Justin Thomas wins PGA Championship

Justin Thomas wins PGA Championship

Justin Thomas

Charlotte, North Carolina – Justin Thomas fired a final round 68 to win the 99th PGA Championship at Quail Hollow for his first career major championship. Entering the final round two shots back, Thomas made a back nine run that started with his birdie putt on the tenth that hung over the lip of the hole for just about 10 seconds before it finally dropped. At the thirteenth, he chipped in from 13 yards away to increase his lead to two shots. After a striped 7 iron on the par 3 – seventeenth, he buried a 15 ft putt to reach 9 under par and all but put away the battle for the Wannamaker. An errant drive at the last cost him a shot, but not the victory, he finished at 8 under par winning by two shots.

Quail Hollow proved to be a stern test despite plenty of rain that made conditions much softer tee to green than Kerry Haig and the PGA were looking for, but the new greens at Quail Hollow that are equipped with Sub-Air, kept the putting surfaces firm and and fast throughout the week. Finally, over the weekend the weather in the Queen City cooperated and the field staff set up the course for some Sunday scoring (with 25 players shooting under par rounds, 15 of those were in the 60’s).

Afterwards the new PGA Champion spoke to the media “I can’t put into words, I wish my Grandpa could be here for it, it’s so special to get it done. I’m glad we have a trophy now”

Challengers Hideki Matsuyama (who shot a final round 73), and 54 hole leader Kevin Kisner (74) fell off the pace early on the back nine, but a new group of players joined the fray late Sunday – Francesco Molinari and Patrick Reed both fired 4 under par 67 to tie for second with Louis Oosthuizen who shot 70. The runner up finish for Oosthuizen marked his fourth runner up finish in a each of the 4 majors for his career, (he referred to it as the “Runner-up Grand Slam”).

In winning the PGA Championship, Justin Thomas became the eighth player in history to do so as the son of a PGA Professional. Justin’s father Mike is a PGA Master Professional at Harmony Landing Golf Course in Goshen, Kentucky. His Grandfather Paul, is a retired PGA professional who has been a member since 1956.

Scores: https://www.pga.com/ events/pgachampionship/ leaderboard

 

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Jason  Bruno
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Hideki Matsuyama wins WGC Bridgestone Invitational

Hideki Matsuyama wins WGC Bridgestone Invitational

Hideki Matsuyama

Akron, Ohio – Hideki Matsuyama fired a final round 9 under par – 61 winning the WGC Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club in grand style. The 25 year old from Japan started hot on Sunday and never let up, his clean card included an eagle at the par 5 – 2nd, then birdies at the 3rd, 4th, 9th, 13th, 16th, 17th and 18th. Matsuyama began the day two strokes back, but won going away with a decisive 5 shot margin – finishing at 16 under par.

Hideki’s 61 tied the course record held by Jose Maria Olazabal (1999) and Tiger Woods (who did it twice – first back in 2000 when the event was still the World Series of Golf and then in 2013). Sergio Garcia was the last to do it in 2014. The victory was Matsuyama’s second WGC victory (he won the HSBC Champions last fall in Shanghai, China). With the win,Hideki Matsuyama takes over the lead in the Fedex Cup standings and looks to be one of the favorites going into the PGA Championship this week at Quail Hollow.

In response to persistent expectations and pressure from a nation that is desperate to have their first major champion, Matsuyama is well aware of Japan’s hunger: “I hope their expectations aren’t too high,” Matsuyama said. “But my expectations really at the beginning of this week weren’t that high either, and here we are.”

Dustin Johnson and Matsuyama have now combined to win the last five WGC events.

54 hole leader Zach Johnson shot 68 to finish solo second at -11.

Scores: http://www.pgatour.com/leaderboard.html

 

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Jason  Bruno
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Jhonattan Vegas wins at Glen Abbey

Jhonattan Vegas wins at Glen Abbey

Jhonattan Vegas

 

Oakville, Ontario – Jhonattan Vegas once again showed his affinity for the layout at Glen Abbey, firing a final round 65 and defeating Charley Hoffman in sudden death to capture back to back RBC Canadian Open titles (and his third PGA Tour win).

Jhonattan Vegas watched as Charley Hoffman had a putt to win on the 72nd hole, but it just slid by. All knotted at 21 under par, the duo returned to the 18th tee box for sudden death. In the playoff, Charley Hoffman teed off first – blocking his drive into the right fairway bunker. Vegas pulled his tee shot into the left sand, but he had a much better angle to the green. Hoffman laid up into the first cut on the left. Jhonattan Vegas went for the green, but the shot came in hot and ran through the green, ending up just left about pin high in the rough approximately 30 feet away from the hole. Hoffman’s wedge approach sailed deep into the back green side bunker. Vegas hit a superb chip to about a foot and tapped in for his birdie. Needing to hole out to extend the playoff, Hoffman gave it a run, but came up empty.

“I would say it has to be the sweetest victory out of the three. Just having my family here, even my Mom and Dad – they were with me the first time I won. But having my wife and daughter, especially my daughter, being with my daughter for the first win, it’s hard to compare that. It’s hard to put into words,” said Vegas.

A resurgent Ian Poulter shot a final round 64 to finish third at 20 under par.

World No.1 Dustin Johnson finished tied for eighth after a final round 67 to finish at -17.

Scores: http://www.pgatour. com/leaderboard.html

 

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Jason  Bruno
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Jordan Spieth Wins the 146th Open Championship

Jordan Spieth Wins the 146th Open Championship

Jordan Spieth Wins the 146th Open Championship

Southport, England – As if last year’s Open Championship at Royal Troon (where Phil battled Henrik in an epic duel) wasn’t an instant classic, we were once again treated to high drama and a championship worthy of the game’s best prize. This was another edition of a special player doing extraordinary things to win a major championship and re-write history. Leading since the opening round of the 146th Open Championship at Royal Birkdale, Jordan Spieth’s path to win his third career major championship seemed as if it was being forged by destiny.

But a brutal beginning to Game #39 tested Spieth’s mettle, a bad bounce on the opening tee shot prompted caddie Michael Greller to set the tone early with a gut check to his boss telling him to “get over it”. Despite the sage advice, bogeys on 3 of the first 4 holes looked to be derailing destiny’s plan. That and Solid play by fellow American challenger Matt Kuchar brought the tilt to a dead heat by the turn (at 8 under par).

What became a classic “mano a mano” duel on the English links remained knotted until Spieth sprayed his tee shot 70 yards right of the fairway on the par 4 – thirteenth requiring a bizarre unplayable situation that took nearly 20 minutes to get settled. When the dust cleared, Spieth holed a 7 footer for a miracle bogey.

Kuchar made a routine par, and for the first time in the championship – had the lead. But somehow it wasn’t the 39 year old who had the mojo, it was Jordan Spieth that gained the momentum and a mental edge. You could practically sense what was coming next. Kuchar safely hit the green on the par 3 fourteenth, but faced a lengthy putt, Spieth seized the moment and nearly aced his 6 iron, leaving nothing more than a tap in. Kuchar made his par, while Spieth converted the birdie and once again shared a piece of the lead. On the par 5 fifteenth, Jordan made two of his best swings of the day reaching the green in two, then draining the 45 foot bomb for eagle (kuchar made birdie) – once again gaining his grasp on the Claret Jug. He never let Kuch back up for air, that 3 hole stretch of made putts was the haymaker.

In fact, the 23 year old Texan played that stretch of four holes (14-17) in 5 under par to ending Kuchar’s major championship dream. Spieth’s -12 (268 total) was good enough for a three shot victory (Kuchar bogeyed the last to finish at 9 under par).

Afterward, a tired “Champion Golfer of the Year” reflected on the crazy drama filled day at Royal Birkdale: “That was eventful, seventeen pars and a birdie would have been fine too. There’s a lot of roads to get there, and today I was put in a tough one early on and showed some resiliency,” Spieth said. “I owe a lot of credit to my guy on the bag for that because as you can imagine thoughts come in from the last scenario from when I was leading a major on Sunday.” In the middle of his his winners press conference he sighed and said “That round took as much out of me as any day that I’ve ever played golf.”

Jack Nicklaus is the only other player in history to win his third major championship before the age of 24 (Spieth turns 24 on Wednesday).

China’s Haotong Li shot 63 on Sunday to finish solo third. Rory McIlroy showed signs of improved form with rounds of 71-68-69-67 to finish fourth at 5 under par. Branden Grace shot 62 on Saturday breaking the all-time scoring record for a round in a major championship, he finished tied for sixth at 4 under par.

Jordan Spieth goes to Quail Hollow in three weeks attempting to win the career Grand Slam (a feat only accomplished by Nicklaus, Hogan, Sarazen, Player and Woods).

Scores: https://www.theopen. com/Leaderboard#!/traditional

 

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Jason  Bruno
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Bryson DeChambeau wins the John Deere Classic

Bryson DeChambeau wins the John Deere Classic

Bryson DeChambeau

Silvis, Illinois – Bryson DeChambeau been called all kinds of things by his doubters and detractors over the last few years (for his scientific methods and highly analytical approach to the game) since gaining notoriety after winning the NCAA individual title and the U.S Amateur in 2015, but now he will be known as a PGA Tour winner after a thrilling back nine Sunday charge at TPC Deere Run. 

When Patrick Rodgers birdied the par 4 – 15th, he seemed poised to notch win No.1 of his own, but he struggled coming down the stretch just as Bryson DeChambeau was putting the finishing touches on a ferocious back nine charge. Needing birdie on the last two holes (or so he thought) to likely reach a playoff, the 23 year old former SMU standout hit an incredible 3 wood from an awkward lie in the rough from 270 yards out – reaching the putting surface and two putting for his birdie on the penultimate hole. On the last, he admitted to pulling his 7 iron approach slightly but a great result left him 14 feet behind the cup. The putt curled in on what seemed like its last revolution – causing the crowd surrounding the green to erupt. A closing back nine 30, for a final round 65 to reach 18 under par – not bad for an unorthodox kid from Clovis, California Rodgers bogeyed the par 5 – 17th just as the “Mad Scientist” made his final charge.

Then needing birdie at the last, he failed to hit the fairway or the green. His chip to tie settled just a few inches away – coming up one stroke shy of his former college rival.

Bryson DeChambeau

 

DeChambeau moved to 34th in the Fedex Cup standings with the victory, but perhaps more importantly, is the schedule of tournaments he will now be exempt for – starting immediately with a flight across the pond for entry into the 146th Open Championship at Royal Birkdale.

Dechambeau is a big admirer of the late Payne Stewart and reflected afterward about having something in common with the iconic individual who won three major champion- ships: “It feels like it has been a long time coming even though I’m only 23. It’s pretty special to win here at the John Deere, didn’t know that Payne Stewart’s first win was here and that broke me – It was pretty special. So God bless him, he’s done some amazing things for the game of golf and I hope I can do something similar down the road.”

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Jason  Bruno
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Xander Schauffele captures first PGA Tour Victory

Xander Schauffele captures first PGA Tour Victory

Xander Schauffele

 

White Sulfur Springs, West Virginia – PGA Tour rookie Xander Schauffele who showed the golf world what he was capable of at Erin Hills (finishing in a tie for fifth at the U.S Open three weeks earlier), made birdie on the 72nd Hole to capture his first PGA Tour victory at C.B McDonald’s Greenbrier Old White Course.

Schauffele’s pitching wedge to 3 feet on the last got him into the clubhouse at 14 under par after a final round 67. Then all he could do is wait as Robert Streb (69) and 54 hole leader Sebastian Munoz attempted to better or tie the mark. Streb came the closest – finishing one shot back (notching his second straight runner up finish on the Old White Course). Jamie Lovemark (69) and Munoz finished at 12 under par tied for third.

The 2017 event was truly a dedication to the people of West Virginia and their remarkable recovery following last summer’s catastrophic floods that devastated the region and destroyed much of the resort and it’s neighboring town of White Sulphur Springs. As a result, the 2016 event was cancelled and it appeared unlikely that the facility would be ready for this year, but Governor and Greenbrier owner Jim Justice rallied the community and provided the necessary resources to get it done in time for the world’s best players.

In response to his final swing from 162 yards (wedge), the 23 year old former All-American from San Diego State said: “That birdie on 18 is not one that’s going to come along very often, so I’m just very fortunate to do it.”

Schauffele, Streb, Lovemark and Munoz all qualified for The Open Championship at Royal Birkdale by virtue of their finish at the Greenbrier.

Scores: http://www.pgatour.com/leaderboard.html

 

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Jason  Bruno
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