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Weekly Tour Recap: The Bridgestone Inviational and The Barracuda Championship

DJ Bridgestone

DJ Holds On At The Bridgestone For Second Win In A Row

Dustin Johnson fired off a final round 66 to cap off an impressive week at the Bridgestone Invitational, held last weekend at Firestone Country Club in Akron, Ohio, marking his second victory in a row on Tour.  Johnson outlasted the likes of the top two players in the world in Jason Day and Jordan Spieth (both finished T-3), in a field that included seven of the World’s top ten players.  Johnson’s stellar week included three sub-70 rounds, with back-to-back 66’s on Saturday and Sunday, in a tournament that only yielded nine players scoring under par for the week.

Johnson came into Sunday at 2-under par, three strokes back from 54-hole leaders Jason Day and Scott Piercy.  While Johnson had a pretty impressive front nine, carding three birdies with only one bogey to move to 4-under, it was the back nine that yielded the real fireworks.  While a couple of other big names like Spieth and Matt Kuchar had moved up the leaderboard to 3-under, all eyes were on Johnson’s group and the final pairing of Day and Piercy.

DJ poured in two birdies at the par-4 13th and 14th holes to move to 6-under, into a tie with Piercy but still remained one off of Day’s pace of 7-under.  After that, things got very interesting.  Piercy made back-to-back bogeys on the 12th and 13th to drop back to 4-under, and then maintained that position after his birdie at the 14th was followed up by a dismal bogey-4 at the 15th, keeping him two strokes back of Johnson.  Day, meanwhile, stepped up to the par 3 15th with a one stroke lead, and like Piercy, also made a bogey-4, moving him into a tie with Johnson.

It is at this point of the story where the World Number One, Jason Day, collapsed.  At the par 4 16th, Day hooked his drive left behind the gallery and faced a seemingly impossible punch out which many thought wouldn’t get back to the fairway.  Not only did he reach the fairway, but he flew the gallery on the opposite side of the hole leaving him another tough lie from the rough.  It didn’t stop there, as Day’s third shot found the drink, and he concluded the hole with a double-bogey 7, dropping him to 4-under for the tournament and a shot behind DJ.  Simultaneously to Day’s collapse, DJ poured in yet another birdie at the 17th, and seemed to have all but locked up the victory with a two stroke lead over Day and three shots ahead of Piercy.

At 18, however, DJ hooked his drive left, which was followed by a chunked approach from the rough (been there, done that).  He finished the 18th with a bogey to sit at 6-under par, but nobody was able to catch him, as Piercy birdied 18 to finish one back, and Day closed with a finishing bogey to bring him to 3-under and three shots back.

The victory is the second in a row for Dustin Johnson, following his first ever Major Championship victory at the US Open two weeks ago at Oakmont.  It is also Johnson’s eleventh win on the PGA tour, during a streak in which Johnson has won a Tour event nine years straight, currently the longest streak on Tour.  DJ’s game seems to finally be coming into full form, so look out for him to continue his hot streak heading into the Open Championship at Royal Troon Golf Club in Scotland in a few weeks.

DJ Bag

Dustin Johnson’s Winning What’s In The Bag

Driver: TaylorMade M1 460 – 10.5° (Fujikura Speeder Evolution 2.0 Tour Spec 661X)

Fairway wood: TaylorMade M1 – 17° (Aldila RIP Alpha 90X)

Irons: TaylorMade UDI– 2 iron (Project X HZRDUS Black 105 X),  Taylormade 2014 Tour Preferred MB – 3 – PW (True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100)

Wedges: TaylorMade Tour Preferred EF – 52°, 60° (KBS Tour Wedge Black Nickel 130X)

Putter: Titleist Scotty Cameron Newport 2 GSS prototype

Ball: TaylorMade Tour Preferred X

Chalmers Barracuda

Greg Chalmer’s Claims First Tour Victory At The Barracuda

42 year old Greg Chalmers captured his first ever PGA Tour victory last week at the Montreaux Golf and Country Club in Reno, Nevada, host to the 2016 Barracuda Championship.  Chalmer’s finished the week at +43 to finish six points ahead of fellow American Gary Woodland.  While +43 may look like a score our very own Bill Bush might shoot on the course (just kidding, it’s probably closer to my score), it definitely isn’t a typo.  The Barracuda Championship is the only Tour event played in the Stableford scoring format.  For those who aren’t familiar, in this format players accrue points based on their score to par on each hole.  A par scores zero points, +2 for a birdie, +5 for an eagle, and +8 for a double eagle.  If you get a hole in one on a par five, you’re just a liar.  On the flip side, a bogey loses a point (-1) and a double bogey or worse loses you three (-3).  Essentially, bogeys don’t hurt as bad, and birdies are way more helpful.

Chalmers started out hot, scoring a +14 in the first round, good enough for second place out of the gates.  His second round score of +10 got Chalmers the 36-hole lead, and he never looked back.  While Chalmers started slow on Sunday with two bogies (-2 points total), he bounced back with a birdie on the fourth (+2 points) which got him back to even for the day.  With the course playing much harder Sunday than it did for the previous three rounds, Chalmers stumbled on the first eight holes of the back nine, carding three bogeys and one birdie, a net of -1 point for the day.  This left the door open for Gary Woodland, who was tied for the lead going to the 17th tee.  Woodland lipped out a short birdie putt, and knew he needed at least a birdie on 18 to make a run at the title.  Knowing he was down one point and needing a birdie, Woodland went for the par-5 18th green in two, and came up short into the bunker.  After a great sand play, Woodland left his twelve foot putt to three feet for par, which would at least give him a shot at a playoff, with Chalmers making bogey on the 17th.  Woodland, however, missed the three footer and made bogey, dropping him to a score of +37 for the week.  Sitting at +39 on the 18th tee box, Chalmers just needed to avoid a double bogey to secure a victory.  His second shot in to the par 5, which many thought was going to be a lay up, ran up the green to six feet.  Chalmers put the icing on the cake by draining his eagle putt, worth five points, and securing the victory by six points over Woodland.

The win at the Barracuda is the first ever victory for Greg Chalmers, snapping what was the longest active streak of PGA Tour starts without a victory at three hundred and eighty six starts without a win.  Well, no worries now, Greg, you can set that number back to ZERO.  Not only does this put a notch in the win column for Chalmers, but it also gets him a two year exemption on Tour, a spot in both the Open Championship and PGA Championships, three hundred FedEx Cup points, and a berth in the Players Championship next year.  Not bad for a weekend’s work Greg.

Chalmers bag

Greg Chalmers’s Winning What’s In The Bag

Driver: Titleist 917 D2 Prototype – 8.5° (Fujikura Speeder 757 Evolution S)

Fairway wood: Taylormade Aeroburner – 15° (Mitsubishi Rayon Diamana W-Series X)

Hybrid: Titleist 816 H2 – 19° (Aldila Rogue Black 85X)

Irons: Titleist 716 CB – 3 – 9 (KBS Tour V X-Flex)

Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM6 –  46°, 50°, 58° (KBS Tour V X-Flex)

Putter: Bobby Grace Amazing Grace

Ball: Titleist Pro V1X

Jason Day

Shake Up In The Top 10

With Dustin Johnson winning yet another big tournament this year, there was a little bit of a shake up in the Official World Golf Rankings this week.  With his win, DJ surpassed former number two Jordan Spieth, taking the second spot behind Jason Day.  Spieth now sits in the third spot, followed by Rory McIlroy, who’s spot remained unchanged.  Bubba Watson moved up to the fifth spot, swapping spots with Sweeden’s Henrik Stenson.  The only other change is Justin Rose dropping out of the top ten for the first time in a long time, replaced by South African Branden  Grace, who has been playing exceptionally well as of late.  While rankings are just numbers, and like Greg Chalmers showed us this week, anyone can win on any given week, that’s still a lot of moving and shaking for one week’s worth of golf.  We will see how things shape up after the Open in a few weeks.

Tommy O'Connell
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