Of course, it's hard to duplicate what happens at TPC Summerlin. That course is designed for low scores, and players come to Vegas knowing they'll need to gamble a bit if they hope to hit the big one. But after a third-round 62 that gave him the overnight lead, Ben had to wonder if Lady Luck had kissed him good-bye and thrown her lot in with some of the other high rollers. No matter what he did, it seemed he just couldn't get it under par on Sunday.
And those high rollers were certainly hitting their numbers, Kevin Streelman being the man with the hottest hand. He had won his first tournament by making birdies on the last 7 holes... and Sunday in Vegas, he made 5 in the last 7 holes, narrowly missing a 6th at 18.
But Lady Luck is one of the more fickle women in Vegas. As easily as she left him, Martin found her back at his side when a thinned drive at the par-4 15th took a fortuitous hop onto the green. That 2-putt birdie, followed by an eagle on the par-5 16th, jumped him past Streelman and put him in the lead for good. A final unexpected birdie on the tricky 18th gave him a 2-stroke win.
The fallout from this win won't be limited to Vegas either. Martin's first win will keep him on Tour through the 2017 season and send him to the Masters, among other things. And of course, it wins him the coveted Limerick Summary. But don't worry, Ben -- I won't tell if you don't:
On a course where the pros drove it far,The photo came from the tournament's daily wrap-up page at PGATOUR.com.
Martin struggled to get under par
But he DID find a way.
If he keeps up this play,
He might end up a bonafide star.