Kapalua, Hawaii – A new decade has begun and Justin Thomas is the first winner of the 2020 PGA Tour season. The 2020 Sentry Tournament of Champions winner is now a 2-time champion at the Kapalua Course also winning in 2017. The 34-man field consists of all the winners from the 2018-2019 wrap-around PGA Tour season, which makes for plenty of competition.
This is an entirely new golf course this year in a sense as Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw replaced every blade of grass with a new strand to better withstand the conditions of Hawaii. They termed it a “refinement.” Most of the course design stayed the same except the greens, where more contours were added in order to gain a variety of pin placements.
The new greens and refinement of the course couldn’t keep the world’s best from going low. The Sunday leader, Xander Schauffele started off the day with a 1-shot advantage over his competitors after posting 2 rounds in the 60s on Thursday and Friday. Patrick Reed posted the low Sunday round with a 7-under to put the pressure back on the leaders at 14-under. Schauffele and Thomas made 11 birdies as a group in the final round even in the windy conditions.
The tournament came down to the final hole with Thomas having a 1-shot lead over Xander on the tee. Both hit the fairway on the long downhill par-5. Thomas went first and came up short with a fairway wood and into the brush which was immediately lost. Xander was able to hit his on the green in two but 3-putted for par. Thomas finished with a bogey, allowing Reed to get into a 3-way playoff between Xander, Reed, & Thomas to decide the victor.
Back to 18. With all 3 players finding their balls in the fairway for the 1st playoff hole, it was a battle of the approach shot. Everyone made birdie except Xander who was eliminated. Reed and Thomas went back to the tee for the 2nd playoff hole. Both made par. Again, back to 18.
3rd playoff hole and Justin Thomas finally broke through, making par to Reeds bogey. This is an electric start for Thomas as he now has 3 wins in his past 7 starts.
Next week, the PGA Tour will remain in Hawaii for a full field event with the 2020 Sony Open.
Justin Thomas WITB:
Driver: Titleist TS3 9.5* (Mitsubishi Diamana ZF 60TX)
3-wood: Titleist TS3 15* (Mitsubishi Tensei CK Pro Blue 80TX)
5-wood: Titleist 915FD 18* (Fujikura Motore Speeder VC 9.2 Tour Spec X)
Putter: Scotty Cameron X5
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