Golf Talk With Greg Holman – #21
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I always figured Justin Thomas was a spoiled rich kid and never really liked him that much, and when a microphone caught one of the seven politically incorrect words which came out of his mouth, I initially lost even more respect for him. But he really paid his dues for that remark, and after his grandfather died and I could see how much he came unraveled emotionally, I became a Justin Thomas fan.
I was pulling for him to overtake Lee Westwood at The Players, and capture the sterling silver and 24 carat gold winners cup, and 2.7 million dollars. It didn’t look good for Thomas after 2 rounds, he stood 2 under heading into the weekend, 7 shots off the lead. But a sizzling 64 on Saturday put him right into contention with Westwood and Bryson DeChambeau.
There was a little bit of everything in this tournament, of course the signature hole at The Players at Sawgrass is the island green 17th hole, a par 3 that measures only 150 yards from the tips, that has probably seen more drama than any hole on the PGA Tour. Brendon Todd hit a huge shank on that hole in the final round after making an ace on the same hole in the second round. Both Westwood and DeChambeau got a little loose with their tee shots coming down the stretch on Sunday, on the fourth hole DeChambeau, the longest driver on the PGA Tour, hit a cold top that didn’t carry the water hazard in front of the tee, and Westwood hit a big slice that also found the water. It was the second time in three holes that Westwood had lost a ball in the drink. He limited the damage to a bogie, while DeChambeau hit an incredible pitch shot to salvage a double bogie.
Justin Thomas didn’t make a birdie until the ninth hole, but then he went birdie eagle birdie to take a two shot lead, he finished with a final round 68. Westwood three putted the seventeenth to end his bid, and DeChambeau played twelve through sixteen three under par with an eagle on sixteen, but it was too late. Thomas finished at fourteen under to win by one over Westwood, DeChambeau and Brian Harman tied for third at twelve under.
Paul Casey had a good tournament tying for fifth, Daniel Berger fired a final round 67 to tie for ninth. First round leader Sergio Garcia could only manage one under on the weekend to finish in a tie for ninth with Jon Rahm and Matthew Fitzpatrick. Patrick Reed finished nine shots back in a tie for 22nd. Phil Mickelson was consistently average, just making the cut to shoot 3 under for the tournament in a tie with Jason Day. PGA Champion Collin Morikawa could do no better than two under, and Dustin Johnson and Adam Scott finished at one under with Jordan Spieth.
With the win, Thomas moves to 2nd in the FEDEX Cup standings and number 3 in the world, behind Jon Rahm and Dustin Johnson. Rory Mcllroy who missed the cut at The Players falls to 4th in the world rankings.
Get out and enjoy the nice weather to come, and don’t forget to practice your putting!