World number 1 Jason Day flew under the radar as far as favorites to win the Players Championship due to his poor track record at TPC Sawgrass but ended up putting any doubt to bed by winning in wire-to-wire fashion. Day finished at -15, 4 shots clear of his nearest competitor, Kevin Chappell, who racked up his third 2nd place finish of the season.
This one was over quickly. Day opened play on Thursday morning, tying the course record with a 9-under 63 and backing it up with a second-round 66 to open up a 4 shot lead that no one could compete with. His win was fueled by his tremendous length, which allowed him to hit several 2-irons at the tight Sawgrass setup without sacrificing too much distance. Day routinely blasted his 2-iron 300 yards and led the field in driving distance despite using his driver only a handful of times. On the greens, Day was equally impressive, racking up 392’ of made putts (good enough for 3rd in the field). The Australian star is in a class of his own with this being his 3rd title of the year.
Over the edge
Thursday and Friday’s action yielded abnormally low scores at the usually challenging Sawgrass setup, leading tournament officials to toughen things up on Saturday. Their winning recipe? Slick greens and tucked pins that led to high scores and plenty of complaints from the players.
47-year-old Tour pro Ken Duke ascended the leaderboard during the difficult 3rd round, shooting a field-best 7-under 65. Duke’s round was described by competitor Russell Knox as “the best round of golf ever.”
More on Knox...
Russell Knox found himself in contention as he walked to the 17th tee during Saturday’s 3rd round, where (as many before him have done) he totally lost it, knocking 3 balls into the water and knocking himself out of contention after carding a 9.
Thursday and Friday yielded low scores for much of the field, but a few stars struggled. World number 2 Jordan Spieth, defending champion Rickie Fowler and Masters champion Danny Willett headlined the group of big name players that failed to make the cut.
This is Spieth’s second straight missed cut at The Players, and it couldn’t have come at a worse time with the media obsessing over whether he is still hung up on his Masters disappointment. The fried egg’s take on it: Golf is hard, and missed cuts happen. TPC Sawgrass isn’t the best course for Spieth’s game, and we expect him to bounce back in a big way this week at the AT&T Byron Nelson.
Mullinax steals championship
On the Web.com Tour, 23-year-old Troy Mullinax staged an incredible comeback to win the Rex Hospital Open. Mullinax entered Sunday 5 shots behind Brady Schnell’s 54-hole lead but used a back-nine 30 to overcome and win his first Web.com title of his career. This moves him to 4th on the money list and very close to securing his 2016-2017 PGA Tour card.
Golf Course Photo Tour: Crystal Downs
We head to Northern Michigan for this week’s tour of Dr. Alister MacKenzie’s gem, Crystal Downs. Check out the masterful bunkering and design that consistently rank in the world’s top 20 courses by clicking here.