European Tour PGA Championship
Location: Wentworth Club, Virginia Water, Surrey, England
When: May 25-28
Winner: Alex Noren of Sweden
Noren shot a course record 10-under-par 62 to rally from seven shots off the lead to win the European Tour’s flagship event. He finished with a 72-hole total of 11-under-par 277 and a two-shot victory over Francesco Molinari of Italy.
“Probably my best ever,” Noren said, when asked where his score of 62 ranks in his career. An eagle on the last hole sealed the deal, and was set up by a stroke of genius to the par-5 18th.
“It was a 5-iron yardage with a bit of adrenaline in there,” Noren said. “It just came out perfect; that one shot you want to see in the air.”
Open de France
Location: Le Golf National, Paris, France
When: June 29-July 2
Winner: Tommy Fleetwood of England
Fleetwood had one of those days all golfers dream of in the final round of the Open de France. He fired a 5-under 66 to edge the American Peter Uihlein with a 12-under 272 total. Fleetwood recalls stiffing iron shots at the first two holes as the start of a run of flawless golf.
“I don’t think I missed a shot from there on in in that last round,” Fleetwood said. “You really don’t feel this way very often but I played two holes on Sunday and I thought, ‘There’s no way I can lose.’ I don’t know how or why, but I felt very confident with my game.”
Location: Portstewart Golf Club, Portstewart, County Londonderry, Northern Ireland
When: July 6-9
Winner: Jon Rahm of Spain
Rahm dominated the field, holing out from 150 yards for eagle on No. 4 and reeling off four straight birdies beginning at No. 7 to shoot 7-under 65. The 22-year-old’s 72-hole aggregate of 24-under 264 shattered the tournament record to par by three shots as he cruised to a six-stroke victory.
“To actually play my best golf that I can remember and shoot 24 under on this golf course and win it by six, that is not something I would have believed I was capable of,” Rahm said. “I learned a lot about myself and it’s a really, really special day.”
Location: Dundonald Links, Troon, Ayrshire, Scotland
When: July 13-16
Winner: Rafa Cabrera Bello of Spain
Having finished second six times since winning the 2012 Dubai Desert Classic, Cabrera Bello was due and his time to shine arrived at the Scottish Open.
He set a course record of 8-under 64 at Dundonald Links to finish at 13 under. It was good enough to force a playoff with Englishman Callum Shinkwin, who bogeyed the 72nd hole of the tournament.
Cabrera Bello clinched his third European Tour victory with a two-putt birdie at the first extra hole after knocking his second shot on to the green at the par-five 18th from 275 yards.
“Those are the moments we practice for,” Cabrera Bello said. “I enjoy those pressure situations. I think they really define you. I hit a great shot and the birdie was enough to win.”
Location: Golf Club Milano, Parco Reale di Monza, Italy
When: Oct. 12-15
Winner: Tyrrell Hatton of England
A day after celebrating his 26th birthday, Hatton rode a hot putter to a second straight European Tour victory. He birdied five of the last seven holes for a bogey-free 65 to finish at 21 under. Hatton capped off the tournament in style, sinking a 20-foot putt for birdie on the final green to snatch a one-stroke victory over fellow Englishman Ross Fisher and Kiradech Aphibarnrat of Thailand.
“I just can’t believe I have won again,” Hatton said. “I didn’t see a leaderboard so I didn’t know where the leaders were, but I holed some putts and it was an amazing feeling to see that one drop at the 18th.”
Location: Regnum Carya Golf & Spa Resort, Antalya, Turkey
When: Nov. 2-5
Winner: Justin Rose of England
Rose, the Olympic gold medalist, hadn’t won an official event since October 2015. Then he won two in a row. A week after rallying to win in Shanghai, Rose fired 64-65 on the weekend to erase a two-stroke deficit and post a winning total of 18 under par, a shot ahead of Nicolas Colsaerts of Belgium and Dylan Frittelli of South Africa.
Rose flashed back to the putt he missed on the 18th green at Augusta National that would have won the Masters in April. This time, he canned a 10-foot putt on the 18th for his third birdie in the last four holes and when Colsaerts failed to convert from two feet closer, Rose secured his 10th European Tour title and first Rolex Series trophy. “It’s like a bus,” Rose said of winning. “You wait ages for one, and then two turn up.”
Nedbank Golf Challenge
Location: Gary Player Country Club, Sun City, South Africa
When: Nov. 9-12
Winner: Branden Grace of South Africa
Grace canned a 40-foot birdie putt at 16 to break out of a three-way tie and notch his eighth victory on the European Tour.
Grace, 29, hit all 18 greens in regulation for a bogey-free 6-under 66. He finished with a 72-hole aggregate of 11-under 277 and a one-stroke victory over Scott Jamieson of Scotland and Victor Dubuisson of France, who made a late bogey to finish third.
Grace, who grew up on a farm in Pretoria, became the first South African in 10 years to win on his home soil.
”I think this was probably the loudest applause I’ve ever received coming up the 18th hole,” Grace said. “This is the one event that as a South African you want to win. It’s Africa’s Major for a reason and what a special place it is.”