How did Britain's top golfers perform in 2018

2018 was another stellar year for Britain’s top professional golfers.

America continued to dominate at the Majors and World Golf Championships.

But they were run close by their British challengers.

Brooks Koepka may have finished the year as world No.1, but Justin Rose is now firmly in the driving seat after an outstanding 2018.

Rose clocked up the first win of his 20th professional year at the Fort Worth Invitational in May, finishing on 20 under, three shots ahead of Koepka, for his ninth PGA Tour title.

But he was unable to stop Koepka retaining his US Open title at Shinnecock Hills, New York, a month later after shooting a double bogey at the fourth on the final day.

Despite then putting himself in contention for the Claret Jug at the 147th Open at Carnoustie in July, Rose finished two shots behind winner Italian Francesco Molinari.

And although he lost in a play-off against Keegan Bradley in the BMW Championship in Newtown Square, Pennsylvania in September after missing a six-foot putt on the first extra hole, he still moved up to No.1.


Handsome pay day


Rose followed that up with being crowned the FedExCup Champion in the same month after finishing fourth in the Tour Championship at East Lake, Atlanta, netting £7.9 million in prize money – the biggest cheque in English golf history.

To cap off an excellent year, he then helped Europe to a famous Ryder Cup victory over America at Le Golf National in Paris in September.

Rory McIlroy, another Ryder Cup hero, was looking to put a disappointing 2017 season and a minor heart scare in the off-season behind him.

He started in strong form, finishing runner-up behind Li Haotong by one stroke at January’s Omega Dubai Desert Classic, but he will have been disappointed not to have won, having led by two with five holes to play.

In March, however, the Ulsterman went one better, winning the Arnold Palmer Invitational – his first victory since the 2016 Tour Championship.

Then, having been in contention going into the final round of the Masters in April, he missed out on the Green Jacket, finishing six shots behind surprise winner Patrick Reed, tied in fifth place.

However, McIlroy soon redeemed himself, tying for second with a final score of six under at the Open.



Flying start


Tommy Fleetwood got his 2018 campaign off to a flying start with victory in January’s Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship, holding off Ross Fisher by one shot after a final round 65 with six birdies in the last nine holes.

Despite being only the sixth golfer to shoot a 63 in US Open history, tying the championship’s single round record in the fourth round in June, he finished one stroke behind the victor Koepka.

In the Ryder Cup, Fleetwood teamed up with Molinari in the notorious ‘Moliwood’ partnership to become the first pair to win all four of their matches on their way to a comprehensive victory.

Paul Casey was another who made a return to form, winning March’s Valspar Championship in Florida – his first PGA Tour victory in nine years.

He was also named as a captain’s pick for Europe by Thomas Bjorn, going on to halve his singles match against Koepka.


Maiden victory


Eddie Pepperell finally opened his European Tour account on his 129th start after winning the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters in February by a single stroke over Oliver Fisher.

He doubled his tally with victory at the Sky Sports British Masters at Walton Heath Golf Club in October, shooting 72, which included an outrageous hole-in-one, to hold off the challenge of Alexander Bjork and climb to a career-best 33rd in the Official World Golf Ranking.

Ian Poulter also won his first stroke play tournament in the US and his third on the PGA Tour at the Houston Open in March after a dramatic sudden-death play-off against Beau Hossler.

Tyrrell Hatton finished a commendable 10th in the PGA Championship at Bellerive Country Club, Missouri in August, before helping Europe to Ryder Cup glory.

In the women’s game, Georgia Hall followed up her breakthrough year by becoming to the first English champion in 14 years with victory at the Women’s British Open at Royal Lytham & St Annes in August.

It was her first Major trophy, winning by two shots over Thailand’s Pornanong Phatlum after shooting a final round of 67.

The 22-year-old from Bournemouth also received the Ladies European Tour Order of Merit and the Ladies European Tour Player of the Year for the second consecutive year.