Justin Thomas wins the CJ Cup

Justin Thomas wins the CJ Cup

Justin ThomasJeju Island, South Korea – After an incredible season that saw Justin Thomas win the PGA Championship, Fedex Cup and Player of the Year honors, Thomas has kept the hot hand rolling – wininng again, this time at the CJ Cup – South Korea’s first ever PGA Tour regular season event. The victory in sudden death over Australia’s Marc Leishman is the seventh of his young career.

After his ninth event in the last eleven weeks, an exhausted Thomas is looking forward to getting home to Jupiter, “I’m so excited to not do anything,” Thomas declared. “I officially have nothing left in the tank at this moment.”

Justin Thomas leaped out the gates in round 1 firing a 9 under 63, then shot rounds of 74-70-72 under challenging conditions (with temps in the low 60’s and winds gusting around 25 mph on Jeju Island). Thomas birdied the last to reach the playoff, then won on the 2nd sudden death hole after Leishman missed a very makable birdie putt to win on the first sudden death hole.

Leishman knew that he missed a golden opportunity, “You give one of the best players in the world a chance like that, and he’s probably going to take it.”

Last week’s winner, Pat Perez finished tied for 5th after posting the low round on Sunday with 68 and finishing at 5 under par.

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

 

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Jason  Bruno
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Pat Perez wins the CIMB Classic

Pat Perez wins the CIMB Classic

Pat Perez

Malaysia – 41 year old California native Pat Perez just keeps getting better despite the tour trend of young gun dominance. Perez blitzed the field at the CIMB Classic firing rounds of 66-65-64-69 for a 24 under par total at TPC Kuala Lumpur, for a four shot victory over Keegan Bradley, (who notched his best finish since the 2014 Arnold Palmer Invitational). After just one victory in his first 378 starts, he now has two wins in his last 25 starts.

After a torn labrum and surgery threatened to end his career 18 months ago, Perez has taken his self proclaimed late to mature mantra to new heights.

Coming off of his finest season on the PGA Tour (Perez played in his first Tour Championship – finishing 15th on the money list) it’s highly unlikely to have your best years on tour after age 40, and Perez is aware but not sure of exactly why it’s happening now. “I can’t really explain it, it’s been a lot of work and dedication,” Perez said. “I knew I had to stay on the gas here (today) because these guys are playing so good, I was expecting someone to shoot 63 . . . I’m just such a different person than I was seventeen years ago, even like five years ago. I’m learning how to play the game and play my own game, staying within myself. I’m a late bloomer. I’m not gonna change anything. I’m still not going to work out, I’m still gonna have a bad diet and enjoy myself.”

Rookie of the Year Xander Schauffele finished tied for third with Sung Kang seven shots back at 17 under par.

Scores: https://www.pgatour.com/competition/2018/cimb- classic/leaderboard.html

 

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Jason  Bruno
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Brendan Steele defends title at Safeway Open

Brendan Steele defends title at Safeway Open

Brendan Steele

Napa, California – They often say “Horses for Courses” when discussing a certain players knack for winning on certain venues. This past week in the global game of golf, that phrase held true. Earlier in the day, Tyrell Hatton defended his Alfred Dunhill Links Championship with a blistering 24 under par total in chilly conditions at the home of golf in St.Andrews. In the Golden State, it was Brendan Steele that turned the trick half a world away at Johnny Miller’s Silverado Resort in Napa.

With Phil Mickelson and Tony Finau pushing the pedal down on the back nine, Steele finished off his challengers with a combination of superb ball striking and a soft touch down the stretch birdieing both the 16th & 18th holes coming in. After starting the day two shots back, Steele had one of only seven rounds in the 60’s on Sunday, his final round 69 was good enough for 15 under par and a two stroke victory over Tony Finau. Mickelson, who was determined in his quest to win for the first time since the 2013 Open at Muirfield, bogeyed the par 4 seventeenth to finish another back at 12 under par in a tie with Chesson Hadley for third.

Afterward, Steele reflected on his lackluster finish to last season, entering the playoffs in the 16th position he failed to make it to East Lake, finishing 33rd in points, “I wasn’t trying to win. I wasn’t trying to play my best. I was just trying to get whatever points I could . . . and I played right to that level where you could barely miss.

As for Phil, who seems to be trending in the right direction but is still searching for the elusive next victory – “I’m going to keep giving myself good chances, and it will happen,” Lefty said. “I get on a course like Sheshan (referring to his next start in China) where I’m very comfortable, I know the greens. I know the course well. I think I’ll have a good week there.”

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

 

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Jason  Bruno
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2017 Presidents Cup

2017 Presidents Cup

Presidents Cup

Jersey City, N.J – The 2017 edition of the Presidents Cup was lopsided in favor of the Red, White & Blue from the outset on Thursday, with the focus shifting quickly to just how dominant the U.S victory would be, rather than the competition with the Internationals.

The setting at Liberty National Golf Club which is loaded with panoramic views of Manhattan and iconic American landmarks like Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty set the tone for a very patriotic atmosphere for the biennial matches. Although a rout of epic proportions was on, the Internationals did show their pride on Sunday, winning the singles competition by a tally of 7 1/2 to 4 1/2. Only Phil Mickelson, Daniel Berger and Rickie Fowler won their singles matches on the way to an 8 point triumph, USA 19 – Internationals 11.

It was Berger who clinched the winning point and the Presidents Cup for the United States by defeating Si Woo Kim 2&1, which was the 4th singles match out on Sunday (making it the second fastest clinch in the events history).

Presidents Cup

Phil Mickelson and Rickie Fowler celebrate with fans on Saturday afternoon.

Three Americans were undefeated for the week: Dustin Johnson 4.5 points, Phil Mickelson 3.5 points and Kevin Kisner 3 points. The only player on Team USA with a losing record was Charley Hoffman.

USA Team Captain Steve Stricker reflected on the week, “It’s been a great ride, it’s been a lot of hardwork from everybody involved – the players, the assistant captains, it was just a great group of guys who played so well together, said Stricker. “They came in here riding a ton of momentum, a ton of confidence and it was just about getting out of their way.”

In the end, the only star that shined brighter than “Team Stars and Stripes” was the New York City skyline, Lady Liberty and the club at Liberty National.

Kudos to the PGA Tour, and Presidents Cup Chairman Charlie Zink for bringing the event to such a memorable venue.

The win was the seventh straight Presidents Cup for the Americans. It was the third and final captains appearance for Nick Price of the International squad.

The 2019 matches will take place at Royal Melbourne in Australia.

Results: https://www.presidentscup.com/leaderboard.html

 

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Jason  Bruno
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Justin Thomas wins the FedEx Cup

Justin Thomas wins the FedEx Cup

 

Justin Thomas

Justin Thomas celebrates with the Fedex Cup, while Xander Shauffele holds the Bobby Jones putter “Calamity Jane” replica for winning the Tour Championship

 

Atlanta, Georgia – Sunday at the PGA Tour’s season finale at East Lake, the leaders in the final pairing struggled. Paul Casey and Kevin Kisner could only manage 73 and 70 respectively. Meanwhile, one of the Fedex Cup front runners – Justin Thomas was looking to grab the season long title and began charging up the board after starting the day five shots back. Rookie Xander Schauffele who started the day just two shots back, made the the turn at even for the round, but after birdies at the thirteenth and eighteenth the 23 year old rookie found himself at 12 under par – walking away with a one shot victory over Thomas at the Tour Championship. Schauffele most certainly will take PGA Tour Rookie of the Year honors. Thomas by virtue of his 2nd place finish is the 2017 Fedex Cup Champion.

Jordan Spieth, who for most of the playoffs held the pole position, could only manage a tie for seventh after shooting 67 on Sunday.

Justin Thomas came out on a mission Sunday, included in his five birdies were the two he made at the sixteenth & seventeenth that sealed the deal as the season long Champion and the $10 million payday that comes with winning the Fedex Cup title.

Thomas’ 66 Sunday at East Lake was nearly good enough for a playoff with Xander, but his birdie putt on the last just slipped by, but it was a dream season for the 24 year old from Goshen, Kentucky.

At his post round press conference he took out his cell phone and showed the media his personal set of goals for the year. Winning the Fedex Cup wasn’t on his list because he realized the difficulty of the task, but when did he know that the season could be a special one? “After Sony is when I felt like it had the chance because of the three different ways that I won,” Thomas said. “I was able to experience three things that I hadn’t experienced before.”

Sure to be named Player of the Year honors, his season included:

– Led the PGA Tour with 5 wins, including the PGA Championship

– 4th player in last 57 years to win 5 times in a season including a major

(Nicklaus, Woods, Spieth)

– Lowest round to par in U.S Open history.

– Lowest 72 hole score in PGA Tour history

– 7th player in PGA Tour history to shoot sub 60 round

– Fedex Cup Champion

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

 

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Jason  Bruno
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Marc Leishman wins BMW Championship

Marc Leishman wins BMW Championship

Marc Leishman

Chicago, Illinois – After a tough finish in Boston a few weeks earlier at the Dell Technologies Championship, Marc Leishman was intent on finishing off what he had started at the BMW Championship at Conway Farms. The 33 year old Aussie did just that, with a virtuoso performance – going wire to wire and dominating the field of top 70 in the Fedex Cup Standings.

With rounds of 62-64-68-67 (23 under par) Marc Leishman eclipsed Tiger Woods tournament scoring record and really never allowed a challenger to get close on Sunday. Justin Rose briefly got to within two shots midway thru the final round, but Leishman answered with birdies at the eighth, fifteenth, sixteenth and just for style a nice 15 footer on the last for the five stroke victory over Rose (who shot a final round 65). “I had a few scars from a few weeks ago,” Leishman said. “I was just really, really determined to not let that happen again. Got it done.”

Perhaps a much more meaningful story as it relates to the Leishman family is not golf related. Along with his wife Audrey, (who nearly died of sepsis just two years ago), the couple has led the cause for National Sepsis Month to spread awareness about a disease that is estimated to kill nearly quarter of a million people each year in the United States. Their Begin Again Foundation, helps families affected by sepsis and toxic shock syndrome. In July, Audrey gave birth to the couple’s third child, Eva, whom they call their “miracle baby.”

With his final round 65 and a tie for 7th, Jordan Spieth retains his lead atop the Fedex Cup standings heading into East Lake for the Tour Championship.

Justin Thomas, Dustin Johnson, Leishman and Jon Rahm round out the top 5 players who will automatically win the Fedex Cup with a win in Atlanta.

Scores: http://www.pgatour.com/ competition/2017/bmw- championship/leaderboard.html

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Jason  Bruno
LinksNation.com & GolfLife.com

 

 

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