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Johnson wins the Hyundai Tournament of Champions

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It took a while for the 2013 PGA Tour season to officially get underway, but when the extreme Maui winds finally died down on Monday, Dustin Johnson made up for lost time with a two-day birdie-filled sprint to the finish.

His double bogey on the par-4 13th hole was the only one of the week for the long-hitting 28-year-old, and appeared to open the door for 2012 champion Steve Stricker to repeat his winning ways at Kapalua. But just as quickly as the door opened, Johnson closed it, reclaiming a three-shot lead with a chip-in eagle on the drivable par-4 14th.

Johnson, who prepared for the tournament by playing six practice rounds at the Plantation Course, birdied two of his final four holes to increase his winning margin at four shots over Stricker, finishing with a final-round 68 and a tournament score of 16-under.

It was Johnson’s seventh PGA Tour victory, and strangely, his third win in a 54-hole tournament. The win means that Johnson has now claimed a Tour victory in each of his last six years on Tour, and is the first player since Tiger Woods to win a title in six consecutive years straight out of college.

Unlike many players, who were on the course on Friday and Sunday before their scores were wiped out, Johnson never hit a shot until the opening round on Monday. He concluded the first round tied with Mark Wilson and Nick Watney at 4-under-par, and then overwhelmed the Plantation Course in the afternoon with a 7-under 66 that opened up a three-stroke lead.

Johnson’s margin increased to five shots thanks to three birdies in his opening seven holes of Tuesday‘s final round. However, back-to-back birdies from Stricker to close the front nine and a bogey by Johnson on the ninth trimmed the advantage to two strokes as the final pairing made the turn.

With his third birdie on the par-4 12th in as many rounds, Johnson upped his lead to three, before it fell back to one with his double-bogey on the following hole. Johnson’s performance on No. 13 brought shades of the 2010 U.S. Open to mind, as he searched through brush and trees for a wayward tee shot. He hardly advanced with his escape attempt — but at least it wasn’t the club-turned, left-handed greenside chip that led to his demise two years ago at Pebble Beach.

Johnson quickly responded with a great tee shot to set up his chip-in eagle, and birdie fours on Nos. 15 and 18 then secured the his victory.

Stricker, who announced his intention to play a shortened schedule of 10 to 12 events this season, eased his way through the final round as he dealt with pain down his left leg. After what was surely a tiring 36-holes on Monday, the veteran plodded around the hilly layout, but faced too large a margin and competitor in Johnson to overcome. His Monday rounds (71-67) were punctuated with a chip-in eagle on the closing hole to put himself in Tuesday’s final group.

2012 FedEx Cup Champion Brandt Snedeker challenged Johnson early Tuesday, playing holes Nos. 3 through 6 in 5-under-par. However, a trio of ensuing bogeys derailed Snedeker’s threat of victory. He finished the tournament in solo third at 10-under.

Bubba Watson and Keegan Bradley both fired a tournament total 9-under to round out the top-five for the week. Rickie Fowler nearly matched Johnson’s tournament low round Tuesday, but settled for a 67 as he closed the tournament double-bogey, eagle and finished tied with Tommy Gainey in sixth place.

Some players, including Johnson, will now have a quick turnaround as the Sony Open is slated to kick off on Thursday in Honolulu at Waialae Country Club.

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Tour News

REPORT: Tiger Woods to play in the Genesis Open on Feb 15

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Last season, Tiger Woods withdrew from a press conference at the Genesis Open due to back spasms. This season, Woods will reportedly play in the 2018 Genesis Open at Riviera C.C. in Pacific Palisades, California from February 15-18.

By withdrawing from the 2017 Genesis Open — an event which his Tiger Woods Foundation hosts — Woods ensured that a promising comeback was not to be. At the start of 2017, Woods committed to play in the Farmers Insurance Open, the Omega Dubai Desert Classic, the Genesis Open and the Honda Classic… an aggressive schedule for Woods, who hadn’t played much competitive golf in the previous year due to back injuries and surgeries. Things didn’t go as planned, however, as Woods missed the cut at the Farmers, withdrew after an opening-round 77 in Dubai, and withdrew from the Genesis Open and the Honda.

Since then, Woods has had spinal fusion surgery, and he recently finished T9 at the 18-player 2017 Hero World Challenge. It was there he showed the golfing world — and probably himself, too — that he can still compete among the world’s best golfers when he’s healthy.

At the Hero World Challenge, Woods was consistently hitting 179 mph of ball speed off the tee with his driver, and despite some early concerns with the wedge, he showed prowess around and on the greens. He was yip-less, fast, healthy, and finished 8-under through four rounds. A Tiger Woods comeback seems more plausible now than it has in three years.

Woods will continue to test his game at the 2017 Genesis Open — a start that will come 26 years after competing as a 16-year-old amateur in the 1992 Nissan Open at Riviera. Much like 26 years ago, Woods comes to Riviera as a golfer who needs to prove himself… it’s just that this time around, he has 14 majors and 79 PGA Tour wins to his name.

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Thursday’s Photos from the 2017 PNC Father/Son Challenge

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GolfWRX is live this week from the 2017 PNC Father/Son Challenge at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club in Orlando, Florida.

The 20-team field includes some of the game’s legendary major champions, and their sons. Notable teams include John Daly/Little John Daly, Nick Faldo/Matthew Faldo, Tom Kite/David Kite, Bernhard Langer/Jason Langer, Greg Norman/Greg Norman Jr., Jack Nicklaus/Gary Nicklaus Jr., and Lee Trevino/Daniel Trevino.  The teams will compete in a scramble format over 36 holes to decide the winners of the Willie Park Trophy.

Last year, David Duval and his step-son Nick Karavites took home the trophy, and they are back in the field this year to defend.

Check out our photos below from this year’s event!

Thursday’s Photos

Discussion: See what GolfWRX members are saying about the photos

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Friday’s Photos from the 2017 QBE Shootout

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GolfWRX is live this week from the 2017 QBE Shootout at Tiburon G.C. in Naples, Florida. Formerly known as the Franklin Templeton Shootout, or the Shark Shootout, the unofficial event plays host to 24 of some of the world’s best golfers, competing in a two-person team competition. The format calls for 54 holes; first-round scramble, second-round modified alternate shot, and third-round fourball (or better ball).

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Here is a list of the teams:

  • Daniel Berger-Gary Woodland
  • Keegan Bradley-Brendan Steele
  • Kevin Chappell-Kevin Kisner
  • Jason Dufner-Billy Horschel
  • Harris English-Matt Kuchar
  • Tony Finau-Lexi Thompson
  • Brian Harman-Pat Perez
  • Russell Henley-Kyle Stanley
  • Charley-Hoffman-Zach Johnson
  • Shane Lowry-Graeme McDowell
  • Brandt Snedeker-Bubba Watson
  • Sean O’Hair-Steve Stricker

Last year, Harris English and Matt Kuchar took down the crown, finishing at 28-under par for the event. Of course, they’ll be playing together again this year as the defending champs.

Check out our photos from the 2017 QBE Shootout below!

Friday’s Galleries

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

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