The 2011 PGA Tour season has been over for the better part of a month, but plenty of world-class professional golf has been unfolding on foreign lands in the weeks since. The past weekend featured the culmination of a handful of prestigious tournaments, but two events rose to the top.
Thanks to an abundance of sunshine that warms the continent well into what is considered winter in North American, the Australian PGA Tour is still playing out in a beautiful land far south of the equator. The Australian Masters took place in Sydney over the past four days, and the competition was fierce. The field was comprised of over 50% native Aussies, but a huge helping of America’s best players were on hand in an attempt to vie for the trophy and another large payday.
One of the most notable names in the field was Tiger Woods, who brought his game down under with the intent to win and break a dry streak that is quickly approaching two years. Anyone who has smacked a golf ball down a fairway in the past decade knows about the transgressions of Woods, which have ultimately led to him entering tournaments such as these in an attempt to get his game back on track.
Through 63 holes, the chances of the former longtime world #1 seemed good. Woods stood on the 10th tee on Sunday only two strokes back of the leader, but windy conditions on the back nine led to a few tee shots that sailed into rough, creating missed opportunities at picking up valuable strokes. In the end, Woods finished 3rd behind runner-up John Senden and winner Greg Chalmers. He was truthful and straightforward about his play in a post round interview. “I would have been right there,” Woods said of his chance at victory, citing two bad holes in the final round and poor putting on Saturday. “But I felt great. It’s nice to finally be healthy again.”
Chalmers took control of the tournament on the final holes with a birdie on the 15th and a par sand save on the tournament’s final hole. PGA stud Geoff Ogilvy was in attendance to defend his 2010 Australian Masters title, but was unable to break into the top three, finishing in a five-way tie for fourth place with other PGA Tour champions such as Adam Scott and Nick Watney.
Asia also played host to some stellar golfing action as the final round of the Singapore Open unfolded on Sunday afternoon. When the dust settled and the clouds cleared, Spaniard Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano walked away with a shiny new trophy and a check for one million dollars. The tournament was staggered by wet conditions, which forced many stoppages of play, the elimination of the fourth round and made for a sudden death playoff that was anything but sudden.
Nonetheless, the talented field adapted to the adverse weather and a group began to form at the top of the leaderboard on the tournament’s final day. After 54 holes, Fernandez-Castano was tied with Juvic Pagunsan, and the two headed to a playoff to determine a winner. Little did they know that it would span two days, and Fernandez-Castano finished off Pagunsan early Monday morning during a break in precipitation.