3/18/19

Return of the Mac

Rory McIlroy puts together a late round surge to win the 2019 Players Championship

by

The Players has come and gone but not without plenty of drama. One of the best fields of the season descended on TPC Sawgrass and delivered one of the best tournaments in recent memory. Sunday saw a couple dozen players in contention before Rory McIlroy finally pulled away for a one shot victory in Ponte Vedra. The Players Leaderboard

Roars

Everyone’s favorite Northern Irishman started Sunday just one shot back of Jon Rahm but fell further behind after an early double bogey. He fought back with seven birdies over his final 14 holes, draining a particularly big 14-foot put on the 15th hole. He closed by playing the final three-hole stretch birdie-par-par to win for the first time in over a year.

It was only a matter of time for Rory. He started the year with five straight top-six finishes but had yet to capture a victory before Sunday. As the tour’s leader in stroke average and strokes gained, he was seriously due. He led the field in strokes gained tee-to-green at TPC Sawgrass and rolled in just enough putts to get the job done. This is the Rory we know and love. As he seeks to complete the career grand slam at Augusta next month, McIlroy will surely sense that all eyes are on him.

Furyking Incredible

Jim Furyk really turned the clocks back this weekend. A month shy of his 49th birthday, the crafty veteran played his final three rounds -14 and nearly eked out a victory. He birdied two of his last three holes to post the clubhouse lead before Rory bested him by one.

After ridding himself of the Ryder Cup captaincy, Furyk has played sneaky good golf. He had two top-10 finishes last fall and has already notched his third top 15 of 2019. Furyk fell outside of the top 200 last season, but his performances this year have moved him all the way back to 57th. That is a monstrous comeback for someone who could have ridden off into retirement in respectable fashion. Don’t be surprised to see the reinvigorated Furyk in contention a few more times this season, maybe even notching his first win since 2015.

What happens with Pepps stays with Vegas

Starting the day six shots behind the leaders, Jhonattan Vegas and Eddie Pepperell knew they needed to go low to get into contention. They combined for 13 birdies with just one bogey, and each posted a round of 66. Their Sunday rounds earned them the clubhouse lead for a few minutes, but ultimately they tied for third. Both guys have put together solid 2019 campaigns so far, with Pepperell moving to his highest world ranking (36th) of his career. Eddie and Jhonny capped off their weeks with absolute bombs on the island green.

Rahmulous and Fleetwood

The final pairing of Tommy Fleetwood and Jon Rahm started Sunday on a turbulent note but were still in contention the whole way. The eleventh hole seemed to be the turning point, as both players made the questionable decision to go for the green, and both found a watery grave. They then each found the water on 17, which sealed their fates. Fleetwood fell to a T-5 finish while Rahm’s final round 76 left him tied for 12th.

Other Leaderboard Notes

Brandt Snedeker found his way into contention with six birdies on Sunday but fell to a T-5 finish with a bogey on his final hole. Sneds was ninth in strokes gained approach this week.

Dustin Johnson put together a sleepy T-5 finish this weekend. He shot a consistent 69-68-69-69 this week but never found the spark he needed to threaten the lead. Amazingly, it was DJ’s first top 10 ever at Sawgrass.

Joel Dahmen and Abe Ancer led the Players first-timers with T-12 finishes. Ancer was tied for the lead through the halfway point on Sunday, but three back-nine bogeys ended his chances.

Ollie Schniederjans contended on Sunday but got soaked during his final nine. A double bogey on the tenth and a triple on the island green dropped him to a T-16 finish.

Quick Hooks

Italian Guido Migliozzi shot a final round 69 to win the Magical Kenya Open by one shot this weekend. Last week’s winner, Justin Harding, finished one shot back in his attempt to win back-to-back events. Leaderboard

Webb Simpson was penalized one shot this weekend when his putter got caught in his shirt and accidentally moved his ball about an inch. Full Story by Rex Hoggard

Tiger and Kevin Na owned the most charming moment of Saturday. See their light-hearted exchange HERE.

The Latest Podcasts and Articles

Shotgun Start: Rory gets the Gold, Rahm’s hopeless hail mary, and Brooks Koepka’s hunger strike

Rory McIlroy wins the game’s “fifth major” but more important, at least for Andy, is his new status as the king of the world atop the FedExCup Standings. We react to Rory’s finish on Sunday at TPC Sawgrass and a manic final round that saw constant leaderboard shuffling. Andy reveals why he was rooting for Jim Furyk, and we give a verdict on the move to March. Then we get into Jon Rahm’s wild decision to go for the green against his caddie’s wishes, a mental mistake that was getting compared to Jean van de Velde’s by the end of Sunday night. After a lengthy Players review, we then get to the Magical Kenya Open, which featured an upstart Italian champion and maybe the new best trophy in golf. We close with a crazy story about Brooks Koepka losing weight and power for some mysterious (but not-so-mysterious) reason. Listen on iTunesStitcher or Spotify


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