Lilia Vu, playing the NEW Pro V1x golf ball, birdied her final three holes Sunday – including the first hole of a sudden-death playoff – to claim her first major championship and second LPGA victory in her last five starts.
Vu birdied Nos. 17 and 18 Sunday to post a final-round 4-under 68 and reach 10 under for the week. Angel Yin (Pro V1) also birdied 18 in regulation to force the all-Titleist golf ball playoff. On the first extra hole, Vu, 25, hit the fairway and two-putted from over the back of the green for the tournament-clinching birdie.
Vu, who started Sunday T11, became the first LPGA major champion to start outside the top 10 entering the final round since 1988.
For the week, she hit the green in regulation 84.4% of the time from the fairway and played the par-3s in 7 under par.
Lilia Vu made the move to 2023 Pro V1x to begin the year, having tested the new models at home over the offseason. In her first LPGA start with NEW Pro V1x at the Honda LPGA Thailand in February, she posted a bogey-free 8-under 64 in the final round to claim her first LPGA victory.
Vu followed that win with finishes of T14, T7 and T11 before Sunday’s major breakthrough. She is a cumulative 64 under par over those five events and 20 rounds, not including her major-winning playoff birdie.
Vu on her NEW Pro V1x golf ball and testing process: “Instantly knew that the new Pro V1x was going to be it. It helped bring down the spin and it was just perfect for my game. Yeah, everything about it. The biggest thing for me is I really wanted the same feel coming out of the old golf ball. It just happened to be that way, so it worked out really well.”
The winner of The Chevron Championship gamed a Scotty Cameron GOLO 5 putter en route to her first major. On the 71st hole of the tournament, the eventual champion faced a lengthy must-make birdie putt. She rolled it in to get to 9 under and then brushed in a short birdie putt on the 72nd hole to post 10 under and take the clubhouse lead. On the first hole of the playoff, she put the finishing touches on her victory by rolling in a mid-range birdie putt for three in a row to close out the tournament.
“I knew on that last putt, all I had to do was just do my routine, read the putt how I usually do, and just hit this putt because I've hit that putt a million times and I knew I could make it,” she said.
The champion also carried a pair of Vokey Design SM9 wedges, a 56.10S sand wedge and 60.08M lob wedge.
The all-Titleist golf ball pairing of Titleist Brand Ambassador Davis Riley and Nick Hardy posted a tournament record-setting 30-under total to win by two shots. It marked the first PGA TOUR victory for both Riley (NEW Pro V1) and Hardy (Pro V1x), who closed with a 7-under 65 in Sunday’s alternate shot format to overcome their three-shot deficit to start the day.
The duo combined for 12 birdies and an eagle over the two alternate-shot rounds, posting a Friday 66 to pair with their Sunday 65. During Thursday and Saturday’s foursomes format, Riley and Hardy turned in rounds of 64 and 63.
Two of the tour’s best ball strikers, Hardy currently ranks 11th in Strokes Gained: Approach, while Riley is 22nd. During Sunday’s final round, the duo converted six birdies from within 7 feet (3 ft 10 in, 3 ft 6 in, 1 ft 1 in, 6 ft 4 in, 2 in, 5 ft 8 in).
Davis Riley made the move to NEW Pro V1 earlier this season, putting the new model in play for the first time at The American Express. Riley had previously been playing Pro V1 Left Dot.
Riley on the transition to NEW Pro V1: “There were quite a few similarities between this and the Left Dot which I like so much, but I actually saw a big improvement with this ball – I was able to achieve a higher trajectory with the longer stuff like the long irons and woods, which is what you’re looking for coming into firm greens. I was able to get that with this ball and getting more trajectory for the right reasons. Not because it’s up-shooting because of more spin. This was higher launch, but maintaining a really good spin… where you hit it just how you want, and it comes out in that window and the wind just doesn't really touch it.
“I gained one or two more miles per hour ball speed, actually, opposed to the Left Dot with the driver, which was really cool to see. Also, that dispersion came in a little bit, so I was getting kind of the best of both worlds, and it was pretty hard not to put it in when I saw that.
“I’m a small drawer of the ball, so if I’m hitting in a left to right wind, I don’t like to see the ball start right and then the wind just destroy it right. But there were a couple times this off-season I hit the [’23 Pro V1], and it just held its line so nice. That draw just held up perfectly, and it didn’t get taken away by the wind or eaten up by the wind. Just seeing that level of consistency through the wind and staying in the air for that time was really cool to see.”
“Pro V1x, it just fits my game the best. I get the perfect amount of spin with my irons and driver. I love the softness around the greens, short game, the way it performs, even putting too.
“I’ve played Titleist my whole life since I was in high school, as early as I was a freshman, even before that. I’ve been playing just Titleist. It’s just the best ball in golf.”
In addition to their Titleist golf balls, Davis Riley and his partner both trusted Titleist for their driver, fairway, iron and wedge setup.
RILEY ON HIS TSR DRIVER: “The mishits are really good. I’m finding really consistent spin across the face no matter where I’m hitting it, so that you’re maxing out your carry numbers every time. It’s what you really want to look for. It's not how good your good hits are. It's like, how good are your bad hits? And just seeing that consistency across the face is really cool to see.
“I saw a few miles per hour jump in ball speed, which is great, and especially on those mishits, I wasn't seeing a drop in ball speed or distance. My tendency is kind of a left heel miss, and I saw the spin stay pretty consistent, so that was pretty nice to see how well it performed all across the face.”
RILEY ON HIS MIXED IRON SET: “Got a little bit of everything here, but in 4-iron, I carry the T100. It’s been great. I went with this model just because it’s always nice having a little extra forgiveness there in the longer irons. It’s been a good club to have to have that extra little forgiveness when you’ve got 220 over water into a par 5 or long par 4. So just looking down at that is really good.
“And then 5 and 6, I carry the CBs. Then again, just looking at something with a little bit more forgiveness than the longer clubs and love just the good classic look here of the CBs.
“Next, the lower irons. I carry MBs and 9-8-7. Really like these. I just love the performance of the MBs. It’s just the thinner sole. I can get through the rough a little bit better. I feel like the workability all them is really good. And when I need a knock down a 9-iron and shave 10 yards off of it, I feel like it's really good for that purpose and just the good classic love of a blade and the feel of it is pretty hard to beat.”
RILEY ON HIS PHANTOM X PUTTER: “The way it looks, all the square lines, I feel like it frames the ball really well and just everything sits super square. I've always been a big believer in that if you're really comfortable looking over it and everything feels square, it's just going to set up for good putting. So that's what I’ve done.”
Scott Gutschewski, playing a NEW Pro V1 Yellow golf ball, earned his third career Korn Ferry Tour victory after rolling in a long birdie putt on the first hole of a sudden-death playoff. Gutschewski carded a final round 3-under 68 to match the clubhouse lead at 21 under before making a three on his second go-around of the 480-yard par-4 18th. After this victory, Gutschewski is projected to move to No. 9 in the season-long Korn Ferry Tour Points List.
Eight of the top 11 finishers on Sunday’s final leader board teed up a Titleist Pro V1 or Pro V1x golf ball.
The winner of the LECOM Suncoast Classsic trusted Titleist for his driver and short-game setup, gaming a TSR3 9.0 driver, Vokey Design SM9 50.12F, 54.10S, SM7 60 wedges and a Scotty Cameron Phantom X 5.5 tour prototype putter.
He made the switch to the Phantom X 5.5 to start the season, using the mallet on Sunday to roll in the tournament-winning putt from off the green in extra holes. For the week, he ranked second in Putts per GIR (1.636).
“It feels great, it’s awesome, fun, it was a blast. Just putted out of my mind. Missed a short one on 8 today and yesterday, today for par, but other than that like I pretty much just made everything. It was kind of silly but it was fun, it was a blast. I’ve been working hard on my putting. Didn’t keep my card last year and kind of looked at where I was at and where I needed to improve. I needed to improve on my putting.”
NEW Titleist Pro V1 Yellow golf ball; TSR3 9.0 driver; U•500 4 utility iron; Vokey Design SM9 50.12F, 54.10S, SM7 60 wedges; Scotty Cameron Phantom X 5.5 tour prototype putter
Titleist Brand Ambassador Mac Meissner posted the round of the week – and his career-low – in Friday's second round with a 12-under 59, the first sub-60 score posted on the KFT since 2017.
Vokey Design SM9 46.10F, 52.12F, 56.14F, WedgeWorks 60T wedges | NS Pro Modus3 Tour 120 X-Flex Scotty Cameron Phantom X 9.5 tour prototype putter
Mark Hensby (Pro V1) made par on the fourth hole of a sudden-death playoff to earn his first career PGA TOUR Champions title. Playing in the penultimate group, Hensby made birdie on No. 18 in regulation to post 12 under and force extra holes. After an up-and-down to save par and extend the playoff on the first extra hole, the 51-year-old Australian made three more pars to outlast his opponent.