Thursday, May 6, 2021

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Horses for Courses: The Honda Classic

2020: Sungjae Im (-6, 274)

Picked up his first TOUR win in his 50th start at age 21. … Closed with 66, matching the low round of the day and the week, to win by a shot. … Sat three back after 54 holes. … Also posted 66 in Round 2. … Did not lead after any round until the final one. … Co-led after 36 holes on debut in 2019 after posting 64 in Round 2. … Won in his second attempt. … Posted the highest winning score on TOUR since the 2018 Wells Fargo Championship. … Becomes second consecutive first-time winner at fifth since the move to PGA National in 2007. … Entered the week making five of his last six cuts but his only top 10 was The American Express. … Youngest winner in history.

Notables:

Mackenzie Hughes (2nd) made the cut on the number (+3) then fired 66-66 to miss a playoff by a shot. … Byeong Hun An (T4) opened with 76 but played the final 54 holes 9-under for his second top 10 in three career events. … Daniel Berger (T4) picked up his second top four finish in six tries. … Brendan Steele (T4) led after 36 holes but closed 71-71. … Lee Westwood (T4), heard of him?, sat one off the 36 hole lead, but still added his fourth top 10 in seven starts. … Cameron Davis (T8) hasn’t MC in two tries. … 2014 winner Russell Henley (T8) also won here in his second attempt. … Defending champion Keith Mitchell (MC) could not join Jack Nicklaus as the only back-to-back winner. … Tom Lewis (T47) shared the first round lead with 66. … Cut was 3-over 143. … 66 was the low round of the week. … Only 5 bogey-free rounds. … Least amount of bogeys made for the week was NINE. … Course ranked third hardest on TOUR.

2019: Keith Mitchell (-9, 271)

Posted a final round 67 to defeat Brooks Koepka (not entered) and Rickie Fowler by a shot. … First win on TOUR in his 40th start. … Sat one off the 54 hole lead. … Co-led after 36 holes for the first time. … One of five players to post all four rounds par or better. … Won in his second attempt at the event (MC). … Highest winning score on TOUR since the 2018 Honda Classic. … Entered the week MC-MC but opened the calendar with T16 at Sony. … First top 10 since 2018 John Deere Classic.

Notables:

2017 winner Rickie Fowler (T2) closed 66-67 for his second podium in four years. … Lucas Glover (T4) opened and closed with 66. … Vijay Singh (6th) posted all four rounds at par or better including a 65 in Round 3. … 54-hole leader Wyndham Clark (T7) shot 72 from the final group on his debut. … Kyoung-Hoon Lee (T7), also on debut, posted 71 playing with Clark. … Jim Furyk (T9) hit the top 10 in his second event since 2012. … Justin Thomas (T30) couldn’t become the first player in forever to defend. … Brian Harman (not entered) and his course record of 61 wasn’t bothered as 63 was the low round of the week. … Jhonattan Vegas (T16) opened bogey-free with 66. … Cut was 2-over 142. … Just five bogey-free rounds. … Course ranked as the second hardest NON major of the season.

2018: Justin Thomas (Not Entered; -8, 272)

Defeated Luke List on the first playoff hole to win for the eighth time on TOUR. … Fired 65-68 on the weekend to force playoff. … Sat one off the lead after 54 holes. … Posted career-best 65 at Champion in Round 3. … Started a streak of three straight winners here leading the field in Strokes-Gained: Tee to Green. … Won on fourth attempt. … First playoff at the event since 2015 (Harrington defeats Berger on Monday). … T9 week before at Riviera continued his streak of four consecutive top 25s on TOUR.

Notables:

Luke List (P2) picks up his career-best paycheck after holding the 54 and co-36 hole leads. … First round leader Alex Noren (3rd) played 12-under around his second round 75. … Byeong Hun An (T5) closed 69-65. … Jamie Lovemark (7th) shared the 36 hole lead with List. … Kelly Kraft (T8) posted 66 on Saturday to join the fight. … Defending champion and all-time money leader at Honda Rickie Fowler (MC) didn’t see the weekend. … Cut was 5-over 145. … Only six bogey-free rounds for the week. … Round 2 saw only 13 scores in the red. … First year for brand-new TifEagle Bermuda greens. … Third most difficult event on TOUR (all events) in 2018 season.

Key stat leaders

Top golfers in each statistic on the 2019-2020 PGA TOUR are listed only if they are scheduled to compete this week.
* – Top 10 finish here since 2015 or past champion

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