Welcome to the Dew Sweeper, your one-stop shop to catch up on the weekend action from the golf world. From the professional tours, trending news, social media headlines and upcoming events, here’s every golf-related thing you need to know for the morning of Sept. 16.
Dramatic finish at Solheim Cup
Suzann Pettersen entered the Solheim Cup as a controversial captain’s pick. She left it, and the sport, in one of the greatest walk-offs the game has seen.
Pettersen—who made all of three starts in the past two years, taking a sabbatical after the birth of her first child—made an eight-foot putt on the final hole of the final match to clinch a European victory at Gleneagles in Scotland.
“She got a bit of stick for getting that pick,” said European captain Catriona Matthew, “but this just shows it was the right one.”
Heading into Sunday singles tied 8-8, the Americans scored 5½ points in the first nine matches, but wins from Europe’s Anna Nordqvist and Bronte Law meant the overall match would come down to the individual match between Pettersen and Marina Alex. The 29-year-old American had a 10-footer that would have secured a tie and let the U.S. retain the cup, but it missed to the right, setting up Pettersen’s winning moment. Pettersen, whose reputation was damaged following a non-concession at this event in 2015, would later say she didn’t know the putt was for the win. Her reaction begs to differ.
It was a final putt in more ways than one. Following her match, Pettersen announced she was retiring from professional golf.
“It’s a dream come true to pull this off here in Scotland, in front of these crowds, for Beany [Matthew’s nickname], here at Gleneagles,” Pettersen said. “It doesn’t get any better. This is a perfect closure—the end for my Solheim career, and also a nice ‘the end’ for my professional career. I’m done. I’m closing it down tomorrow.”
The American defeat tarnishes captain Juli Inkster’s perfect record at the Solheim Cup. For the United States, sisters Jessica and Nelly Korda both secured a team-high 3½ points, while Lexi Thompson—the top-ranked player at the event—was shutout in four matches.
Niemann makes history at Greenbrier
Three months ago, Joaquín Niemann was in danger of losing his PGA Tour card, sitting 141st in the FedEx Cup heading into the Travelers Championship. Following a trip to The Greenbrier, his future is decidedly more secure.
Niemann ran away from the field at the West Virginia resort, a birdie—and fist pump—at the 72nd hole closing out a Sunday 64 and capping a six-shot win at A Military Tribute at The Greenbrier.
“The emotions in that moment on the last couple holes was just crazy,” Niemann said. “I was just thinking on the first win I made when I was a kid and I was dreaming on this moment. So just making those putts on the last three holes was unbelievable. I couldn’t resist it.”
Beginning the day with a two-shot lead, Niemann’s one-under front nine promised to keep the afternoon interesting. The result was all but decided, however, when he made three birdies in his first four holes on the back, adding red figures at the final three for good measure.
Aside from all the usual goodies a victory comes with—two-year tour exemption, Masters invite—Niemann is now a viable International candidate for a captain’s pick at the Presidents Cup. His Greenbrier conquest was Niemann’s fourth top-10 finish in his last nine outings, and his dynamic approach game could make him a formidable opponent at Royal Melbourne.
Niemann becomes the first Chilean player to win on the PGA Tour, and the youngest non-American tour winner in almost a century.
Chappell’s emotional 59
On Friday afternoon Kevin Chappell brought The Greenbrier to its knees. Astonishing, given Chappell couldn’t stand on his just 10 months ago.
Chappell tied a tour record with nine consecutive birdies during his second round on his way to shooting an 11-under 59. He had a shot at 57, which would have broken Jim Furyk’s 58 at the 2016 Travelers Championship as the lowest score in tour history, but parred the final two holes.
Not that anyone was disappointed, particularly Chappell. The 31-year-old was making his first appearance since the 2018 Mayakoba Golf Classic in early November. Following that tournament, Chappell’s pain from a back injury—which he had been nursing for five years—became unmanageable, so extreme that Chappell lost feeling in his left leg on Thanksgiving. He immediately underwent a microdiscectomy and laminectomy in his lower back, placing him on the sidelines for the rest of the 2018-’19 campaign.
“I’ll be completely honest, I’ve been uncomfortable for two days,” Chappell said. “Just kind of getting back into the swing of things, it’s not as innate as I thought it was. I really enjoyed it and embraced it today. Obviously seeing the ball going in the hole you can really embrace being uncomfortable.”
That sentiment was on display the rest of the weekend; Chappell failed to break 70 in his other three rounds at A Military Tribute, finishing T-47. Nevertheless, while his comeback is now underway.
Chappell’s 59 was just the 11th sub-60 round in tour history, with the last eight coming in the past decade.
Sergio defeats 18-year-old for Euro win
Sergio Garcia hasn’t been short on headlines this year, albeit for the wrong reasons. On Sunday, the Spaniard made news in more positive fashion.
The 2017 Masters champ bounced back from four bogeys in his final round at the KLM Open to shoot a three-under 69, good enough for a one-shot victory over Denmark’s Nicolai Hojgaard.
Sharing a two-shot lead with Callum Shinkwin after 54 holes, Garcia’s first seven holes were an adventure, carding four birdies against three bogeys at the International course in Amsterdam. But while Shinkwin went south, Garcia answered with a steady back nine. After Hojgaard—at 18 years old, making just his seventh European Tour start—missed an eagle at the 18th, Garcia’s par conversion on the final hole sealed the W.
“I played well all week under pressure. It wasn’t easy,” Garcia said. “There were a couple of tough moments today, but I hung on tough, that’s the most important thing.”
The win marks the third straight year Garcia has won an event on the Old World circuit, the first time in his career he’s pulled off this feat.