Tournament of Champions. Justin Thomas Wins.

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Justin Thomas wins the SBS Tournament of Champions, his second win of the 2016/17 season.

Thomas conquers Kapalua

Winner Justin Thomas / getty

Justin carded a final round -4 under par 69 to win the SBS Tournament of Champions on the Plantation Course at Kapalua, Hawaii. His winning total of -22 under par gave him a three shot victory.

Justin worked hard to get his three career wins, watching others get ahead spurned him on;

“I think it drove me a lot. I wasn’t mad, but it was maybe a little frustrating sometimes seeing some friends and peers my age do well.” 

“Not because I wasn’t cheering for them because I feel like I was as good as them.”

“It’s just immature of me. I mean, the fact of the matter is, over the course of a long career, we’re going to beat each other. That’s just how it is.”

“I think now, I feel so much more comfortable. I really do. Maybe the first time in Malaysia when I won, I was maybe kind of like, what am I doing here, but now it’s like, okay, I belong here, I should be here.”

“I still have plenty of other goals that I would like to achieve and stuff that’s over the long-term, the course of the year.”

“I’m going to have to regroup and focus on next week, because next week is a course that I really like and I feel like another good opportunity for me to be in the hunt and have a chance to win.”

“I think that’s where I’m growing a little bit more in that it’s week-to-week. It’s not looking at previous weeks when I’m at a tournament or looking at following events when I’m at a tournament; it’s I am focusing on that week.”

“And once it’s over, take the positives, try to blow over the negatives and go on to the next.”

Claiming second place was Hideki Matsuyama, from Japan, at -19 under par for the tournament, -3 under par 70 today was not what he was looking for, his poor putting taking the blame;

“Justin had a little trouble at fifteen and then I was really in it. But my putter let me down there at 16, 17 and 18.”

“I tipped my hat to Justin. He played well all day long. Had a little hiccup there at 15, but I just say congratulations to him. He deserved it.”

Third place was shared between Jordan Spieth, -8 under 65 today, Pat Perez -6 under 67, and Ryan Moore with -2 under 71, all finished with -16 under par totals.

Hyundai Tournament of Champions. Super Spieth, Again.

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It’s super Jordan Spieth again in the third round of the Hyundai Tournament of Champions at Kapalua, the Plantation Course in Maui, Hawaii.

Hyundai Tournament of Champions

Jordan Spieth / Getty Images

Jordan carded a third round -8 under par 65 to increase his lead at the top of the Hyundai Tournament of Champions leaderboard to five shots over his nearest rival, with a three round total of -24 under par. It could have been more, his second shot to the par five 18th hit the pin, nearly dropping in for a rare Albatross, he settled for the Eagle.

As good as Jordan’s round was, it was not the best of the day,  Brooks Koepka fired a bogey free -10 under par 63, which moved him into second place at -19 under par, those five shots back.

In interview after his round Jordan reflected on what he needs to do tomorrow, and the round of Brooks;

“Got to keep making birdies tomorrow, keep my game up.”

“Brooks shot ten under today, that’s insane.”

Patrick Reed has third place to himself, a third round -6 under par 67 for a -18 under par total not good enough to keep pace with the leaders. He is still bogey free on the week, but knows he needs birdies as the leaders will not let up, and he will just have to go out there and get them;

“Jordan is definitely not letting up and we’re going to have to go out and get it.”

The Kona wind got up a little today, but you would not have known it by the scores, apart from Jordan and Brooks efforts, Brandt Snedeker had a -8 under par 65, moving up the leaderboard sharing fourth spot with Fabian Gomez.

Jimmy Walker carded -9 under par 64, and just missed a birdie putt on the last, his total of -14 under par puts him at T6, joining  Rickie Fowler, Kevin Kisner and Steven Bowditch, on that score.

Another round in the low 60’s tomorrow will seal the victory for Jordan, 66, 64 and 65 so far, even another ten under round would not catch him.

 

 

Hyundai Tournament of Champions. Reed Leads.

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Defending Champion Patrick Reed leads after the first round of the Hyundai Tournament of Champions at the Plantation Course on Maui Island in Hawaii.

 Hyundai Tournament of Champions

Patrick Reed / Getty Images

Patrick shot -8 under par 65 in the opening round of the Hyundai Tournament of Champions to lead the tournament by one shot from his playing partner, World number One Jordan Spieth. A fabulous Eagle from Patrick at the par five 18th edged Jordan into second place.

Patrick spoke about his 2nd shot into the par five final hole;

“I didn’t think I could get it all the way to the green.”

“I thought if I smoked it, I’d get to the front edge and it just happened to ride the wind a little bit and kind of just kept on going.”

“And once it gets on that green, I know it’s going to just keep feeding.”

Jordan showed his class in a first round -7 under par 66, on the par 73 Plantation Course. He wanted last years form to continue, winning  the Masters and U.S. Open and three other titles that led to the FedExCup and a sweep of all the awards. He mentioned the rivalry between the pair of them;

“It’s another event in the course of my career.”

“The calendar changed.”

“Whether we want to feed off each other or we want to beat the crap out of each other, we somehow play well together.”

There are three players tied in third place at -6 under par following their first rounds of 67, Danny Lee, Brandt Snedeker and J.B. Holmes.

Brandt got here early, to check out the greens;

“I know the golf course pretty well and I think getting over here early, the greens always pose a big problem.”

“You get comfortable on greens and be aggressive on putts that you know are fast or slow.”

“You just have to know putts. They’re hard to read. So that’s kind of the reason I came over to do that.”

Making the news for the wrong reasons was Rickie Fowler, sporting a pair of high topped Basketball style trainers, most comments were in the negative. It did not bother Rickie too much, shooting -4 under par 69 to be in a the group of players with Bubba Watson.

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Rickie’s high topped Basketball Puma trainers

The two old men in field did not do so well, Padraig Harrington, 44, was almost happy with his -3 under 70, but Davis Love 111, 51, certainly struggled to post +2 over 75.

RSM Classic. Kevin Kisner Leads

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Kevin Kisner leads the RSM Classic with a hot round on the Plantation Course at Sea Island Golf Club in Georgia.

RSM Classic

Kevin Kisner / Getty Images

Kevin fired an opening round -7 under par 65 on the more difficult Plantation Course, in the RSM Classic. The competition is played over two courses at the Sea Island Golf Resort, to lead the tournament by one shot.

Kevin has done everything but win this year, even losing in a playoff three times;

“I haven’t been disappointed in any stretch of golf coming down the stretch to have a chance. I always rate myself on that.”

“I’ve just gotten beaten a few times, so hopefully I’ll have a chance coming down with a couple shot lead on Sunday.”

There is an eight-way tie for second place at -6 under, with Jeff Overton, David Hearn and Tom Hoge who each had first rounds of – 6 under par 64 over on the Seaside Course, while Jim Herman, Kyle Stanley, Kevin Chappell, Scott Stallings and Si Woo Kim joined them on that score with -6 under 66 on the Plantation Course.

Things will even out tomorrow when everyone has played both courses, but at the moment it looks like a very close contest.

Best story of the day is about Davis Love 111, the US Ryder Cup captain playing alongside his amateur son Dru, who won a four-man qualifier on Sunday to earn his spot here;

Davis spoke about the pressure of their rivalry;

“It was weird because I kept saying, ‘Which ball are we going to play?’ thinking we’re playing a scramble at the PNC Father-Son Challenge.”

“I caught myself watching him play because I was nervous for him and hoping he’d play well.”

 “Dru hit it first into the green and hit it close, then I hit it closer than him.”

“He made it;  then I was like, oh boy. I had to make it.”

Dru was a little more forthright;

“Beating my dad, I didn’t beat him today. I’ve got the cut in the back of my head and will try to be a little bit more patient tomorrow.”

RSM Classic

Davis & Dru / Getty Images

Both Father and Son finished the day at even par 70 on the Seaside Course, and will have to pay well tomorrow to make the cut, when they will pay together again.

 

Hyundai Tournament of Champions. 4-Way Tie at the Top

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There is a 4-way tie at the top of the Hyundai Tournament of Champions on the Plantation course in Kapalua. Defending Champion Zach Johnson, Sang-Moon Bae, Jimmy Walker and first round leader Russell Henley are all at -11 under par for the two rounds completed.

Hyundai Tournament of Champions

Defending Champion Zach Johnson / Getty Images

Zach posted a second round of -6 under par 67 to get to the top of the Hyundai Tournament of Champions leaderboard on the Plantation Course at Kapalua. He was joined at that score by Sang-Moon, -4 under par 69, Jimmy carded -5 under par 68 and Russell with his second round score of -3 under par 70.

Zach birdied the 18th, a par five  to get into a share of the lead, somewhat unconventionally, his drive was 294 and the three wood approach coming up short, his third flew past the pin, leaving him a 15 foot birdie attempt, which he made;

“I had a full shot, at the same time, usually you’ve got to play 15 yards from the hole. That’s strange and rare, but that’s the way it is. I don’t feel like it’s any easier.”

“We played a little early today. The ball just didn’t release. You have to pay attention there. As we get more wind the next couple days, I think this place will dry out.”

Russell spoke about the competitive nature of the tournament, and how good it would be to start the year with a win;

“I think it’s so competitive. I think the way guys look at it now, it’s a great opportunity to have a good finish and get off to a great start, if not win.”

Jimmy said how easy golf seems when your playing well;

“It’s nice when golf is like that, when you’re playing good, yes, golf feels easy.”

“When they are all playing good, I think it honestly doesn’t matter where you’re playing golf.”

Charley Hoffman, in the group at ten under, was the last player to qualify for this winners-only event with a victory in Mexico in November, he sits just one off the lead at -10 under par following his second round -7 under par 66. A double bogey on 17 spoiled what was a great effort, but equaled the low round of the day;

“Second round of the year, just trying to get my feet wet.”

“Made a bunch of birdies, hit a lot of good shots, and one unfortunate swing. You can get away with a few bad swings out here, but not on the 17th hole.”

Charley and four other players are all tied on -10 under par on this very tightly compacted leaderboard, this is turning out to be an exciting golfing start to the 2015 year.

 

 

Two Tournaments in Two Weeks in Hawaii; Seem Like Heaven to You ?

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Logo ImageDoes two tournaments in two weeks in Hawaii seem like heaven to you ? Well it apparently does not suit everyone.Twelve of the thirty players who teed it up at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions on the Plantation Course have opted to miss next weeks Sony Open at the Waialae Country Club in Honolulu, a short island hop away.

2012 SOIH winner Russell Henley

Russel Henley, last years winner / Stan Bedz PGA

Last years winner Russel Henley carded  26 birdies against only two bogeys during the tournament, the only real defense the Waialae Country Club has is the wind. If it doesn’t blow then low scores are the order of the day.

Weather conditions this year are predicted to be similar to last years event, sunshine periodically shrouded by passing clouds and the occasional rain shower are expected, as are manageable trade winds and seasonable highs right around the 80 degree mark.

Excuses are the usual, Jonas Blixt ho has missed the cut and finished T-54 in his two tries at Waialae Country Club commented;

 “It just doesn’t fit me. I just don’t hit enough fairways to compete there. I’m just not very good at it. Honestly, we want to play, if I could play every tournament, I would, but you just can’t play them all.”

This from Martin Laird;

“It doesn’t set up well for me, if you don’t hit right-to-left you’re at a disadvantage. My high fade is not the ideal shot there.”

Apart from Jonas and MartinDustin Johnson has also pulled the plug. along with nine others who have chosen to play the Hyundai, but not the Sony. The missing in action list is pretty impressive;

Brandt Snedeker, Bill Haas, Webb Simpson, Gary Woodland, Ryan Moore, John Merrick, Kevin Streelman, Patrick Reed, and Billy Horschel.

Seems like John Merrick just likes to play on the mainland;

“I just really love the West Coast events, I’ll play Humana (the week after the Sony), San Diego, Phoenix, Pebble Beach, and LA. You just have to pick your spots.”

Ryan Moore also prefers to go home;

 “For me, it’s 100 percent a scheduling matter.”

Billy Horschel has a corporate commitment to CVS;

 “Six months ago we gave them some days for an outing at TPC Sawgrass for a military event, and we came up with next Friday.”

Patrick Reed just feels knackered;

“I feel like we’ve walked over Mount Everest this week, it’s just very hilly. Besides, the Humana (and Palm Springs) area is one of our favorite places, I’ve had success at Torrey and I want to be well-rested going into those.”

So, who is going to play the Sony Open at the Waialae Country Club in lovely Honolulu, take a look at this bunch;

Adam Scott, Matt Kuchar, Zach Johnson, Jason Dufner, and Jordan Spieth, these guys alone are worth the entrance money.

To tell you the truth I could easily live in Hawaii, visited there four times and loved every minute.

Hyundai Tournament of Champions. Four Tied at theTop.

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2014 Hyundai Tournament of Champions started with a first round four-way tie at the top of the leaderboard at the Plantation Course at Kapalua,  MauiHawaii.

Jordan Spieth / Getty

Jordan Spieth was one of the first round leaders, fresh from some coaching to adjust technical glitches with his grip and flattening the plane on his downswing to hit more draws. It all worked as Jordan shot a bogey free first round -7 under par 66 to share the lead in the clubhouse. The rookie of the year explained that his swing got out of whack;

“With that many events, your body just wants to do so many different things. You’re playing in heavy winds one week and the next week you’re trying to launch it out. I still don’t own my swing yet, kind of all over the place.” I had new member orientation this week, I think it was more of a brief meeting than it normally is for new members. I have no excuses and I’m ready to play.”

Jordan shares the top spot with, Michael Thompson, Chris Kirk and Webb Simpson, who all carded -7 under par 66.

Webb Simpson / Getty

Webb was  fully prepared, he had also been working on his game during the brief winter break;

“My off-season was pretty staggered, two weeks off and have to play; two weeks off and play. I was trying to figure out the proper rest versus practice, but I’m the type of guy that I hate not being prepared. And so I tried to just literally not touch a club for 10 days and then once I got back, then I hit it hard the last 10 days. So I’d say I’m somewhere in the middle. You know, there’s just a few shots in the round you need to step up and hit, and today I had a few of those and I was able to hit some good shots. Take care of the par fives, and just one dropped shot, one poor iron swing on 7, but overall, great start.”

The two Johnson’s, Zach and the big hitting Dustin are also in this field, Zach in contention with an opening -6 under pat 67, and Dustin with a more modest -3 under par 70. You would expect Dustin to tear up the par fives here, with his prodigious distance off the tee, so stand by.