Paul Casey Wins Valspar, Tiger Roars on the Copperhead PDF Print E-mail



Paul Casey celebrates his first PGA Tour win in nearly 9 years at Innisbrook.

Palm Harbor, Florida - Paul Casey entered Sunday five shots behind Canadian

Casey Connor (10 under par) and four behind 79 time PGA Tour winner and

crowd favorite Tiger Woods. Olympic Gold medalist Justin Rose and Brandt

Snedeker were also a shot back (at 8 under par) to start the final round of

the Valspar Championship.


Casey, who was facing a nearly 9 year drought from the winners circle was

totally brilliant with the flatstick Sunday - taking only 21 putts in round 4

(the best putting performance of his career). After firing a 6 under par 65

(tied for the lowest round all week) to post 10 under par in the clubhouse,

Casey had to watch for nearly an hour and a half as Woods and Patrick

Reed put up the best challenge.


Reed needed birdie to win at the last, but could only manage a mediocre

approach, and when his ball ended up in an awkward spot against the fringe,

he 3-putted for bogey (finishing a shot behind at -9). Tiger Woods who was

in neutral all day at even par thru 16 holes, faced a 43 foot downhill birdie

attempt at the par 3 seventeenth to get to within a stroke of Casey. When

the ball finally took the break and curled left into the center of the cup, the

crowd erupted and Woods marched to the eighteenth tee knowing a 3 would

get him into a playoff with Casey. A striped long iron off the tee reached the

fairway, finally the 14 time major champion was getting a taste of true Sunday

contention. The mid iron approach reached the green in regulation but left

Woods 39 feet for the conversion. When the putt came up short, Tiger tapped

in to finish a shot back at 9 under par (tied with Reed for second), but more

importantly he got a taste of being in the hunt after another week of progress.

With Bayhill next up for Woods, his Masters prep looks right on schedule.


Afterwards Paul Casey was getting teary eyed, "To take this long to get my

second victory on the PGA Tour it's emotional," Casey said. "I've worked so

hard, I'm happy for it. I lost a friend last Saturday, I played with a heavy

heart, maybe that's the difference."



Even though he came up just short of a win, Tiger reflected on the week

at Innisbrook thru his Twitter feed . . .





Sergio Garcia finished two shots back after a final round 65.

















Phil Mickelson Beats Justin Thomas in Playoff - Wins WGC Mexico PDF Print E-mail



Phil Mickelson celebrates after winning the WGC Mexico Championship

Mexico City - Phil Mickelson at 47 years old was the oldest man in the field

at WGC Mexico Championship. Coming into Sunday, he trailed the youngest

player in the field, 21 year old Shubhankar Sharma from India by two strokes

at Club de Golf Chapultepec. Phil Mickelson's last victory came at the 2013

Open Championship at Muirfield in Scotland (the same day as Sharma's 17th

Birthday). The unknown Sharma was doing the unthinkable, a cinderella story

shocking the peleton after rounds of 65-66-69 had him at 13 under par

to start Sunday. However, it was not Sharma that shined Sunday from the

"Young Gun" contingent, once again it was Justin Thomas (the winner just a

week before at the Honda Classic).


After struggling in rounds one and two with rounds of 72-70, Thomas said

"I've never felt more uncomfortable over the ball". After a swing tip from

his Dad Mike, J.T fired a course record 9 under par 62 to get back in the

tournament. On Sunday, he was nearly as spectacular - holing out on the

72nd hole from 119 yards for eagle to post -16 in the clubhouse.


Mickelson trailed by two after Thomas' heroics. Lefty then birdied the 15th

to get within a shot of the lead. Then a lengthy 30 ft bomb on the 16th tied

Thomas. Mickelson had 36 feet for the win on the 18th, but could do no

better than two putt (for 66 and a 16 under par) to force a playoff with



Thomas went first on the 161 yard par 3 - 17th and air mailed the green

with a gap wedge. Phil hit the middle of the green leaving him 16 feet

from the cup. Thomas chipped to within 10 feet and watched as Phil's

putt for the win grazed the edge of the hole finishing just inches away.

Safely in for par, Mickelson watched as Thomas missed his putt to stay

alive - the drought was over, Phil Mickelson was once again a winner

on the PGA Tour. The victory was Mickelson's 43rd of his career, and

moves him back inside the top 20 in the Official World Golf Rankings

to 18th (3rd in the Fedex Cup standings). Afterwards Phil reflected on

what the win meant, "I can't really put it into words, given the tough

times over the last four years, and the struggle to get back here and

knowing that I was able to compete at this level but not doing it, and

the frustration that it led to. To finally break through and have this

validation means a lot to me." It wasn't long after the victory that the

old confidence came out. When asked if he can get seven more wins

to reach 50 for his career, Lefty said "Oh I will."


Shubhankar Sharma struggled Sunday with a final round 74 to finish

tied for ninth at 10 under par.

















Justin Thomas Captures Honda Classic in Playoff PDF Print E-mail


Justin Thomas hoists the crystal after defeating Luke List in a playoff.

Palm Beach Gardens, Florida - PGA National's Champion course just

seems to produce high drama and winners of high pedigree. The 2018

edition of the Honda Classic was no different. For awhile it looked like

it might be Alex Noren's first victory on American soil, but lying two

short sided in the greenside rough beside the 18th green proved to

be too tough. After making just par, he posted the clubhouse lead at

7 under par, but it would prove to be one shot too many.


For Justin Thomas, a stiffed wedge from 117 yards on the 72nd

hole got him into the playoff after finishing at 8 under par. Luke List

bombed his tee shot, leaving only 4 iron for his approach. After hitting

the green, List two putted from long range to join Thomas in the sudden

death playoff (that began on the 18th tee as the sun was beginning to

set). In the playoff, List opened the door by blocking his tee shot way

right into the trees. He escaped, blasting out into the grandstands left

(and after getting a ruling and drop) he was left with a tough approach

from the rough. Justin Thomas had piped his drive and took on the risk -

successfully hitting the green in two (leaving a lengthy putt of approx.

35 feet for eagle). List hit a heroic approach from the rough to about

15 feet directly on the same line that JT had. Thomas lagged his putt

to within 4 feet, giving List a look and a chance to make his birdie and

possibly force another hole (or a win if he makes and Thomas misses).

List missed running his birdie attempt nearly 5 feet past the hole, JT

nailed his short birdie putt becoming the 2018 Honda Classic Champion.


After capturing his 8th career PGA Tour victory, Justin Thomas seemed

relieved and satisfied, "It was another level of difficulty, not only the

amount of people that I was trying to beat - but this golf course in

itself and Luke was playing unbelievable on that back nine. It was a

helluva a battle out there."


Tiger Woods continued his comeback with an impressive T12 finish after

rounds of 70-71-69-70 (Even).













Bubba Watson Takes Genesis, Back on Top at Riviera PDF Print E-mail



Bubba Watson celebrates his 10th PGA Tour win.

Pacific Palisades, California - It had been two years since we saw this

version of Bubba Watson. It was 2016, and Bubba was carving golf shots

around famed Riviera on his way to career win #9. Since then, insert a

money grab, switching the most important piece of equipment in a shot

makers bag - the golf ball. Watson ditched his trusty Titleist Pro V1 for

a Volvik model, and just like that the magic was gone. He also had a

mysterious illness in 2017 that caused significant weight loss and a World

Ranking that dropped into triple digits. On Sunday, Watson looked as if

it was 2016 again, controlling his Titleist golf ball around the canyons and

eucalyptus trees on his way to a final round 69 and a two shot victory

over Kevin Na (69) and Tony Finau (69).


On the par 3 fourteenth, Watson blocked his tee shot into the greenside

bunker, he told caddie Ted Scott that he needed to use the bathroom,

and once playing partner Cam Smith informed him that the restroom is

on the next hole Watson replied "Nah, I'm just going to hole it and then

go straight to the bathroom." After he holed the shot, he looked over at

Ted Scott and yelled out "You called it.", but Scott had merely set the scene

by commenting to Bubba before the shot, "Man you haven't holed a bunker

shot in awhile." The hole out proved to be the knockout blow to the field,

Watson put the pedal down and finished off with a back nine 33 and 12

under par for his tenth career win (Third at Riviera).


An emotional Bubba Watson discussed reaching a goal, "It means a lot,

my goal was always to get 10 wins, that was my tenth win. There's so

many emotions going through my head right now, never know if you're

gonna be good again, never know if you'll ever lift a trophy again, I thought

about retirement. I can't believe I'm going to lift the trophy."


47 year old Phil Mickelson fired a final round 68 to finish tied for sixth at

8 under par with Cam Smith and Adam Hadwin.


This week the tour moves East to Florida for the Honda Classic.

















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