WCG-Bridgestone Invitational Recap

08-07-17

Hideki Matsuyama has won half of the World Golf Championships this season.

He picked up his second WGC championship yesterday at Firestone South as he blew away the field with 61 on Sunday.

Gary Player was impressed too!

The No. 3 player in the OWGR romped home tying the course record set by Tiger Woods and Sergio Garcia before him as he easily won by five shots.

We’ve seen this Matsuyama before as recently as last fall when he blasted the world of golf bringing home four trophies in a five tournament run. The other finish during that stretch was solo second. Of course that was the week I had him in OAD.

Shut up.

He played the weekend circling 12 birdies plus an eagle against only two bogeys.

That was good enough to win alone as Zach Johnson finished second on 11-under 269.

He led the field in:

  • Eagles (1)
  • Birdies (23)
  • Worse-than-bogey (0)
  • SG: Around the Green
  • SG: Tee-to-Green
  • GIR
  • I’ll point out he was 15th in SG: Putting and eighth in putts per GIR reinforcing that a total package is needed to win here.

He played with Woods when he shot 61 and knew he had to birdie the final three to match the course record.

He did.

He picks up victory No. 5 on Tour and win No. 7 in the last 19 months worldwide but there is one trophy missing from his mantle: a major.

18 Things I Learned?

Zach Johnson has turned on his summer juice with big finishes at JDC and WGC-BI with a very solid T-14 at Royal Birkdale shoved in the middle. He was first in SG: Putting, T-3in fairways and T-9 GIR. Nothing phony in those three categories.

He only has two rounds over par in his last six events. He now owns four top 10’s in his last six. He’s tired of not winning golf tournaments. Yep, Charley Hoffman is flying.

Riviera, WGC-Mexico, Augusta National and WGC-BI are Thomas Pieters’ only top 10’s this season. He plays difficult courses well. Quail Hollow is difficult.

Make in NOYNE events in a row worldwide that Paul Casey hasn’t finished outside T-26. Make it seven of NOYNE that he’s been T-12 or better. Chadders wants winners but man there’s nothing wrong with the Englishman besides that.

The stat of the weekend was that Rory McIlroy can’t hit wedges close or make any putts from distance. Ok, he finished T-5 after T-4 his last time out at Birkdale. He shot 62 at age 20 at Quail Hollow and then 61 in 2015. Prayers up!

I’ll toss Russell Knox (last top 35 was RBC Heritage) and Adam Hadwin (last top 35 was THE PLAYERS) as two fellas I didn’t expect to see in the top five this week. I tried to pick up both of them at the U.S. Open but I guess I was a bit early.

With closing rounds of 66-67, Rickie Fowler returns to the scene of his first Tour win at Quail Hollow with momentum and another top 10. I’ve lost count on how many that is this season.

Hudson Swafford and Scott Hend hit the top 10. They both hit it a mile.

Psst: It wasn’t ball-striking that held back Jordan Spieth this week. It was his favorite club, the putter, that was the issue.. With the new greens barely a year old at Quail Hollow, I’ll take T-5 in fairways and T-13 GIR.

As I tweeted on Sunday, man, Xander Schauffele is on a heater of epic proportion for a rookie. Go look up his last six events on Tour and tell me why I shouldn’t be impressed!

I was all over Jimmy Walker this week as a long shot. He led by two after Friday on nine-under-par. He finished T-28. #Play72.

Whatever was bothering Gary Woodland Thursday and Friday was worked out on the weekend so he’ll bump back up in my PGA preview on newsstands Tuesday afternoon.

Should I be nervous or frustrated that Justin Rose hasn’t fired since the Masters. Don’t look up his other finishes in that stretch unless you’re an Irish links fan.

Man, was there any golfer who sucked in the play more this week and then sucked above Rafael Cabrera-Bello? Fantasy golf can be brutal sometimes!

Alex Noren¬†continues his bizarre run of form where he fires every-other-week. Good news for those of you, perhaps like me, who’ll take a long look at him (because I’m out of players) for the PGA Championship.

The final spot at the PGA Championship was claimed by Chris Stroud, who won a three-man playoff at the Barracuda Championship. It was his first Tour win in his 290th start. #NeverSayNever.

Firestone South held up again to the surprise of absolutely nobody this week. Matsuyama’s 61 would have been good enough for solo fourth and that should accent just how good that round for the week was…Rain and weather is always an issue in Akron and a long, wet course is the norm…Matsuyama now joins 12 others with multiple WGC wins but trails Geoff Ogilvy (3), Dustin Johnson (5) and Tiger Woods (18) in the all-time standings…He joins Woods and Vijay Singh as the only players to do the Memorial-WGC-BI double…There were eight, bogey-free rounds on the week including Matsuyama’s on Sunday.

Keep your eyes peeled for my PGA Championship preview Tuesday afternoon!

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