Whenever the eventual winner of a tournament ends two strokes higher than the leader going into Sunday, you can bet there was some excitement along the way. Sunday at Riviera Country Club certainly provided that excitement. Several players, including Sergio Garcia in his first tournament back (much like Furyk last week), had a share or the outright lead at some point through out the day. Sang-Moon Bae, another one of our picks, was right in the thick of it despite the mental distraction over a looming military service requirement in Korea.
But at the end of the day, it came down to a three-way playoff between Paul Casey, Dustin Johnson, and eventual winner James Hahn. Hahn earned his first PGA Tour victory by outperforming Casey on the second playoff hole, and outlasting Dustin Johnson on the third. As is often the case, it was Hahn’s short game that kept him standing at the end. After putting well throughout the day, Hahn sank an incredible birdie putt on the par 3 14th hole, which was one better than DJ could manage.
Both Hahn and Johnson were in trouble on the 10th, their second playoff hole, but both consecutively hit clutch flop shots from the deep rough to both get inside Casey’s ball and knock the Englishman out of the running. The poise and competitiveness demonstrated by Hahn may have been expected more out of Johnson than the 297th ranked golfer in the world, but it is Hahn who came up clutch and ultimately hoisted the trophy.
After the most exciting playoff of the season so far, let’s look at how our picks held up:
PGATour.com: Jimmy Walker (T41/28 points), Bill Haas (Cut/0 points), Sergio Garcia (T4/108 points), Sang-Moon Bae (T8/77 points). Overall Grade – B-
3/4 made the cut, two top 10s = not bad. Enough to keep you relevant, we like to think. Especially when the winner, James Hahn, was probably picked by next to nobody. Because Walker and Haas let us down with our two safest picks, we consider this a B- instead of a B, but we will certainly take 50% top 10s each week.
Golf Channel: Jim Furyk (T14), Harris English (T30), Brian Harman (Cut), Charlie Beljan (T69). Total Earnings: $162,066. Overall Grade – C-
We are now on a 3 week trend of our Golf Channel grade being a full letter grade or more lower than our PGATour team. Perhaps it is time to adjust our strategy, or put a little more thought into this 4-tier format. Especially when you consider Hahn was there for the taking in the bottom tier. Still, 3/4 making the cut, and a respectable T14 from Furyk saved us from a D.