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Schauffele, Thomas both cash-in big at the Tour Championship

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The 2016-17 PGA Tour season came to an exciting end this weekend in Atlanta. The Tour Championship turned into a battle between Xander Schauffele and Justin Thomas, while the FedEx Cup race was down to the final putt. The Web.Com Tour series reached its penultimate week, and there’s still more! Fall Tour Mash, activate!

Justin Thomas wins more fans and even more cash

He didn’t win this week, but “JT” did what needed to be done at East Lake. Thomas parlayed his Dell Technologies Championship in week 2 of the FedEx Cup series into the overall title. With generational rival Jordan Spieth in hot pursuit, Thomas birdied 2 of his final 3 holes on Sunday to leap into second place in the tournament, hopping over Spieth for the series win in the process. Time to rewrite goals for the 2017-18 season, Mr. PGA Champion and now, Mr. FedEx Cup Champion!

Xander Schauffele…It’s so much fun to say

For fans of consonants everywhere, you get to say “Zander SHAUW-fully” for the next year or so, at a minimum. The young man who first captured our imagination at Erin Hills, won big on Sunday. He did what Paul Casey, the third-round leader, could not do: avoid bogeys. Casey had four of them on his card and dropped to 5th place on day 4. Meanwhile, Schauffele had 3 birdies against 1 bogey, including a closing birdie on the par-5 18th, to capture his second PGA Tour title of 2017.

Schauffele also had to sidestep the 2017 FedEx Cup champion on his way to victory. Justin Thomas closed strong, reaching 11-under, but Schauffele came up with two great shots, a heady lag putt, and shaky lip-in to clinch the title in the end.

Lindheim wins DAP in Web.Com finals series

Chasson Hadley may not have won in Cleveland, but he established a hard-to-overcome lead in the Tour Finals on the Web.Com tour. The honors and trophy in C-Land went to Nichols Lindheim, who secured 2017-18 PGA Tour playing privileges with his win, but Hadley’s playoff loss (Rob Oppenheim also went down in extra holes) bumped him to a $170K series lead over Andrew Landry with only the Tour Championship remaining.

Lindheim did his best to give the DAP away, with bogeys on 17 and 18 on Sunday. Having lost the 2016 event in a playoff, he was keen to make amends. With a fair bomb of a putt on the first extra hole, he did just that. In addition to Oppenheim and the victor, eight other golfers also earned PGA Tour cards for the upcoming season.

Langer claims Pebble Beach again on Champions Tour

The name may change, but Langer is king at the event that brings young golfers from The First Tee to the Monterrey Peninsula. Despite challenges from hot Jerry Kelly and even-hotter Scott McCarron, the uber-scorching Langer played steady, birdie-ful golf in California to ink his fourth win of the current campaign.

McCarron uttered a challenge with his opening 63, but Langer was on his heels with a 64 of his own. McCarron faltered in round 2 with a wretched 72, rolling out a carpet to his challengers. He recovered from the funk on Sunday, but could only take third place, 2 strokes behind Kelly. The Minnesotan, twice a recent winner on tour, made a run a Langer with an outward nine of 32. The German champion answered with a 3-birdie stretch of his own on the inward half, and a familiar story was written once again.

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Ronald Montesano writes for GolfWRX.com from western New York. He dabbles in coaching golf and teaching Spanish, in addition to scribbling columns on all aspects of golf, from apparel to architecture, from equipment to travel. Follow Ronald on Twitter at @buffalogolfer.

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PGA Tour Pro and Parkland Alum Nick Thompson is Part of the Solution

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The tragic shooting of 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida moved the entire nation in a deep and profound way. The tragic events touched many lives, including PGA Tour Professional Nick Thompson, who attended Stoneman Douglas for four years and was born and raised just minutes from there.

On our 19th Hole podcast, Thompson described in detail just how connected he is to the area and to Douglas High School.

“That’s my alma mater. I graduated in ’01. My wife Christen and I graduated in ’01. I was born and raised in Parkland…actually Coral Springs, which is a neighboring city. Stoneman Douglas actually is just barely in Parkland but it’s pretty much right on the border. I would probably guess there are more kids from Coral Springs that go to Stoneman Douglas than in Parkland. So I spent 29 years in Coral Springs before moving to Palm Beach Gardens where I live now, but I was born and raised there. I spent four years of high school there and it’s near and dear to my heart.”

Thompson’s siblings, LPGA Tour star Lexi Thompson and Web.com pro Curtis, did not attend Douglas High School.

His reaction to the news was immediate and visceral.

“I was in shock,” said Thompson. “I just really couldn’t believe it because Coral Springs and Parkland are both wonderful communities that are middle to upper class and literally, like boring suburbia. There’s not much going on in either city and it’s kind of hard to believe that it could happen there. It makes you think almost if it could happen there, it could happen anywhere. I think that’s one of the reasons why it has really gotten to a lot of people.”

Thompson knew personally some of the names that have become familiar to the nation as a result of the shooting, including Coach Aaron Feis, who died trying to save the lives of students.

“I went to high school with Aaron Feis,” said Thompson. “He was two years older than me, and I knew of him…we had a fair amount of mutual friends.”

And while the events have provoked much conversation on many sides, Thompson was moved to action.

“We started by my wife and I, the night that it happened, after we put our kids to bed, we decided that we needed to do something,” Thompson said. “The first thing we decided was we were going to do ribbons for the players, caddies, and wives. We did a double ribbon of maroon and silver, the school colors, pin them together and wrote MSD on the maroon section. We had the media official put them out on the first tee, so all the players were wearing them. It’s been great.”

“I got together with the media guys and Ken Kennerly, the tournament director of The Honda Classic and they have been amazing. The amount of players that had the ribbons on, I was just watching the coverage to see, is incredible. I actually spoke to Tiger today and thanked him for wearing the ribbon. We really appreciate it, told him I went to high school there. I mean the only thing he could say was that he was sorry, it’s an unfortunate scenario and he was happy to wear the ribbon, do whatever he could.”

Thompson is quick to note the help that he has received in his efforts.

“It’s not just me. My wife has been just as instrumental in getting this done as me. I just, fortunately, have the connection with the PGA Tour to move it in the right direction even faster. I have the luxury of having a larger platform that can get my words out and everything we’re trying to do faster than most people. It’s a subject near and dear to my heart so it was just literally perfect with The Honda Classic coming in town.”

Thompson has also been involved in fundraising that goes to help the survivors and victims’ families. GoFundMe accounts supported by Thompson and the PGA Tour have raised in excess of 2.1 million dollars in just a week.

“One of the most important uses for this money is counseling for victims, for these kids who witnessed this horrific event, or have one degree of separation,” Thompson said. “Counseling for kids who lost a friend or a classmate, who need counseling and to help them with their PTSD essentially. I think that’s one of the most important things is helping all these kids deal with what has happened.”

Thompson acknowledged the fact that the entire Parkland family is activated to help in the healing. As for his efforts, it’s the product of his recognition of just how fortunate his life has been and a heart for service.

“Golf has given so much to me that it was the perfect time to give back even more than I already have. It’s the best we can do. We’re just trying to make a difference. ”

Listen to the entire interview on a special edition of The 19th Hole with Michael Williams on SoundCloud below, or click here to listen on iTunes!

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Tiger changes driver-weight settings, shoots even-par 70 at Honda Classic

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After missing the cut by four strokes at the 2018 Genesis Open last week, Tiger Woods is back at it again this week at the Honda Classic; it’s the first time he’s played in back-to-back PGA Tour events since 2015.

Opting for something other than driver off the tee much of the day, Woods made one double bogey, one bogey, and three birdies en route to an even-par 70.

It’s no secret that Woods has been struggling off the tee of late, especially with the driver. He’s hitting just 35 percent of fairways on the year, and he has already made one driver shaft change (going from a Mitsubishi Tensei CK Pro White 70TX to a Matrix Ozik TP6HDe ahead of the Genesis Open). According to photos on Thursday, it appears Woods has also changed the weight settings in his TaylorMade M3 for a bit more forgiveness and fade-bias (as pictured above). At the Genesis Open and the Farmers Insurance Open, Woods had the M3 driver weights in the forward position, which moves CG (center of gravity) forward and tends to lower spin.

On Thursday, however, Woods hit a slew of long irons and fairway woods off the tee instead of drivers at the 7,100-yard par-70 PGA National… an approach that seemed to work. Well, he hit just 50 percent of the fairways on the day, but that means he’s trending upward.

One of the shots Woods hit with the driver was so far right it was literally laughable… but he managed to make par anyway.

Actually, his double-bogey 7 on the par-5 third hole (his 12th of the day) came after hitting the fairway; he was fumbling on and around the green after hitting his third into a greenside bunker. That blunder aside, three birdies and an even-par round at the always-difficult PGA National leaves Woods currently in T19, obviously well inside the cutline.

Do you think Woods will make the cut? Do you think he can contend to win the tournament?

See the clubs Tiger Woods has in his bag this week at the 2018 Honda Classic.

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Wednesday’s Photos from the 2018 Honda Classic

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GolfWRX is live this week from the 2018 Honda Classic at PGA National’s Champion course (par 70: 7,110 yards) in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.

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The field this week is stacked at the top, and it includes defending-champion Rickie Fowler, 2017 FedEx Champion Justin Thomas, four-time major champion Rory McIlroy, and reigning Masters champion Sergio Garcia, who’s making his first PGA Tour start of 2018. Also in the field is Tiger Woods, who committed to play in the event just last week. Woods is coming off a disappointing missed cut at the 2018 Genesis Open.

Last year, Fowler won by four shots over Morgan Hoffmann and Gary Woodland, despite playing his final round in 1-over par.

Check out our photos from the 2018 Honda Classic below!

Wednesday’s Photos

Discussion: See what GolfWRX members are saying about the photos in our forums.

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