Jordan Smith joins #TeamCallaway

Englishman Jordan Smith, one of the rising young stars of European golf, has today been confirmed as a Callaway Staff Professional, using a full bag of Callaway and Odyssey product, including Chrome Soft Golf Ball.

Jordan (26), already a winner on the European Tour – he triumphed at the Porsche European Open in 2017 – did not take up the sport until he was 12, but went on to play in the 2014 Walker Cup, before turning pro in the same year.

His win at the Porsche European Open was also Jordan’s ticket to play in the US PGA Championships where he tied 9th, the highest placed European player. In 2018, he was also 3rd at The British Masters, and 43rd in the Race to Dubai rankings.

Peter Harrison, Callaway’s EMEA Director of Tour Relations, said: “Jordan is one of European golf’s rising stars and he has already demonstrated his tournament-winning pedigree by successfully competing at the highest level. We are excited to see what the next chapter of his career brings as part of our family, and have full access to our products and support teams.”

Jordan added: “Callaway is a huge brand in the world of golf and has a rich pedigree of successfully supporting the careers of young players on the European Tour. The 2019 product line is fantastic and I’m genuinely excited to see how my game develops this year and beyond.”

What’s in the bag – Jordan Smith
Driver: Callaway Epic Flash Sub Zero Driver 9°, Mitsubishi Chemical, Tensei 70-X
Fairways: Callaway Epic Flash Sub Zero 13.5
Utility: Callaway, X Forged UT 18
Irons: Callaway Apex MB 3-PW
Wedges: Callaway MD4 52; Callaway Mack Daddy PM Grind 58
Putter: Odyssey Toulon Palm Beach
Ball: Callaway Chrome Soft X

Dustin Johnson claims Saudi International title

Dustin Johnson fought off the challenge of Haotong Li, to win by two strokes on Sunday at the inaugural Saudi International.

After a thrilling final round battle with his playing partner Li, Johnson mixed five birdies with two bogeys to shoot a final round 67 and finish his week on 19 under par.

A birdie on the second for Dustin saw him lead by one, but it was neck and neck the whole way. 

After both Johnson and Li bogeyed the tenth, DJ went on to make back-to-back birdies at the 11th and 12th.

A chip in from Haotong Li on the fifteenth put the pressure back on Dustin, but a gutsy bogey from DJ on the short sixteenth hole had his lead at just the one shot.

He tapped in for birdie on seventeen to extend his lead to two shots and did the same thing on his final hole of the week to seal victory.

“It feels really good,” said Johnson. “Any time you can win a professional golf tournament, no matter where it is in the world, it’s a big win.

“I’ve got a lot of confidence in what I’m doing and I feel like I’m hitting a lot of really good golf shots. It’s a big win and it gives me a lot of confidence going into the rest of the year.”

Congratulations Dustin on yet another superb victory, solidifying yourself as a truly global player!

Lacoste forms apparel partnership with Yannik Paul

Lacoste, one of the world’s most recognisable fashion labels, has today announced an apparel partnership with Germany’s Yannik Paul.

Yannik will wear Lacoste’s apparel both on and off the golf course, showcasing their preppy colours and styles that are suitable for all ages.

The young German turned professional in June 2018 after a tremendous career at the University of Colorado, where he became the most successful golfer in the history of the University, recording multiple victories and being named ‘Athlete of the Year’ across all sports.

He signalled his intent to the professional golfing world by immediately qualifying for the MacKenzie Tour in Canada, due to consistent form throughout the season and eventually culminating in him earning full playing status for 2019.

Yannik has decided to concentrate on the Challenge Tour in early 2019, as he looks to solidify himself as a global player.

‘It’s fantastic to join Lacoste as brand ambassador for my upcoming season’, said Yannik. ‘To partner with such a global, iconic brand who make apparel that I’ve worn since I was a kid, really is a proud moment. I look forward to representing them both on and off the course and achieving success over the coming golf season’.

adidas Golf signs European Tour Professional Jordan Smith

adidas is adding another rising star to its ranks. Today, adidas Golf announced a multi-year contract with tour professional Jordan Smith to wear adidas’ apparel and footwear on and off the course.

The signing brings another player to a growing worldwide group of young standout professionals. Following a successful amateur career that included playing as part of the 2013 Walker Cup team for Great Britain & Ireland, Smith played his way through the PGA EuroPro and Challenge Tours, where he led both Order of Merits. He got off to a stellar start in his rookie season on the European Tour in 2017, claiming four top-10 finishes along with a win at the Porsche European Open. Smith’s creativity and performance on the course set him apart as an ideal player to join the 3-Stripes.

“Jordan is the type of player that has clearly displayed the grit and talent required to succeed at the professional level,” said Matt Blackey, Senior Manager of Global Sports Marketing, adidas Golf. “He embodies the type of player we look for at adidas and we’re looking forward to supporting him as he continues his professional career.”

Smith completed the 2018 European Tour season with four top-10s, highlighted by a T-3 finish at the Volvo China Open.

“adidas is one of the biggest sports brands in the world and I’m excited to be joining the team,” said Smith. I’m looking forward to getting into all of their great products to help me succeed on the course in 2019 and into the future.”

Smith will start wearing adidas Golf apparel and footwear on the course beginning at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship this week.

Dawson announces partnership with Portmarnock Hotel & Golf Links

The historic Portmarnock Hotel & Golf Links, which is tucked away in the corner of one of Ireland’s most stunning stretches of coastline, has today announced its multi-year attachment with newly turned Professional, Robin Dawson.

Robin will be the Touring Professional for Portmarnock Hotel & Golf Links and whilst playing golf around the world next season, he will wear the logo on the right chest of his apparel.

Dawson, who had a glittering amateur career turned professional in September of 2018 and has already secured his full Challenge Tour card for the 2019 season, as well as European Tour status through European Tour Qualifying School.

He finished his amateur career with a remarkable 2018 season that saw him rise to 6th place in the World Amateur Golf Rankings. Highlights during the year included victory in the Flogas Irish Open Championship at Royal County Down; runner up in The Amateur Championship; second in the European Amateur Championships; representing Europe in the Bonallack Trophy; selection for Great Britain and Ireland for the St Andrews Trophy; and representation for Ireland in both the World Amateur Team Championships and the Home Internationals.

In previous years he triumphed in the World University Championships (2016), the European University Championships (2015) and the Irish Boys Amateur Open (2013).

“Portmarnock Links is one of my favourite courses and for me to now be their Touring Professional, is a huge honour”, said Dawson upon the announcement of this partnership. ‘It is a golf course that I have spent a lot of time on and it is one of the best tests of links golf that there is. It is clear that all of the teams hard work has come to fruition and I am excited to showcase Portmarnock Hotel & Golf Links on the international golfing stage”.

Barry O’Connor, the Resort Director at Portmarnock Hotel & Golf Links, said he was equally delighted to welcome Robin on board. “He is an exceptional young man and we have no doubt that he is going to be one of a new generation of Irish professionals that will fly the Irish flag proudly throughout the golfing world. We were delighted to have the opportunity to partner with Robin and it was one of the easiest decisions that we have had to make. We look forward to following Robin and to share in the success that we are confident he will achieve.”

Portmarnock Hotel & Golf Links, once the family home of the Jameson Dynasty, has enjoyed a major redevelopment programme in recent years that has seen serious investment in both the course and the hotel itself.

The hotel itself comprises of 134 bedrooms, each with the promised view of the golf course, the enchanting original Jameson Family gardens and of course, the Irish sea. A state-of-the-art spa and conference space for up to 300 people is onsite, as well as two award-winning restaurants, one of which overlooks Irelands Eye.

The golf course which was originally designed by Bernhard Langer has hosted several tournaments, including two major professional women’s championships that saw many of the world’s best female players tackle the course in the build-u to Ireland’s hosting of the Solheim Cup in 2011.

Scalise forms partnership with CAPTO Golf

CAPTO Golf, the revolutionary new training and fitting system for putting, today announced their one-year partnership with Italy’s Lorenzo Scalise.

Whilst playing golf around the world next season, Lorenzo will sport the CAPTO Golf logo on the belly of his golf bag.

CAPTO is a putting analysis system that is composed by high accuracy and ultra-compact sensors, that transmit accurate putter movement data and calculate the most important mechanical and biomechanical parameters. It measures putting performance accurately in real time and in real playing conditions. The CAPTO system derives from 20 years of experience in the aeronautics sector of Menci company.

Lorenzo Scalise, one of Italy’s up and coming golfing stars, had an impressive amateur career, reaching a career high of 20th in the World Amateur Golf Rankings and was ranked 23rd upon turning professional.

Scalise claimed victory at the 2018 Yale Spring Invitational and the 2017 Italian Amateur Championship, represented the Continent of Europe at the St. Andrew’s Links Trophy, Team International at the Arnold Palmer Cup and Team Italy at the World Amateur Team Championships, where he led his country to a fifth-place finish in the team standings and eighth in the individual standings.

Lorenzo made his professional debut at the Kazakhstan Open following the Eisenhower trophy and finished in a tie for 50th position. He will compete next year on the Challenge Tour where he looks to rise up the professional golf rankings.

“I’m very excited to be CAPTO’s first ambassador. The CAPTO team have a revolutionary product which will not only help golfers of all abilities with their putting, but will also help me elevate my own analysis to ensure my progression to the very highest levels of the game”, said Scalise on his new partnership.

“Being young and incredibly talented, Lorenzo is a golfer that will stand out next year at any tournament that he competes in”, said Francesca Ceccaroni, CEO of CAPTO Golf. “We are very proud to be associated with Lorenzo and we hope that he can achieve the results that he deserves, after working on his putting with the CAPTO system”.

CAPTO was presented at the Orlando PGA Show in January of 2018  and was overwhelmingly acclaimed. In less than one year in the golf market, hundreds of CAPTO units are in the backpack of coaches and players around the world.

Lombard shares top spot at European Tour Q-School

South Africa’s Zander Lombard earned his European Tour card for the 2019 season, by finishing joint 1st at Final Stage of European Tour Q-School last week. 

Following six rounds at Lumine Golf Club in Spain, Zander and Alejandro Canizares could not be separated at the top of the leaderboard on 24-under-par.

Having lost his card earlier this month, Zander shot rounds of 64, 68, 70, 70, 64 and 68 at Lumine to secure his playing rights once again. 

I shouldn’t have been here in the first place, but to come out strong and prove myself to be on the Tour it’s really amazing, I don’t have words for it right now,” said Lombard. “I’ve usually had a lazy first half to the season but I’m going to try to do things differently this year and play as much as I can early in the year and try to get the numbers up early. 

Well done to Zander on earning his European Tour card and best of luck as he kicks off his season this week in Hong Kong. 

Figueiredo secures European Tour card for 2019

It was a Sunday to remember for Pedro Figueiredo, as he secured his European Tour card for the 2019 season, following a final round 67 at the Ras Al Khaimah Challenge Tour Grand Final.

Entering the final tournament of the season placed 17th in the Road to Ras Al Khaimah rankings, Figueiredo needed a big week to guarantee his promotion to the European Tour.

Opening up with two consecutive one under par, 71’s, followed by a level par, 72, he had work to do in his final round of 2018. 

When the pressure was on, Figueiredo produced a final round of five under par, 67, including a birdie at his final hole, to jump up to 13th place on the leaderboard and get inside the elusive top 15. 

“I was out, I was in, I was out, and yeah, in the end somehow I managed to sneak in there, so it was just a rollercoaster of two hours”, said Figueiredo. “It’s always been a goal, but I don’t think I have realised yet that I have achieved it. It’s been a long journey to get here, but maybe tomorrow I’ll start settling down and realising that I’m on the European Tour.”

Figueiredo jumped up the Challenge Tour rankings after his victory at the KPMG Trophy during the summer and continued his fine form throughout the season with a third-place finish at the SSE Scottish Hydro Challenge and tied eighth at the Euram Bank Open. All were big factors in helping Figueiredo to secure his European Tour card for next season.

Also competing at the Ras Al Khaimah Grand Final were Oliver Wilson and Oscar Lengdén who finished their weeks off in tied 22nd and tied 17th respectively. Overall, Oliver completed his year ranked 17th and Oscar, 23rd.

Koepka claims CJ Cup title and World Number One spot

Three-time major winner, Brooks Koepka, closed out victory at The CJ Cup on Sunday by four shots, to become the new World Number One for the first time. 

Koepka, who is also the reigning PGA Tour Player of the Year, shot a final round of 8 under, 64, to sign for a total of 21 under par. 

“Everything I’ve done this year it’s been working. So I don’t want to change anything,” Koepka said. “Just keep improving. “I’m so excited right now, you have no idea. I can’t wait to go play again.”

Brooks began the day with a three-shot lead, but by the time he had reached the turn one under for his round with three birdies and two bogeys, he had been joined at the top by Gary Woodland who had made a charge up the leaderboard. 

The biggest moment of the day came on the 16th hole, when Brooks went from a fairway bunker to just left of the green, about 70 feet away. Koepka hit a chip-and-run that was stopped by the pin and dropped for birdie.

“It’s absolutely amazing. It’s a dream come true,” Koepka said after closing out the tournament and becoming World Number One. “I don’t think I ever thought in my wildest dreams I’d be the best golfer in the world. I can’t even put it into words.”

Victory at the CJ Cup was Koepka’s fifth PGA Tour title. Having now claimed victories in seven countries – USA, South Korea, Spain, Italy, Japan, Turkey and Scotland, Koepka truly is a global player. 

Well done Brooks on your victory in South Korea and also claiming the World Number One position for the first time in your career. We are all so thrilled for you and know that there is so much more to come. 

Alexander Björk chooses Hambric Sports

Hambric Sports is delighted to announce the signing of the 2018 Volvo China Open winner, Alexander Björk, fresh off his solo 2nd place finish at the Sky Sports British Masters yesterday.

Currently, Alexander is ranked 65th on the Official World Golf Rankings and 12th on the Race to Dubai rankings.

Heading into his second year on the European Tour, Alexander started it off in a near perfect style, by finishing tied 2nd at the UBS Hong Kong Open. This was then followed up by a tied 3rd finish at the Tropheé Hassan II and tied 6th at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic.

Solid performances continued and it wasn’t long before Alexander claimed his maiden European Tour title at the Volvo China Open.

2017 was a whirlwind first season for Alexander on the European Tour. Recording three top-ten finishes, this helped him to a 43rd place finish on the Race to Dubai rankings, meaning that he comfortably retained his card for the 2018 season.

A tied third finish for Alexander at the 2017 HNA Open de France secured him a spot at the 146th Open Championship, where he made his major debut.

In 2016, Alexander picked up his first Challenge Tour victory at the Le Vaudreuil Golf Challenge and also had nine top-ten finishes during this season. This led to him finishing 7th on the Road to Oman rankings and guaranteeing his European Tour for 2017.

“I am delighted to be joining the team at Hambric Sports”, said Alexander. “I’m ready to take my career to the next level and I know that by surrounding myself with the Hambric Sports Team, they can help make my dreams a reality”.

CEO of Hambric Sports, Rocky Hambric, said: “We are excited to welcome Alexander to the Hambric Sports Family. Already a proven winner on both the European and Challenge Tours, we look forward to helping him achieve the rest of his professional goals”.

With offices in Dallas, Los Angeles & Dublin, Hambric Sports specializes in the management of professional golfers and markets its clients on a global basis. This includes seeking and negotiating income-producing opportunities within the golf industry and corporate world. In addition to Björk, the list of clients includes Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Thorbjørn Olesen, Martin Laird, Beau Hossler, Jordan Smith and Gonzalo Fernandez-Castaño.

Photo credit: Andy Crook