An exciting Sunday on Tour with a great finish - Honda Classic Recap
The first leg of the Florida Swing is behind us, and we got a little bit of everything in an electric week on the PGA Tour, including a first time winner. Keith Mitchell had ice in his veins on the 72nd hole, making only his 3rd putt of the week from outside 15 feet to get to -9 and avoid a playoff with Brooks Koepka and Rickie Fowler. While the golf fan in me (and the gambler who had Brooks winning outright) would have loved to see that, you’ve got to hand it to Mitchell, who started the day bogey-bogey and rebounded to shoot -5 the remaining 16 holes – including -1 in the Bear Trap. His 2nd shot on the 18th looked pretty close to the lip of the bunker, but he laid it up to a number he liked and gave himself an uphill putt for the win. It’s a life changing moment for a guy making only his 40th career PGA start, and he’ll look to keep the momentum going with The Players and The Masters both around the corner.
Saturday was a wild day at PGA National with Sungjae Im, tied for the 36 hole lead, getting a case of the hooks en route to shooting 77. He followed that up with a 71 today to end up at +2, an 8 stroke increase from Friday afternoon. Last year’s Web.com Tour regular season money leader, just 20 years old, we definitely haven’t seen the last of Im, who will surely learn from this weekend going forward. Its only a matter of time before we see him lift a trophy. (His swing is… interesting – if you haven’t seen it, find it on YouTube. He has a slow takeaway and looks like he pauses at P2 in the backswing, but it is pure.)
Another Web.com graduate, Wyndham Clark, came out -5 through 7 on Saturday and looked to be in firm control before grinding through his last 27. His decision on 18 to go for it from 260 in the trees led to a bogey and a 71, but he’s now got back-to-back Top 10s and has made 9 out of 11 cuts in his first season on Tour. A decorated college player with a hell of story, I hope we’re seeing the beginning of a successful career for Clark.
Events like The Honda Classic are great for the PGA Tour. The mix of established stars like Rickie and Brooks with young guns/recent Web.com Tour graduates is a great way to introduce casual fans to players that they might not have heard of before who can absolutely stripe it. We even saw the resurgence of Vijay, who shot even in the final group today, good enough for solo 6.
Next up in the Florida Swing is the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill, looking forward to another good week in the 2019 season.