TIGER Woods may have dominated the golf headlines around the world, but he was only one player in a huge week of golf.
The Australian PGA Championship returned to RACV Royal Pines and America’s Harold Varner III atoned for his heartbreaking playoff loss to Nathan Holman last year by taking out the Joe Kirkwood Cup by two shots at the Gold Coast on Sunday.
Varner III’s stunning 65 ensured he held off late charges from Adam Scott, Ashley Hall and third-round leader Andrew Dodt to finish at 19-under-par on Graham Marsh’s revamped Royal Pines.
Varner III’s win at the final tier-one event of the 2016 Aussie summer of golf was also co-sanctioned by the European Tour. Click here for the final leaderboard from the Australian PGA Championship.
In the Bahamas, 14-time major winner Woods marked his return to competitive golf with a wild four rounds to finish 15th place at the Hero World Challenge – his first tour event in 16 months. For most of the tournament, the 41-year-old looked at his dominant best but, on several holes also his slumping worst. With a new-look driver swing, fantastic iron play, world-class short-game and solid putting, Woods did demonstrate plenty of promise he can return to career-best form.
While Woods – the event’s host – finished with a four-under total in the 18-man event, Hideki Matsuyama capped off a phenomenal season with a two-shot victory over Henrik Stenson.
Matsuyama, a winner in three of his last four tournaments before the Hero World Challenge, had his seven-shot lead reduced during Sunday’s round but the world No.6 fired a final-round 73 to sign for an 18-under total at Albany, the Bahamas. Click here for all the scores from the Hero World Challenge.
In South Africa, local Brandon Stone – who travelled straight from Melbourne where he represented South Africa at the World Cup of Golf at Kingston Heath – claimed his second European Tour title with a seven-shot triumph at the Alfred Dunhill Championship at Leopard Creek Country Club.
Stone produced a closing 67 to finish the week on 22-under and secure his second trophy of the calendar year after winning January’s BMW SA Open. Click here for the full leaderboard from the Alfred Dunhill Championship.