A collection of golf news, thoughts and notes from the week which saw Dustin Johnson win the first event of the US PGA Tour’s season-ending FedEx Cup playoffs. Johnson saw off the challenge of Jordan Spieth whilst another ‘JS’ won with American Julian Suri claiming his first European Tour event. In Canada maiden major winner this year Sung Hyung Park won again in her LPGA rookie season.
Dustin Johnson won his fourth tournament of 2017 and fifth in 12 months when he edged Jordan Spieth on the first playoff hole at the Glen Oaks course in Old Westbury to win the Northern Trust but early in the final round that result looked unlikely. Already leading overnight by three strokes Spieth knocked in two birdies in the first five holes to give himself a five stroke lead but that evaporated after a double bogey at the sixth when he found water. Flash forward to the 18th (72nd hole) and Johnsons’ clutch putt forced a playoff before a great approach on the 18th (which was the first playoff hole) set up Johnson’s winning birdie.
Park, 23 – there’s the that 23/24 age bracket again, won by two strokes from fellow South Korean Mirim Lee in Ottawa to claim the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open for her second title on the LPGA Tour after firing a closing round of seven under which was the best of the day. Park won the Women’s US Open last month in in New Jersey and it’s worth noting in 2016 she was second in the Evian Championship with that major only two week’s away. Park is on track to finish with a terrific rookie season.
Duke University graduate Suri won the Made in Denmark in Himmerland with a similarly impressive final round to Park’s in Canada as the American also shot seven under with his final round score of 64 seeing him finish four strokes clear of England David Horsey- who triple-bogeyed his final hole. Suri, 26, is now on the verge of cracking the top 100 with his victory moving him from 208 to 109 in the rankings. This time last year he was playing Challenge Tour events and was ranked 1499 so it has been some 12 months for the New York native. Interestingly Suri won in the Czech Republic in May on the Challenge Tour and that country hosts the European Tour event this weekend.
Player performance notes
Players I’m interested to see how they go with notes that interest me related to capital investment if that’s your thing. Down to 100 players for this week at TPC Boston the second leg of the FedEx Cup Playoffs is the Dell Technologies Championship won last year by Rory McIlroy.
20 and under: Jordan Spieth. Bested only by Johnson on the weekend the American has collapsed in tournaments before (eg the Masters in 2016) but he’s incredibly consistent and there is a strong recent history of players doing well in playoff events either winning or placing and winning again in the series.
20 and under: Justin Thomas. The American finished T6 and was one of only four players to shoot 69 or better in each round on the weekend but his consistent 68-69-69-69 lacked one low round to challenge the top few but the recent major winner is in form.
20 to 50: Adam Scott. The Australian missed last weekend with his wife giving birth to their second child, a son – Byron, and the Queenslander returns to a venue where he has placed in the top ten on four of the last six occasions.
50 to 100: Xander Schauffele. The American won the Greenbrier Classic last month and he’s continued to display good form. He did miss the cut at the PGA Championship but a T20 at the Open in his first trip to England plus his T17 on the weekend sees him at a career-high 70 in the rankings after he was 434 this time last year.
50 to 100: Bubba Watson. The two-time Masters winner was T10 on the weekend in New York and needed the result to break into the top 100 in the playoff rankings such has been his disappointing season. However Watson showed some signs his for was returning at the Bridgestone Invitational before the top ten finish.
100 to 200: Harold Varner III. Going back in on the American after his T20 effort on the weekend in Old Westbury saw him jump into the top 100. Along with Watson he was one of only three players to make up ground into the top 100 from outside that mark on the weekend.
Greens in regulation
The LPGA Tour heads to Oregon for the Cambia Portland Classic where Canadian Brooke Henderson is the two-time defending champion. Henderson, 19, started Sunday in Ottawa three shots back after a course record third round of eight-under 63 on Saturday. This weekend for the European Tour it’s the Czech Masters at the Albatross Golf Resort. The event in Prague is significant as it is the first event which counts towards the tally for Ryder Cup selection in the European Team for the event which is back on their soil in 2018 in France – the jockeying for positions to reclaim the title from the Americans begins this week.
As players seek to progress to the third week of the Fed Ex Cup Playoffs last weekend saw 25 players secure a PGA Tour card for next season with the final weekend of regular season play in the USA PGA’ second-tier Web.com tour. Brice Garnett won the Portland Open, a result which saw him claim the web.com money title to go with his first win last month in Utah. The story of the weekend though was the final spot going to Roberto Diaz after Keith Mitchell’s misjudgment on the 18th hole. Mitchell thought he needed an eagle (he only needed a birdie to nab the 25th spot.) Chattanooga native Mitchell blasted to the near green on the par five but then stuck the third shot past the hole chasing the eagle. He missed the birdie putt and now has to try his luck via the web.com’s own playoffs. Significantly from the top 25 two Chinese players, Zecheng Dou and Xinjun Zhang, qualified for the top tour. Dou, 20, is perhaps the most promising of the duo having scored a win on the second-tier tour this season.
Image via bunkered.co.uk