The post-major hangover has been in full effect these last two weekends on the PGA Tour. Between the MLB and NBA playoffs and NFL and college football, the game has been out of the spotlight. But that hasn’t stopped the Tour from rolling on. Stops in Jackson, Mississippi, and Las Vegas, Nevada saw names old and new take home silverware (and a big check). This week, the Tour stays in Vegas for the relocated CJ Cup, which is normally played in South Korea. Instead, it will be played at Shadow Creek. The Tom Fazio designed course is best known as the home of The Match: Tiger vs. Phil two years ago.
While it won’t feature either of the two legends this year, it does still have a very strong field. Coupled with a huge $9 million purse, the CJ Cup will be sure to feature some kind of drama. But before previewing that, let’s take a look at the past two weeks of golf on the PGA Tour.
Sanderson Farms Championship
After quietly missing the cut at the US Open, Sergio Garcia pulled out a one stroke victory at the Country Club of Jackson. It was his 11th win on the PGA Tour and first since the 2017 Masters, though he did add three European Tour wins in that time. Consistency reigned supreme, as while others were volatile in their scoring, Garcia did not go above a 68 or below a 66. He fought off a strong challenge from Peter Malnati, who shot a Sunday 63. He was looking for his second win on the Tour and at the Country Club of Jackson, as he won the Sanderson Farms five years ago.
Former major winner Keegan Bradley also found a spot in the top five. He finished tied for fourth, four strokes back from Garcia. After rounds of 66 and 65, he started his weekend with a disappointing 73. A final round 69 was enough to get him back in the top five, his first of the season.
Shriners Hospitals for Children Open
While a one stroke win is fun, nothing beats extra holes. This past weekend in Vegas saw an intense three-way playoff finish off the Shriners Open. Martin Laird came out victorious, taking home $1.26 million. Austin Cook and Matthew Wolf matched him with pars on the first playoff hole, but a birdie from Laird put the tournament to rest.
It was a low scoring affair, with the three leaders finishing Sunday at 23 under par. They were three strokes ahead of fourth place Abraham Ancer, who got his first top five finish of the season. Malnati found his way back in the top five as well, finishing a stroke behind Ancer, tied with James Hahn and Will Zalatoris. Golf’s most electric player, Bryson DeChambeau, added another top ten to his already successful season. This was his second top ten of the year, after winning the US Open at Winged Foot. He was joined by Justin Suh, Matthew NeSmith, Si Woo Kim and Patrick Cantlay in eighth place to round out the top ten. DeChambeau jumped up to fifth in the Official World Golf Rankings (OWGR) and first in the FedEx Cup standings. He seems poised to have a huge finish to the year and 2021.
CJ Cup @ Shadow Creek
According to the Shadow Creek website, one of the main goals of the CJ Cup is “to support the development of professional golf in Korea.” That will be a bit of a struggle with the tournament in Vegas. Despite the change in location, though, the tournament boasts a strong field. Brooks Koepka is making his return, joining Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Justin Thomas and Justin Rose in a collection of golf stars.
One man who will not be playing in Vegas is OWGR’s number one player in the world, Dustin Johnson. It recently came out that DJ tested positive for COVID-19, so it may be some time until we see him on Tour again. Thankfully, the Tour is taking testing very seriously, managing to avoid an outbreak thus far.
While the greatest golfer of all time won’t be in Vegas for the CJ Cup this weekend, he will return a week from Thursday. The ZOZO Championship was his last win, and it will be the site of his return after the US Open. While it’s not at its normal home in Japan, the ZOZO will be at a course Tiger is familiar with, Sherwood CC. Tiger will be looking to break a tie with Sam Snead and reach 83 Tour wins, the most in history.
Sei Young Kim took home the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship this past weekend. A final round 63 saw the Korean finish above her countrywoman Inbee Park by five strokes.
Despite a top ten finish, Bryson was at it again this past week, berating another cameraman. This time, he asked if they had taken enough pictures. Can a man whose job is to take pictures ever take enough pictures?
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