PGA TOUR | 3M Open
Titleist Brand Ambassador Lee Hodges – playing a Pro V1 golf ball and bag full of Titleist equipment, including his TSR2 driver and NEW T100 irons – used four days of precision ball-striking and short game control to win his first PGA TOUR title by seven shots, the TOUR’s second-largest margin of victory since 2019.
- The 28-year-old closed out the first wire-to-wire victory this season on the PGA TOUR (and the first one in 3M Open history) with a 4-under 67 at TPC Twin Cities that included two Sunday eagles on the par-5 6th and 12th holes, each set up by his TSR2 9.0° driver and TSR3 15.0° fairway metal, and then converted with his NEW Scotty Cameron GOLO 6 putter.
- It was a shot making week for the books for Hodges, who opened the tournament with bogey-free rounds of 63-64 and never looked back, setting the event’s new scoring record at 24 under par.
- He ranked first in Strokes Gained: Tee to Green, gaining more than 12 shots (+12.383) on the field while making a field-best 25 birdies.
- Hodges, who plays a combo set of NEW T100 (4-6) and 620 CB (7-9) irons along with four Vokey Design SM9 wedges, led in SG: Approach (+9.393), while hitting 81% greens in regulation (58 of 72).
- He also gained more than a stroke off the tee (+1.769/T27) and around the green (+1.218/27th).
- Hodges was just as locked in on the greens, gaining more than six shots (+6.196) with his NEW GOLO 6 to rank 4th.
- With the win, Hodges moves to No. 33 in the FedEx Cup Points Standings and is projected to jump to No. 54 in the Official World Golf Ranking, the highest position of his career.
What’s in the Bag? | LEE HODGES
Golf Ball: Titleist Pro V1
Driver: TSR2 9.0° | Fujikura Speeder 757 Evolution 6 TX
Fairway Metal: TSR3 15.0° | UST Mamiya LIN-Q Red M40X 8F5 X
Hybrid: TSR3 21.0° | KBS TOUR 95g Prototype Graphite Hybrid X
Irons: NEW T100 4-6 | KBS TOUR C-Taper 130 X and 620 CB 7-9 | KBS TOUR C-Taper 130 X
Wedges: Vokey Design SM9 46.10F, 52.08F, 56.10S, 60.04L | KBS TOUR C-Taper 130 X (46-52), KBS Tour Hi-Rev 2.0 Wedge 125 S (56-60)
Putter: NEW Scotty Cameron GOLO 6 tour prototype
MOVE TO PRO V1 A ‘GAME CHANGER’ FOR HODGES
- A longtime Titleist golf ball player, Lee Hodges was in complete control of his Pro V1 this week in Minnesota, leading the field with 12.383 strokes gained on the field from tee to green, 2.4 more shots than second place in that category.
- Last season, Hodges began his PGA TOUR career playing Pro V1x, which he had used to earn his card through the Korn Ferry Tour.
- He made the move to Pro V1 following a range session with Fordie Pitts of Titleist Golf Ball R&D at the 2022 Byron Nelson.
- “Lee had always been an X guy, but had been starting to fight a little trajectory and spin,” Pitts said. “So we went from X to V and it just brought him right back down, into the right window with the right amount of spin. The V, with that lower flight and spin, just fit him better and he'll tell you it’s been a game changer.”
- “I’ve never found a better golf ball,” Hodges said earlier this season at The American Express. “It’s perfect.”
HODGES WINS WITH NEW T100 IRONS
- Lee Hodges was one of the first players in the world to hit the NEW T-Series T100 irons, which made their debut earlier this summer at The Memorial.
- Hodges, who plays a mixed set of T100 and CB irons, was on the range early Monday morning at Muirfield Village with Titleist tour reps, testing his NEW T100 4, 5 and 6 irons for the first time.
- “That 6-iron might be the best club I've ever hit, in my whole life,” Hodges said after one of his strikes. “I may just lay up to 6-iron...”
- Hodges, who is 37th on TOUR in approaches from 200-225 yards, put the new irons immediately in play that week on his way to a T12 finish.
- This week at the 3M, Hodges gained more than nine shots on the field on approach shots (+9.393) and 81% greens in regulation (58 of 72).
- “They’re fantastic (the T100’s). They still launch the ball really high, which you need with the higher irons, and are very forgiving for off center strikes,” Hodges said.
TSR DRIVER & FAIRWAY = TWO SUNDAY EAGLES FOR HODGES
- Lee Hodges played four key shots during the final round at TPC Twin Cities – two with his TSR2 9.0° driver and two with his TSR3 15.0° fairway metal – that resulted in two of the biggest 3’s (and eagles) of his career:
- On the par-5 6th, Hodges hit his TSR2 driver 300 yards down the right side of the fairway, 257 yards from the hole. He pulled his TSR3 3-wood and took aim, over the water hazard, directly at the flag. His Pro V1 came to rest 11 feet, 2 inches from the hole.
- On the par-5 12th, his TSR2 driver split the fairway, 306 yards downrange, leaving him – once again – 257 yards to the pin. He went right back to his TSR3 15-degree and went flag-hunting. His Pro V1 took two small bounces and rolled to 2 feet, 8 inches.
- “Anytime you hit two 3-woods inside 10 feet you're being pretty aggressive,” he told the media after the round. “Those were two of the greatest shots I ever hit.”
- “I had the exact same number both times and in the exact same wind. I just had to hold a little 3-wood. And it was 257 both times. I just had to get it up in the air and hold it and I did it pretty well.”
- Hodges on his TSR driver: “It’s really added some distance to my game and I’ve really got accuracy with it, too. So that’s the best of both worlds.”
- “Feel-wise, there’s a little more feel off the face (with TSR). Kind of more like you can hear it and see it come off. It comes off pretty hot. It's still solid in the middle, but the misses kind of seemed like it stays on the golf course a little better. Golf’s a game of misses. You've heard that a million times. But if my misses can stay in the fairway or closer to where I’m looking, you’re going to play better golf.”
- Hodges on his TSR fairway: “Forgiveness, long off the tee. When you need to, you can launch it high and land it soft. This club has been unreal.”
HODGES BRINGS NEW GOLO 6 PUTTER TO WINNER’S CIRCLE
- Lee Hodges gained more than six shots (+6.196) on the field with his NEW Scotty Cameron GOLO 6 tour prototype putter, a new model he put in play for the first time this season at the Waste Management Open.
- The rounded compact mallet, with a mid-bend shaft and new dual-milled face technology, is sized in between the previous GOLO 5 and 7 models.
- “Biggest thing players like is the round shape combined with a really clean top line,” said Scotty Cameron tour rep Brad Cloke. “What that does is it gives players some freedom on big, breaking putts when they get on some slopey greens on tours. Lee Hodges is one player that mentions that since going to the GOLO 6, that has helped him with breaking putts, helps him kind of see the line, feel the line a little bit better as opposed to getting locked in.”
LPGA | The Amundi Evian Championship
Celine Boutier (Pro V1x) claimed her first career major championship title in a runaway, posting a final round 3-under 68 to finish at 14 under, six shots clear of second place for the largest margin of victory in a women’s major in eight years.
- Conquering high winds, precarious hole locations and firm conditions, Boutier was the only player to shoot all four rounds in the 60’s (66-69-67-68), making 19 birdies while surrendering just five bogeys all week.
- Boutier, who got her Pro V1x up-and-down 75% of the time (12 of 16) around the Evian Resort Golf Club, now leads the LPGA Tour in both Scrambling and Bogey Avoidance for the year.
- It marked the second win of 2023 and fourth career LPGA title for Boutier, who became the first French player to win on home soil at the Evian Championship.
- “It's everything,” Boutier said. “Like I said, it's definitely like the biggest dream of mine. If I was going to win one tournament it had to be Evian. Yeah, I just really did not expect it to be this week.”
CHAMPIONS | The Senior Open
Alex Cejka (Pro V1x) birdied the second hole of an all-Titleist golf ball playoff to earn his first Senior Open and third career senior major championship title after conquering a week of extreme conditions.
- On a second consecutive day in which no player was able to break par around the wind- and rain-swept Royal Porthcawl Golf Club, Cejka shot a final round 76 to post +5 for the week and force extra holes with Padraig Harrington (Pro V1).
- After both players traded birdies on the first extra hole, Cejka’s two-putt birdie on the second clinched the title.
- “I can't believe I'm standing with the trophy here,” Cejka said. “Seeing all those great names on the trophy, coming in here with all the pictures and everything, all the guys who won it before me, now holding it myself, it's surreal.”
KORN FERRY TOUR | NV5 Invitational presented by Old National Bank
- Titleist Brand Ambassador Trace Crowe earned his first career Korn Ferry Tour title, emerging from a two-hole playoff.
- Crowe shot a final round 66, his fourth score of 66 or better this week at The Glen Club (66-64-63-66), to equal the 25 under total posted by Patrick Fishburn (Pro V1).
- The two exchanged birdies on the 561-yard par-5 18th on their first extra hole. On their second trip down 18, Crowe sealed the victory with a par.
- Gaming his Pro V1 golf ball, TSR driver and fairway, NEW T100 irons and SM9 wedges, Crowe led the field in birdies (30) and only dropped shots on four holes all week.
What’s in the Bag? | Trace Crowe
Golf Ball: Titleist Pro V1
Driver: TSR2 10.0°
Fairway Metal: TSR3 13.5°
Irons: NEW T100 4-9
Wedges: Vokey Design SM9 46.10F, 50.08F, 54.10S, 60.08M
SUNSHINE TOUR | FNB Eswatini Challenge
Peter Karmis (Pro V1x) claimed his seventh career Sunshine Tour title, turning in a final round 2-under 70 to win by one shot.
- The 42-year-old opened the week at the Nkonyeni Lodge and Golf Estate with a 6-under 66, following it up with back-to-back rounds of 70 to reach his winning 10-under total.
- Five of the six players finishing T3 or better played a Pro V1 or Pro V1x golf ball, and 82% of the field (100 players) relied on a Titleist golf ball for the week.
AMATEUR | U.S. Junior Amateur Championship
- The 2023 U.S. Junior Amateur Champion, gaming his Pro V1 golf ball, closed out the championship match in style, making birdie on the 35th and 36th holes to win 2-up and clinch the title.
- The winner shot rounds of 74-70 in stroke-play qualifying to earn a spot in match play, before defeating six different opponents over 118 holes on his path to victory.
- Saturday’s 36-hole final was a back-and-forth match, as just five holes were tied in the first 18. Weather pushed the match’s conclusion to Sunday after 25 holes, with the eventual champion 1-up at the restart.
- Five more holes were traded back and forth before the winner’s back-to-back birdies on Nos. 17 and 18 to close out his opponent.
- With the win, the champion receives exemptions into the 2024 U.S. Open to be held at Pinehurst Resort & Country Club’s Course No. 2 as well as the 2023 and 2024 U.S. Amateur Championships (Cherry Hills Country Club and Hazeltine National Golf Club, respectively).
TITLEIST TOPS COUNTS AT U.S. JUNIOR
- Titleist was the overwhelming #1 golf ball and top choice of players in all major equipment categories at the U.S. Junior Amateur.
- Of the 264 players that teed it up at the Daniel Island Club, more of the game’s best juniors used Titleist golf balls, drivers, fairways, hybrids (T1), utility irons, irons, wedges and putters than any other brand, with all four semifinalists playing a Titleist Pro V1 and three of the four trusting Titleist equipment from tee to green:
- The #1 ball in golf is the #1 choice of players competing on the game’s biggest stages. More than 80 percent of the field chose to play a Titleist golf ball with 214 players (81.1%) gaming a Pro V1, Pro V1x or Pro V1x Left Dash golf ball, including seven of the championship’s eight quarterfinalists and all four semifinalists. That’s 10 times more than the nearest competitor (21/8%).
- Titleist was the most played driver with 118 players (45% of the field), building further upon the momentum of the Titleist Speed Project and the performance of Titleist drivers on the PGA TOUR and at every level of competitive golf. The U.S. Junior’s most popular driver model, played by more than one-quarter of the field? TSR3 (67 players).
- Titleist was also top choice in fairway metals (120/38%) and hybrids (29/35%/T1). Three of the four semifinalists had a TSR driver and fairway in the bag.
- Sixty percent of the utility irons in play were Titleist models (85), more than six times the nearest competitor (14/10%). The clear favorite among U.S. Junior competitors is T200.
- Three of the four semifinalists gamed Titleist irons, the PGA TOUR’s longstanding most played irons, with a total of 101 Titleist iron sets in play (38.3%) this week in South Carolina, compared to 52 (20%) for the nearest competitor. The most trusted model at the U.S. Junior, as well as on the PGA TOUR? T100.
- The most trusted wedge for nearly two decades running on the PGA TOUR, Vokey Design gap, sand, and lob wedges accounted for 59% (466) of the wedges in the field and more than all other brands combined.
- Scotty Cameron (110/42%) was once again the field’s most trusted putter brand, compared to 58 (22%) for the nearest competitor (49), with three of the four semifinalists using a Scotty. The most popular models in play at Daniel Island: Phantom X 5.5 and Newport 2.
AMATEUR | Pacific Coast Amateur Championship
Making his second-ever Elite Amateur Golf Series appearance, the winner of the 56th Pacific Coast Amateur Championship trusted his Pro V1 golf ball en route to a final round 62 and a victory in extra holes.
- The champion, whose bogey-free 8-under final round matched the competitive course record at Capilano Golf and Country Club, traded pars with his opponent on the first playoff hole before two-putting for birdie on the second to clinch the win.
- By tournament’s end, he was one of just four players to shoot four rounds under par (69-69-67-62, -13).