It took a long time to finally find a winner at the first playoff event of the season, but it was worth the wait when Tony Finau finally broke through his second TOUR win.
This win took a long time waiting for the big man who kept missing his chances to break the curse of Puerto Rico and claim a second victory. Now he is jumping to first place in the current FedExCup ranking and is one step closer to integrating into the US Ryder Cup team.
Finau certainly made it on his own on Monday, but a few others who argue also helped him. At first it was Jon Rahm who appeared to be in control as he spun to the second nine on the final lap, but left out a few short birdie putts. He then did not take advantage of the mobile par-4 course 16 and finally played his way out of the race with a bogey at 18.
Cameron Smith was the player who stayed on the track next to Finau and made the 17th birdie, to tie it under at 20. The Aussie scored a par on the 72nd hole to send it into a playoff, but a sprayed and lost drive on the first playoff hole effectively ended the tournament.
Now the PGA TOUR is heading down I-95 to Baltimore and Caves Valley for the second playoff event, with the remaining field reduced to 70. Patrick Reed will definitely be out due to illness this week, and at least for the time being it seems Louis Oosthuizen will be making his return.
Current world number one Jon Rahm was in control of about 65 holes at Liberty National but he got it caught and passed the last seven. The end result won’t stop me from buying into the Spaniard at BMW, where he’ll undoubtedly be the top man on the odds table again.
Rahm ended the week with more than three strokes per lap on the field with his Tee off on green. The only metric he lost shots on was around the green, and that hit him on the 16th hole on Monday.
I’ll make sure that Rahm fixes that before the tournament in Baltimore. </ We're getting the top 70 players of the season to serve this week so it's hard to analyze things and narrow them down to a few. One player that caught my eye this week is someone we expect to hit an elite game with his ball in Corey Conners, Canada.
It was an interesting final event for Conners as he was in trouble had to find that part of his game but it appears he found it in Jersey City last week. He won 6.76 tees from tee to green over the weekend, with both his off-tee and iron play winning more than one stroke per round. Conners was a better putter as he was in the mix this week as he finished T8 despite losing more than two hits on the field on his greens on Monday.
Conners is a player whose game is different on every course moves when he’s on the court and it seems he’s steering things in the right direction.
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If I’m looking for a big name to catch up on during the week, it has to be Bryson DeChambeau. He was extremely volatile at Liberty National, where he had 17 birdies or better on his first 36 holes, then stuttered on Saturday when he completely lost his irons.
DeChambeau was able to work things in a positive direction again on Monday when he won shots in both hit metrics in a 3-under finals. The volatility he’s shown this week is often a sign that things are coming together at this level, which was really highlighted by Kevin Kisner’s recent win at Wyndham.
I wouldn’t be surprised if things did normalize in a good way for DeChambeau this week and he would build on three really positive rounds in the approach, which is always his key to success.
There has been a lot more bad than good for Jordan Spieth this week. He had a fantastic round last week – a 9-under-62 on Friday that included consecutive Eagles. Unfortunately, that lap was the outlier for Spieth, who had above average days in each of the other three days, including the field’s worst lap on Monday with an 8-over 79.
Spieth looked completely lost on the pitch when he did was not involved, which happened quite often. I’m ready to wait out Spieth to see the BMW on a course that seems to be favoring for the late risers. I also assume that it will still be a short price after Baltimore, which certainly gives us a little more comfort in the fade.
Brian Harman is a similar story to Spieth. The only round he won on the tee to the green was on Friday when he shot a 6-under 66. He combined over the other 54 holes to lose 9.3 strokes on that metric, including 5.56 on Saturday alone.
The former Georgia Bulldog has to be elite to get with his ball because of his length off the tee compete. Harman has shown for weeks in a row that he is in the Wyndham and this 75th. He will not be on my radar for the BMW Championship next week.
It is not often that we miss a cut from Collin Morikawa see, so it makes sense that news has surfaced recently of some injury concerns for the young star. It’s still supposed to serve in Baltimore, but I’ll fade it this week.
Morikawa missed the cut by three shots at the Northern Trust, where he lost nearly three shots on the field tee on the green in his opening round. He recovered in that category on Friday, but the putter didn’t take off and left him behind.
Assuming Morikawa stays on the field this week, he’ll be a weakness for me with a back injury Always a problem in this game and we probably won’t get enough discount to consider it.
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