PGA TOUR | The Honda Classic
Chris Kirk birdied the first hole of a playoff to claim the fifth victory of his PGA TOUR career – and the third finish of T3 or better in his last four starts since putting the NEW Pro V1x golf ball in play to begin the season.
- Kirk emerged victorious from the all-Titleist golf ball playoff with Eric Cole (Pro V1x), after both players posted 14 under for the week.
- On the first playoff hole, PGA National’s par-5 18th, Kirk stuck his third shot close from 109 yards, his Pro V1x settling within 16 inches of the cup to set up the clinching birdie.
- The tight approach was on par with the Georgia-native's ball-striking all week, as he ranked 4th in Proximity to the Hole and 5th in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green (+9.276).
- Kirk posted four rounds in the 60’s, and his second round 8-under 62 was the lowest round of the week.
- He hit 75.34% of his Greens in Regulation (7th) and ranked 3rd in birdies (19).
- Chris Kirk first made the move to the NEW Pro V1x golf ball this year at the Sony Open, where he recorded his best finish in two years (3rd).
- His next start at the American Express ended with a T3 finish.
- Since the Sony Open, Kirk is a combined 54 under (including Sunday’s playoff birdie), gaining more than a stroke per round (+1.03) with his approach shots.
- He is averaging +1.71 strokes gained: tee-to-green.
- Titleist golf ball players swept the top-4 positions and 24 of the top 28 teed up a Pro V1 or Pro V1x model.
CHAMPION CHOOSES VOKEY T GRIND FOR WINNING APPROACH
- The winner of the Honda Classic gamed two Vokey Design SM9 wedges, including the one he used to hit his winning approach shot in the playoff.
- With 109 yards to the pin on the par-5 18th hole, the winner pulled his SM9 WedgeWorks 60T and went flag hunting.
- His NEW Pro V1x golf ball finished 16 inches from the cup, setting up the clinching birdie.
- A longtime Vokey wedge user, he also had a SM9 56.10S in the bag.
- The runner-up also carried a 60T among his three Vokey SM9 wedges.
- Every player in the final top 4 had Vokey wedges in the bag, with a total of 12 wedges between them.
LPGA TOUR | Honda LPGA Thailand
Playing the NEW Pro V1x golf ball, Lilia Vu closed in 8-under 64 to rally from six shots back to win her first LPGA title.
- The 25-year-old made eight birdies Sunday on Siam Country Club’s Pattaya Old Course – including five straight from Nos. 8-12 – to post 22 under and win by one shot.
- “Today I basically just blacked out and tried to birdie every single hole,” said Vu. “If I didn’t, just move on and try again. Got into the scoring tent and didn’t know what I shot. I just knew I made a lot of birdies and I was going to try my best, and that’s what happened.”
- Last week, Vu finished T3 on the Ladies European Tour in her first event playing the NEW Pro V1x.
- She is now a combined 41 under par in her first eight rounds playing the 2023 model with six rounds of 67 or better.
LYDIA KO, JIN YOUNG KO MOVE TO 2023 PRO V1/PRO V1x
- Lilia Vu topped a leader board that featured seven Titleist golf ball players in the top 9 positions, including World No. 1 Lydia Ko and World No. 5 Jin Young Ko who both finished T6.
- Like Vu, Lydia Ko and Jin Young Ko both started the LPGA season with a new golf ball:
- Lydia Ko teed up the NEW Pro V1x, having won last week on the Ladies European Tour in her first start with the 2023 model.
- According to Jeff Beyers of Titleist Golf Ball R&D, Ko began testing NEW Pro V1x during the practice days leading up to her win in November at the CME Group Tour Championship, the LPGA’s 2022 season finale.
- Working with Beyers on the range at Tiburón Golf Club, Ko quickly became intrigued by the more penetrating flight and faster ball speeds she was registering with 3-wood and driver.
- “It kind of caught me by surprise, because we talked about how much she liked her [prior generation Pro V1x], really most of the year,” Beyers said “But then we looked at some numbers and she said she was looking for a little bit less spin off the 3-wood and driver, so it seemed like ‘23 X could be really good idea.”
- While Ko wasn’t going to make a change with only four rounds left in the season, she asked Beyers for some 2023 Pro V1x to test at home during the offseason.
- During the break, Ko also made a visit to the Titleist Performance Institute to make sure she was dialed in for the start of the new year.
- “At TPI, ’23 X did exactly what we saw at CME,” Beyers said. “Lowered the spin 100-150 (rpms), gave her that more penetrating ball flight that she was looking for and was faster off the driver. So she’s like, ‘Oh wow, this is great. Exactly what I was looking for.’ And then most importantly, short irons, wedges, all that stayed the same. So ’23 really did exactly what we hoped for, reduced the spin at the top end of the bag. Added some speed and some distance, but kept mid-short irons, wedges the exact same. We did some short game work too, hit a lot of wedges, and she thought it felt great.”
- Jin Young Ko made the move to 2023 Pro V1, matching Vu with her own bogey-free 64 in Sunday’s final round.
- For the week, Ko hit 84% of fairways (47/56) and 83% greens in regulation (60/72).
DP WORLD TOUR | Hero Indian Open
Marcel Siem (Pro V1) captured his fifth victory on the DP World Tour, posting 14 under to win by one shot.
- Nobody went lower over the weekend than Siem, as he backed up his third round 5-under 67 with a closing 68 to reach the winning number.
- Siem, who regained his DP World Tour card at Q-School in November, led the field in Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee (+1.55 per round) and ranked 2nd in Greens in Regulation (86%).
- The win came over fellow German Yannik Paul (Pro V1), who finished the week at DLF G&CC at 13 under.
- “Winning a golf tournament, being back in the winner’s circle now, it means everything to me,” said Siem. “It’s just unbelievable. It was tough out there with Yannik, he played unbelievable.”
- Four of the top five on the final leader board played a Titleist golf ball.
PGA TOUR AUSTRALASIA | TPS Hunter Valley
Brett Coletta (Pro V1) was victorious after surviving a four-hole sudden-death playoff, making par on the par-4 18th on the fifth go-around.
- Coletta made the cut on the number and came from eight behind at the start of the final round, closing in 9-under 61 to best the previous course record at The Cypress Lakes GC by three shots.
- He made consecutive eagles on Nos. 6 and 7 along with birdies on Nos. 5, 11, 13, 16, and 17 Sunday to cap off a 66-61 weekend and post 11 under.
- Eight of the top 11 finishers trusted a Titleist golf ball for the week, as Titleist was No. 1 in all recorded equipment categories.