Fantasy Golf: Sony Open Recap

01-16-17

Aloha.

Mahalo.

He’s been getting lai’d like crazy!

For the second week in a row and for the third time in nine events in the 2016-17 season, Justin Thomas lapped the field to win on the PGA Tour. Thomas set the 72-hole record by posting 27-under par 253 to win the Sony Open by seven shots over Justin Rose. Jordan Spieth rounded out the podium at Waialae Country Club, one shot out of tying the “B” flight with Rose.

 

Key Moment(s):

  • Arriving from Maui? He opened with 59 and away he went.
  • He backed up his 59 with 64 to lead by five and didn’t show any signs of weakness.
  • His 65 on Saturday gave him a seven shot lead to play with on Sunday. According to Twitter, nobody has ever blown a seven shot lead.

 

Scorecard:

 

  • Set the course record, 59, in round one.
  • Set the Tour 36-hole record with 123.
  • Set the Tour 72-hole record with 253.
  • Set the tournament record obviously.
  • He was one of two players to hit 20-under for the week.
  • Racked up 26 birdies (1st) and three eagles (T-1).
  • Squared only five bogeys (T-10) and didn’t make any “others”.
  • Led the field in SG:TTG for the second week in a row.
  • Led the field in PPGIR for the second week in a row.
  • He led the field in SG: Off the Tee.
  • He finished second in SG:P
  • He finished in the bottom of driving accuracy, also again, this week.

 

 

 

Past history at Waialae:

 

  • T-6 on his debut in 2015 included 61.
  • MC last year 70-71.
  • Of his 10 rounds, six have resulted in 39-under par.
  • The other four he’s one-over par.
  • As Jimmy Walker reinforced, accuracy off the tee here is nice but hardly required. Thomas backed this up theory up as well this week to a record-setting proportion.

 

 

Fantasy Forecast:

 

  • All of his wins on Tour have come when he’s posted 22-under or lower.
  • All of his wins are on courses where swinging the driver does more good than harm.
  • All of his wins are on resort courses on greens running less than 12′ on the Stimpmeter.
  • If there is a birdie-fest on his schedule, I’m in!
  • Don’t forget he’s also hit the podium at THE PLAYERS (T-3) and the Honda Classic (T-3) and there’s nothing easy about either one of those tracks.
  • He’s closed three 54-hole leads/co-leads of the four he’s possessed. #Efficient.
  • Of the eight players to shoot 59 or lower, Thomas is one of the four to close out the deal.
  • He’s the first player on Tour to win three times in a year since, well, last year. Dustin Johnson won three times en route to PGA Tour Player of the Year.
  • Too bad he’s not playing the CB Challenge as he posted 20-under par there in 2015 the week following his 61 at Waialae. #30Under.

 

 

With this win:

 

  • Collects $1,080,000.
  • 500 FEC points
  • Checks in at No. 8 in the OWGR, up from No. 21 two weeks ago and No. 12 last week.
  • He’s leads the FEC standings by 437 points over Hideki Matsuyama.

 

 

 

Waialae Hindsight:

Trends and stats from the week for next week and next year

 

  • For the second time in three years the winner has strolled home by seven shots.
  • For the fourth time in five events the winning score has exceeded 20-under. #Easy.
  • Fabian Gomez (72nd) couldn’t join Ernie Els and Jimmy Walker as champions to defend.
  • Thomas joins Henley, the old tournament record older, and Paul Stankowski as the only winners in their 20’s since 1997.
  • Thomas becomes the fifth to do the Hawaiian Double at Kapalua and Waialae joining Vijay Singh, Zach Johnson, Jim Furyk and Ernie Els.
  • Of the last 19 winners, 13 have played the week previously on Maui.
  • Thomas and Ernie Els are the only players to win both Hawaii events in consecutive starts.
  • Low rounds all week with 59 on Thursday, 61 (Zach Johnson) on Friday, 60 (Kevin Kisner) on Saturday and 61 (Chez Reavie) on Sunday. #Boring.
  • Of the top 36 players, there were THREE rounds over par.
  • There was only one round at par (Kevin Kisner, 70) and one round above par (Hudson Swafford, 71) in the top 19.
  • The top 44 players were all double digits under par.
  • The toughest round of the week was Friday but not by much.
  • The course played -1.690 shots under par for the week, even easier than last year. #HitAndGiggle.

 

There’s no mystery that Waialae has turned into a birdie-fest shootout over the recent years. The lack of length, absence of wind and the removal of trees has created a fantastic, soft landing spot for Tour pros to knock off the holiday rust and ease into the new calendar year. This year’s leader board is noticeably absent with new names and fresh faces as big boys and veterans took home all the big loot.

 

 

Scorecard: 

 

Justin Rose (2nd): Nothing short of FANTASTIC news for season-long investors as Rose showed zero signs of the back trouble that forced him to WD at the Hero in December. Loose off the tee, he still found away to finish T-9 GIR and made enough putts for 25 birdies. #JustinJustinJustin.

 

Jordan Spieth (3rd): For the second consecutive week he found his best on the weekend. He closed 66-63 and only Kevin Kisner’s 60-65 was lower. Spieth remarked last week that he thought Waialae would fit his game (T-1, GIR; 2nd, SG:TTG) and he was excited to play. He was until he rode shotgun with Thomas the first two days. Thomas was first in birdies and finished first. Rose was second in birdies and finished second. Spieth was third in birdies and finished third. #Trendy. Spieth is off to the Far East to introduce his Under Armour shoe and is scheduled to return at WMPO at TPC Scottsdale.

 

Kevin Kisner (T-4): Weirdly enough, he finished with 23 birdies, good for T-4 so that trend is marching on nicely! His final 40 holes were bogey free and he posted 17-under par through that stretch. Not bad for a guy who opened with 70 and lost 3.6 strokes on the green in the opening round. His 60-65 on the weekend was the lowest in the field.

 

Jamie Lovemark (T-4): The trend ends here as Lovemark only made 18 birdies, good for T-27. He avoided the bogey as he only made four on the week and his pair of eagles in the final round saw him collect his biggest check since his T-2 at TPC Louisiana. His back-to-back top 10’s will have gamers salivating as they remember he was just two shots out of the 54-hole lead at CB Challenge last year entering Sunday (T-6).

 

Gary Woodland (T-6): His excellent run of form at Waialae (T-3, T-13 and T-6) continues and it’s his iron play that is the foundation. He finished the week T-4 GIR and only carded four bogeys as he carried on the form that saw him take second at Mayakoba in his last start.

 

Zach Johnson (T-6): His meat in the sandwich was 61-65 during the middle rounds Friday and Saturday. He had a nice week on the greens where he was eighth in PPGIR and 14th in SG:P. He only had one bogey and a double in his first 54 holes which isn’t surprising as this is his third top 10 in his last four tries. It’s also his first top 10 since Firestone last summer.

 

Chez Reavie (T-8):  His 61 on Sunday moved him up 40 spots and into the top 10 for the first time in seven tries. He teased gamers last year with a Friday 63 but didn’t break par on his two weekend tries. For those who took the “Woodland Angle”, Reavie backed up his T-4 at Mayakoba and all was needed was 61 on Sunday. He’s now hit the top 25 in four of his last five starts on Tour.

 

Charles Howell, III (T-8): His streak of making the weekend at Waialae is now at 16 in a row. His T-8 is his ninth (NOYNE) top 10 finish in that stretch. He shows no signs of cooling off as his top 10 backs up his T-15, T-7 and T-13 finish to 2016.

 

Jim Herman (10th): His confidence matches that of the incoming President and it’s no coincidence that they’re tight. After his very steady T-12 in his maiden at Kapalua last week, he went even better this week. Herman had never posted a round lower than 68 at Waialae in 12 previous rounds. This week he posted four of them 67 or better to take the final place in the top 10. Gamers who rode his wave loved the birdie-par-eagle Sunday finish to take him from T-20 to 10th.

 

Eyes Open:

 

Sean O’Hair (T-11): Hadn’t teed it since T-10 in Las Vegas last October but obviously wasn’t rusty. Another desert test this week!

 

Russell Knox (T-11): You know he’s turned the corner in fantasy land when folks are grumbling that his 69 on Sunday dropped him out of the top 10.

 

Luke List (T-13): Let’s review his start to 2016-17: T-26, T-2, T-15, T-17, T-13 and T-13 to this week. Hop on! Plenty of room!

 

Webb Simpson (T-13): His finish in the upper half in both putting categories is truly cause and effect. This was his eighth consecutive weekend at Waialae and strangely enough his third straight T-13 finish. ON THE WEEKEND WITH FRIDAY THE 13TH. OMG. RUN FOR YOUR LIVES.

 

Bill Haas (T-13): Found plenty of fairways (T-10) and made putts when they counted (8th, SG:P). He’s now hit the top 13 in three of his last four starts on Tour.

 

Brian Gay (T-13): He’s finished T-32 or better in seven of the last eight years.

 

Branden Grace (T-13): Say it with me: Form is temporary; class is permanent. After finishing DFL last week by a few, the South African remembered that he was pretty good at this. He gained five shots on the greens during the weekend and was T-12 in GIR. Nice bounce back for players who draft or buy on rankings rather than form.

 

Russell Henley (T-13): Looks like he ran out of gas on the weekend but peeled off his fourth consecutive T-24 or better on Tour. Sadly his named was scrubbed from the Sony Open record books but this finish was his best since he set all of those records in 2013.

 

Hudson Swafford (T-13): Make it 18 cuts in a row on Tour and his third year in four T-13 or better at Waialae. Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

 

 

 

“Whatever happened to…”

 

Hideki Matsuyama (T-27): Hard to stomach a Sunday 69 dropping him 11 spots considering the form he was in. All four rounds were in the 60’s after playing terribly here in previously (MC, MC, MC and T-78). Course form won again in reality and those gamers who sat him this week based on that were the true winners as they didn’t burn a start.

 

Jimmy Walker (MC): 71-67 on the back of being under the weather last week at Kapalua. This was an absolute killer to all gamers as his record at Waialae was massive. Remember, this happens EVERY WEEK to one of the top players.

 

Scott Piercy (T-57): He posted 12 birdies in the first two rounds and six in the final two as his putter went ICE COLD. Course historians will be frustrated after solo second and T-13 the last two seasons.

 

Brandt Snedeker (MC): 70-69 MC by two shots. For the second consecutive week his putter didn’t fire as he lost almost 3.3 strokes on the greens in his two rounds. This is concerning as he lost in a playoff here last year and has had plenty of big results at Kapalua over the years.

 

Daniel Berger (T-45): It could have been worse as he was four over through six holes on Sunday before battling back for even-par 70. Each round he plays with his Callaway sticks will be one more round getting comfortable.

 

 

Stay Tuned:

Keep up @MikeGlasscott and mikeglasscott.com for more details.

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