Scottie Scheffler’s miss, Nelly Korda’s croissant, an ‘icy’ staredown | Monday Finish

Alejandro Tosti, Tony Finau, Nelly Korda, Stephan Jaeger and Scottie Scheffler (L-R).

Alejandro Tosti, Tony Finau, Nelly Korda, Stephan Jaeger and Scottie Scheffler (L-R).

Getty Images

Welcome back to the Monday Finish, where we have won [sigh] zero events in a row. To the golf news!


Road snacks.

After last week’s win at the Seri Pak Championship, Nelly Korda celebrated California-style. “A nice In-N-Out burger and Animal Fries,” she said with a smile. It wasn’t a particularly glamorous dinner — the burger stop came as she and fellow pro Olivia Cowan were splitting the six-hour drive to Gilbert, Ariz., for this week’s Ford Championship — but it did the trick.

It was a reminder of the realities of golf on the road. A reminder that there’s golf, and there’s the road. Greatness requires mastery of the former and, at the very least, adaptation to the latter. But it seems like Korda has embraced the road-trip piece of the job. Every six-hour drive requires a tasty stop.

Over the next week Korda demonstrated, once again, why she is the best player on the LPGA Tour. She hung around contention for three days, shooting 66-68-69 to stay near the top of a crowded leaderboard, but entering Sunday she was still a 10-1 longshot to pull off her third win in three starts. Rain came, and temperatures dropped, and Korda went to work. Birdies at 5 and 6. Birdie at 9. One shot back. Birdies at 12 and 13. Birdie at 16. In the lead. She added a birdie at 18 for good measure. Korda tallied up her card, a bogey-free seven-under 65. She waited in the clubhouse — with a warm bowl of soup — as the final groups came in. Before long it was official: she’d secured the first three-peat on the LPGA Tour since 2016, won her 11th career LPGA title and opened up an even wider gap between herself and World No. 2.

“I think it was definitely one of my least stressful wins,” Korda admitted post-round.

And then she revealed what was next: A five-hour drive to Las Vegas for next week’s event. So…

“In-N-Out is closed today,” she said. “Easter Sunday.”

Luckily she’d made alternate plans.

“Actually I went to a coffee shop this morning and their baked goods looked really good and I got myself an almond croissant for the road. I’m thinking about that and that’s making me very happy,” she said.

Every drive feels better with a snack in your hand and a win in your pocket. Or so I’d imagine.


Stephan Jaeger and things working out.

Stephan Jaeger has three ball markers in his golf bag, he said, that his wife made for him. One is his son, Fritz. The second is his dog, Phil. And the third is his father, Klaus.

Jaeger lost his father the week of the 2022 Players Championship. His parents had introduced him to golf back home in Germany, where he remembers riding in the cart as a kid and, eventually, deciding to try it out himself. Three decades later, he described losing his father as “the low part of my life.” He wasn’t playing well. He had a tough time leaving golf at the course; bad rounds would follow him home, reinforcing a vicious cycle of negativity. That’s still a work in progress, he admitted. Golf can wear on you.

When Jaeger himself became a father some 16 months ago, something changed. Not everything. But he placed a little more emphasis on separation.

“You still have a family to come back to, they still love you and there’s worse things in golf than not winning a golf tournament or missing the cut,” he said.

It helped that Jaeger was playing well. That always helps. He racked up made cuts and top 20s. He made the FedEx Cup Playoffs. He fell just shy of the Tour’s all-important top 50, but still — this was progress. His 2024 season got off to a promising start, too, with bronze-medal finishes at Torrey Pines and in Mexico. And despite two missed cuts in three starts (a rarity) heading into this week, Jaeger found something special.

Back to the ball markers. “I always pull them out before the round. Whoever I pull out, that’s the one I use for the day,” he said. The first three days in Houston he picked Fritz’s coin. The final day? Papa Klaus. That’s who would join him in his fight against playing partner Scottie Scheffler, the dominant World No. 1 chasing his third consecutive victory.

“I just kind of smiled,” Jaeger said. “That was my good omen for the day, for sure.”

Jaeger holed a bunch of clutch putts on Sunday, including a massive 20-footer for par on No. 13. He gained strokes on the greens every day. He finished No. 3 in the field in putting. Ultimately it was a missed putt from Scheffler — a five-footer at the last that would have forced a playoff — that secured the first PGA Tour title of Jaeger’s career. His dad, he said, would be “rolling over right now, happy.”

The thing about Jaeger’s three options being his son, his dog and his dad is that he only has good choices. Every omen is a good one. But there was something special about bringing a little piece of his father with him on the day he broke through.

More good news: His mother is coming over next week to visit. They’ll be able to celebrate with her, too.

“I always say winning golf tournaments is not going to make us happy, but it sure as hell feels really good,” Jaeger said. “That feeling we chase for a lot of times over our careers. To be able to share that with the most important people in your world is amazing.”


Who won the week?

Nelly Korda‘s win has opened up a massive gap — 9.48 to 6.59 — between her and World No. 2 Lilia Vu. That’s not quite Scottie Scheffler-level, but it’s getting closer.

Stephan Jaeger‘s win elevates him to World No. 43, it gets him into the Signature Events the rest of the season, it makes him the fourth-highest-ranked German of all time and it gets him a Masters invite. Decent haul.

Keita Nakajima won the Hero Indian Open in dominant fashion — wire-to-wire and by four shots — to claim his first title on the DP World Tour. That’s big news because Nakajima, 23, was the top-ranked amateur in the world for a record 87 weeks before turning pro in 2022; he’s still working to live up to those massive expectations. But now he’s coming off a 2023 season in which he won the Japan Golf Tour’s Order of Merit and earned his DP World Tour card. Now he’s making good use of that card.

Mariajo Uribe became the first Colombian player to win on the Ladies European Tour thanks to a final-hole birdie to edge out Bronte Law at the Women’s NSW Open. The 34-year-old has Paris in her sights; she’s eager to represent her home nation for the third Olympics in a row.

And Retief Goosen won the Galleri Classic on the PGA Tour Champions, holding off three challengers by a single shot.


Scottie missed — but he wasn’t the only one.

When Scottie Scheffler won the Players Championship, a couple things needed to go his way to get across the line. Two stood out: There was his hole-out eagle, which came from 92 yards on the fourth hole Sunday. And there was Wyndham Clark‘s hard lipout on the 18th green with a putt that would have forced a playoff. That’s not to take anything away from Scheffler’s victory; it’s just to emphasize the fine line between 64 and 65 and the fine line between a lip-in and a lip-out and the fine line between first and second place.

This week Scheffler chased his third consecutive win and got about as close as you can to winning without doing so. But this time a few things needed to go against him to give everyone else a chance. There was the five-footer he missed on the 72nd hole that would have forced a playoff. And there was the three-putt from five feet (including a missed tap-in) on Friday which led to double bogey. But there was also a shot on Saturday that Scheffler — never one for excuses — couldn’t make sense of. It came at the short par-3 15th; Scheffler landed his wedge shot close to the hole only to see it spin off and into the water.

“It’s hard to say. Like, that one there, it’s a horrendous break, really. There’s really just nothing else. I hit a great shot and the ball goes in the water. It’s not great, but it happens, it’s part of the game,” he said. “I always talk about my process and that’s a shot there where I did exactly what I wanted to do and I just got unlucky. As long as my process is good, then I’m in a good spot.”

That sounds like a man who didn’t lose any confidence with that double bogey. He bounced back with birdies at the next two holes and showed up to fight on Sunday, too. When he stuffed his approach shot to five feet at No. 18, that feeling of Scheffler inevitability returned. But then the putt wiggled wide.

“I’ll move on as quickly as possible,” Scheffler said. “Obviously I’m a bit disappointed right now. At the end of the day it would be one thing if I pulled it or something like that. I just misread it. I don’t know why I misread it, it’s part of the game. Maybe I could have hit it with some more speed, I felt like I hit a nice putt kind of how I wanted to, just didn’t go.”

Just didn’t go.

Scheffler wasn’t alone in feeling that way. A five-way tie for second place meant that four other players left the course thinking about how they could have clawed back an extra shot, too.

There was Tony Finau, who was dismayed as he came off No. 18 still thinking about a missed two-and-a-half footer at No. 16.

“Missed a short one on 16 that hopefully’s not going to cost me the tournament. Still a little bit shaken by that,” he said.

There was Thomas Detry, who was dismayed by near-misses down the stretch.

“To be honest, I don’t really know what else I could have done,” he said. “I hit some amazing putts on 16 and 17, I hit them straight down my line. The wind started picking up down the stretch and just wobbled a little bit right on 16 and same on 17. The speed, it took the lip of the hole there, it was pretty brutal.”

And there was Alejandro Tosti, who was the tournament co-leader until he bogeyed the 18th hole but left feeling like it was a “great day” after his best career PGA Tour result.

“I dream about this, having this opportunity like today,” he said. “It was of course the first [time] and I know that I’m going to have revenge and I’m going to be in this position many times.”

That’s a good way to leave a T2, thinking about what will be rather than what could have been. But this is golf; what could have been is impossible to resist.


Wait, Tony Finau was mad?

Alejandro Tosti in contention meant something else: further scrutiny on the top talent and volatile personality that make up the PGA Tour rookie. Last summer, Tosti was forced to withdraw from the KFT’s Boise Open after the first round by the PGA Tour for a “disciplinary matter.” That’s a rare suspension. But over the weekend he did something I’d argue he did something even less likely: he upset Tony Finau.

The tension began at No. 4 on Saturday when the playing partners had a dispute over who was away on the green. Detry, the group’s third player, helped confirm that Tosti was away. But Tosti appeared displeased by that decision and sat behind his ball for more than a minute before renewing the discussion and ultimately getting Finau to move his mark.

Alejandro Tosti and Tony Finau on No. 4 green at the Houston Open. Joe Scarnici/Getty Images

That was just the beginning. Both players made par on No. 4, but when Tosti made birdie on the next hole he fist-pumped in close proximity to Finau. We’ll let NBC’s John Wood chime in from the broadcast:

“Back on 5 after their first confrontation on 4, when he made that birdie putt, he was pretty close to Tony and he just gave it two big fist-pumps,” Wood said. “There is no love lost.”

On No. 6 there was another dispute about who was away. Again it was Tosti. And again Tosti seemed less than pleased.

“You can cut the tension with a knife between Finau and Tosti right now,” Wood said. “Tony just pointed at him and walked away. Tosti kind of smiled as if to say ‘You’re kidding right?’ It’s just completely icy. It is not comfortable between those two at all. It’s just tension.”

It’s not clear whether the two cleared the air; neither addressed the incidents post-round. And Tosti has made it clear that he’s “not out here to make friends.” That may not make him everyone’s favorite — but it sure doesn’t hurt the PGA Tour to have a character who’s here to spice things up. Excited for more Tosti.


Monday Finish HQ.

I knew having a baby would mean playing less golf. I didn’t quite anticipate the ways in which it would break me down physically. The baby has decided she would prefer to be carried at basically all times, and eventually she gets her way, so I feel like I’m working on baby-related thumb, wrist and back injuries. Luckily she is very cute.


3 things to watch this week.

1. Four-peat?

If Nelly Korda is going to win her fourth consecutive LPGA Tour start she’ll do so via a new format: this week’s T-Mobile Match Play at Shadow Creek in Las Vegas features three rounds of stroke play golf that’ll cut to eight players who will then battle it out bracket-style over the weekend, with quarter and semifinals on Saturday and the final on Sunday.

2. Texas tune-up?

This week’s Valero Texas Open has a remarkably strong field. How strong? It should be the strongest non-Signature event in 2024, edging out the WM Phoenix Open. That means Rory McIlroy, Ludvig Aberg, Jordan Spieth, Max Homa, Hideki Matsuyama, Tommy Fleetwood and a deep field of fellow pros hoping to dial in their games pre-Masters.

3. Florida tune-up?

There will also be a dozen or so LIV players tuning up for their Masters with a start at Trump Doral this week. Last year, Brooks Koepka won LIV’s Orlando event before going on to nearly win the Masters. Should we expect similar signs of form from Koepka this year — or perhaps from other recent green-jacket winners like Jon Rahm or Dustin Johnson?

We’ll know more when we report back next week.

Dylan welcomes your comments at

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