French takes out caddie of the year

Duncan French and Michelle Wie plot their way to another green.
RUSSELL CHEYNE

Duncan French and Michelle Wie plot their way to another green.

Former Marlburian Duncan French has been named HSBC Caddie of the Year for 2015.

The 26-year-old, who has been carrying Michelle Wie's clubs for the past two years, donned the winner's bib before the pair embarked on their final round in the HSBC Women's Champions at Sentosa on Sunday.

French and Wie did not enjoy the best of weeks in Singapore - she had rounds of 73, 70, 74 and 75 - but both their minds would have gone back to last year's US Open at Pinehurst. There, they combined spectacularly for Wie to win her first major as she finished two clear of Stacy Lewis.

"I think my caddie and I did a really good job," said Wie at the end of that championship.

"Except for the 16th, we stayed below the pin at every hole which was what we needed to do."

The 16th was a bit of a hiccup as Wie drove into long grass and there was trouble finding the ball.

French, however, did his stuff.

He found it in the worst of the rough and the two of them had no hesitation in declaring the missile unplayable. They went on to run up a double bogey, which player and caddie laughed off, and promptly made amends with a birdie at the 17th.

Winning caddies were to the fore on the final day of the HSBC Women's Champions in that the three leaders - Inbee Park, Lydia Ko and Lewis - each had a former winner of the HSBC Caddie of the Year award on the bag.

Brad Beecher won the award with Park in 2014; Travis Wilson won with Lewis in 2013; and Jason Hamilton, now on Ko's bag, won with Yani Tseng in 2012.

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In a recent interview with the Express French explained how the on-course relationship between he and Wie worked.

"I basically tell her how far we need to hit the shot and from there we will pick out a target . . . then she'll choose what club, adjusting the wind and the other elements to get a final number, and tell me what shot she wants to hit.

"Unless I completely disagree, that's it. You get as much say, or as little say as they are willing to give you basically."

But there have been times when the caddie has stepped in.

"If I completely disagree or I think something's better, for whatever reason, I will tell her why.

"She's the boss, she makes the final call.

"But when you are playing, you don't always see every option - there might be a better option. That's basically what you're there for."

 - The Marlborough Express

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