WEEK 32 Phil Mickelson 25 consecutive years inside the World Top 50

Week 2

BACK TO BACK WINS SEES THOMAS MOVE TO WORLD NO.8

PGA Tour – Sony Open in Hawaii

Challenged only by the record book, Justin Thomas won the Sony Open on Sunday with the lowest 72-hole score in PGA TOUR history.

Thomas capped off his wonderful week at Waialae that began with a 59 with his second straight victory. He two-putted birdie from 60 feet on the par-5 18th and closed with a 5-under 65 to set the record at 253.

Tommy Armour III shot 254 at the 2003 Texas Open.

"It's been an unbelievable week. Unforgettable," Thomas said before going to sign his historic card.

Make that two weeks.

The 23-year-old from Kentucky won the SBS Tournament of Champions at Kapalua last week by three shots, then destroyed the full field at the Sony Open to win by seven shots. Thomas is the first player since Tiger Woods in 2009 (Buick Open and Bridgestone Invitational) to win back-to-back weeks by three shots or more.

"I felt like I was trying to win a tournament for second place," Jordan Spieth said, summing up the helpless feeling of everyone.

That honor went to Justin Rose, who closed with a 64 to finish alone in second. Spieth shot a 63 to finish alone in third.

The first full-field event of the year on the PGA TOUR was a one-man show.

Thomas began the final round with a seven-shot lead and no one got closer than five shots all day. His only nervous moment was an 8-foot par putt on the sixth hole when he was five shots ahead. He made that, and the rest of the day was a Pacific breeze.

Thomas joined Ernie Els in 2003 as the only players to sweep Hawaii, and this performance might have been even better. Thomas was 49-under par for his two weeks, compared with Els at 47 under.

Thomas joined Johnny Miller (1974 and 1975) and Tiger Woods (2003, 2008, 2013) as the only players since 1970 to win three of the their first five starts in a PGA TOUR season. It started last fall with the CIMB Classic in Malaysia.

He moved to No. 8 in the world.

 

Sunshine and European Tour – BMW SA Open hosted by City of Ekurhuleni

It has been 10 years since he tasted success as a professional golfer, and Graeme Storm made his second victory as memorable as can be as he defeated world number two Rory McIlroy on the third play-off hole on Sunday in the BMW SA Open proudly hosted by the City of Ekurhuleni.

The pair was deadlocked on 18-under-par 270 after 72 holes of regulation play, and Storm managed to take advantage of a wayward McIlroy drive on the third extra trip up the 18th at Glendower Golf Club, making par while the Northern Irishman was unable to get up and down to lengthen the play-off.

“It feels surreal,” said Storm many times in the wake of his victory. “I had a great battle out there with Rory. I knew what was going to be coming my way. I knew he’d get off to a pretty quick start, and I didn’t play my best golf all day. I just tried to hang in as best I could, but to win this trophy and get my name on it is just a dream come true.”

He started the day with a three-stroke advantage over McIlroy, but, as he expected, the four-time major winner got out of the blocks fast with two birdies in the first two holes to close the gap to one. Storm hit back with a birdie of his own on three, but then came the inexorable pressure of McIlroy pressing for victory.

And it looked to be signed and sealed as McIlroy birdied 13, Storm bogeyed 14 and the pair traded birdies on 16. Pars on 16, and it seemed that McIlroy would romp home, ahead by one with two to play.

But an errant tee-shot from McIlroy on 17 saw him with a horrible lie in the greenside bunker on the par-three. The resultant bogey – and Storm’s calm par, saw matters level going up 18.

“It was more difficult playing the 72nd hole than the play-off holes,” said Storm. “In the play-off, I knew what was going to come my way. He was going to hit driver and blast his way up there, as he can and I can’t. I just had to stick to my game plan and hope it goes my way. It looked like I just kept it in the same position, and that’s what I was trying to do.”

 

Web.com Tour – The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic at Sandals Emerald Bay

 

Kyle Thompson took home his fifth career Web.com Tour title in paradise Wednesday at The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic at Sandals Emerald Bay with his third consecutive round of 2-under 70. The 37-year-old finished as the runner-up at the Web.com Tour season opener a year ago in Panama, but edged out Andrew Yun and Nicholas Thompson by two shots this year with a 2-under 286 in the Tour’s first ever Sunday – Wednesday tournament format. 

“I didn’t see it coming,” Thompson said. “We had some bad weather at home, so I practiced a lot on my golf swing but I didn’t practice my putting at all. I come here and probably had the best putting week of my life. I just stayed very patient and persistent and worked really hard this offseason on my mental game and I think it paid off. Hopefully I can keep that sort of mindset going in the future.”

At a tournament where the 11-over 155 cutline was the highest in Web.com Tour history, patience was key, and Thompson showed plenty of it after battling back from being 6-over-par through his first six holes of the first round. Over his last 66 holes, the former South Carolina Gamecock finished in 8-under to secure his first victory since the 2015 Rex Hospital Open.

“[The first round] was just brutal. I can’t even describe how hard it was,” Thompson said. “Even today it was so hard. I felt like I was the guy in Caddyshack who is having the round of his life walking straight into the breeze. I never gave up. I didn’t quit even though I had a rough start. Turned it around. That was definitely one of the top three hardest rounds of my life, and I shot a score that kept me in the ball game. I just kept grinding and grinding.”

Entering the final round with a three-shot lead, Thompson cruised through the front nine with birdies at Nos. 1, 4, 5 and 9. He holed six-foot testers for par at both No. 10 and 11, and even made par at the par-4 12th, which played as the toughest hole in Web.com Tour history with a scoring average of 5.008.