Simmering Spieth

The start of Saturday’s third round saw a star-packed leaderboard with Jordan Spieth, Jason Day and Derek Fathauer tied at 10-under, with big name players such as Patrick Reed, Brandt Snedeker and Dustin Johnson all within striking distance. Saturday saw Day struggle mightily, having to birdie 3 of his final 4 holes to shoot a 75, while Spieth sizzled, coupling precise ball-striking with his usually stellar putting to open up a 6-shot lead when the day was done. The 6-shot lead allowed Spieth to play conservatively on Sunday. The star did so flawlessly, shooting a bogey-free 70 to win by 4 shots over former U.S. Amateur Champion Kelly Kraft, who notched a career high finish at the event. Finishing one shot back of Kraft was world number 3 Dustin Johnson, and just one behind Johnson was two-time AT&T Champion Brandt Snedeker. Full scores

The triumph gave Spieth his 9th career win on the PGA Tour, becoming the 2nd fastest player to 9 tour wins behind only Tiger, who accomplished the feat when he was 23 years and 5 months old compared to Spieth’s 23 years and 6 months. 

A strong return

Making his return from 27 months away from the PGA Tour, former phenom Patrick Cantlay was impressive, firing 3 under-par rounds en route to a t48th finish at 3 under par. For his effort, Cantlay earned $17,897 and has 9 starts remaining on his medical exemption where he will need to make $606,849 to earn his card back. 

Up next: Riviera C.C.

With the Tour heading down the coast to Riviera C.C., I decided to recount my summer experience at the spectacular course with the help of Jon Cavalier’s spectacular photos. Check out my architectural deep dive on the George Thomas masterpiece here.

The 10th at Riviera photo credit: Jon Cavalier

The 10th at Riviera photo credit: Jon Cavalier

Tiger down 

On Friday morning, Tiger announced that he wouldn’t be playing in this week’s Genesis Open or next week’s Honda Classic. The news comes as no surprise for those who watched Woods gingerly saunter his way around Dubai, shooting a brutal opening-round 76 before withdrawing because of back spasms. Who knows when or if Woods will ever return, but the possibility of him returning to even a shell of his once dominant self took a major hit with Friday’s news. 

Putting woes

Danny Willett entered the final round of the Maybank Championship looking to earn his first victory since his Masters win last spring. The English superstar looked unstoppable after opening rounds of 66, 67, 67 put him 3 shots clear of the field, but Sunday saw Willett’s ball striking show up while his putter stayed in the hotel room. Uncharacteristically, Willett missed short putt after short putt leading to a final round 73 that opened the door to the field. The man who took advantage was little-known Paraguayan, Fabrizio Zanotti, who blistered the Saujana Golf and Country Club to the tune of 7 birdies standing on the 18th hole. Zanotti saved his best for last, reaching the par 5 in two and sinking a 20’ eagle putt to shoot a final round 9-under 63 and post 19-under. American David Lipsky had a chance to catch Zanotti after a birdie on the 17th moved him to 18-under for the championship, but the former Northwestern star couldn’t muster a birdie, finishing runner-up to Zanotti. 

Another eagle finish 

Playing in Bogotá, Ethan Tracy was chasing leader Roberto Diaz on the 18th. Tracy did the remarkable, holing a wedge for an eagle and a final-round 65 to get to 13-under. Diaz finished strong as well, birdieing 2 of the final 3 holes to finish at 13-under and enter a playoff with Tracy. On the 2nd playoff hole, Tracy completed the remarkable comeback, making a birdie to win the championship and take over the top spot on the Web.com Tour money list. Full scores

Brian Campbell’s Road to the PGA Tour

We continue our look at PGA Tour players’ paths to the Tour with former Illinois All-American Brian Campbell. The Southern California native spurned west coast schools to head to the great plains and Champaign, Illinois where he became one of the finest amateurs in the country. Learn more about Campbell and his career here

Quick hooks

McCarron eagles the final hole to win the Allianz Championship

Northwestern wins the Big 10 match play championship. 

JT nearly makes a hole in one Saturday at Pebble Beach.

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Camping through Canada

Robbie Vogel is back writing an interesting piece about Canadian Tour pro David Wetterich, who spent last season camping out from event to event with my former high school teammate Ryan Linton. Highly recommend reading this story to give you some perspective on what life on the Canadian Tour is like.

Phil's Boat Wave

 

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