Posts Tagged ‘TPC Sawgrass’

The Players Championship Final Round

Sunday, May 10th, 2009

Henrik Stenson wins the 2009 Players Championship in impressive style shooting 12 under par for the tournament. Starting the day T2 at 6 under par Henrik put on an imposing display today shooting a bogey free 6 under par 66 to win his biggest tournament ever. Alone in second place is Ian Poulter at 8 under par, T3 John Mallinger and Kevin Na, T5 Jim Furyk, Brian Davis and Ben Crane at 6 under, Tiger Woods takes the 8th spot at 5 under par, T9 Aaron Baddely, Vijay Singh, Tim Clark, David Toms and Alex Cejka at 4 under par to round out the top 10.

Alex Cejka bogeyed 1, 5, 6, 8, 12 & 13, had a double on 4 and a birdie on 10. His 7 over and Stenson’s 6 under combined for a 13 shot swing. What made Cejka disintegrate? It couldn’t have been pressure from Tiger since TW had 4 bogeys himself albeit tempered with 3 birdies. It makes little difference now, it’s just that not a soul on this planet had ever enjoyed a 5 stroke lead going into the final round at this tournament, then to throw it away, he took it like a man though. I didn’t see him throw any clubs or swear at nobody in particular throughout the day. How about Aaron Baddely and Vijay Singh coming back from T65 and T55 respectively to bring it in at T9, Bads started dead last alone in the first group off the tee this morning.

Final key stats for the tournament are: Scoring average Henrik Stenson at 69, field average was 72.69, Driving distance Bubba Watson 308.5 yards with the field averaging 286.3, Driving accuracy Jeff Klauk too the honor with 80.36% while the field averaged 63.11%, Brian Davis led in GIR with 72.22% and the field average was 61.2%, Scrambling was led by Ian Poulter at 83.87% with the field averaging 53.66% and Putting was led by Luke Donald with 25.75 and the field average was at 28.87. The toughest hole for the tournament was 14 and the easiest was 16.

Congratulations to Henrik Stenson. This is his second PGA Tour victory and the first in his last 27 starts. His first coming at the WGC Accenture Match Play in 2007, while he hasn’t won many he apparently likes the big ones. This round ranked as the fourth lowest final round by a Players Champion. Eclipsing Calvin Peete who also shot a 66 in the final round back in 1985, but Calvin only won by 3 strokes and Henrik won by four. While I didn’t expect Henrik to win this week, I did have him in my foursome in the fantasy league, the rest of my foursome didn’t fair as well. I can only start TW 7 more times and decided to save him this week, guess I should have used him but hindsight is always 20/20. Again congratulations to Mr. Stenson on a very fine performance indeed.

The Players Championship Round 3

Saturday, May 9th, 2009

Alex Cejka maintains his lead after three rounds of play. Shooting an even par round for a cumulative 11 under for the tournament, Alex enjoys a 5 shot lead heading into the final round Sunday. Six players are T2 at 6 under par, Tiger Woods, Retief Goosen, Jonathon Byrd, Ben Crane, Henrik Stenson and Ian Poulter. Brian Davis, John Mallinger and Kevin Na are all 5 under and round out the top ten at T8. Woody Austin and Kenny Perry shared the best rounds of the day with 68’s each moving from T61 to T11, 4 other players are tied in the 11th spot with Perry and Austin. The course played tougher today despite the favorable weather conditions. Angel Cabrera, Jason Dufner and David Toms each shot 5 over and took a considerable drop down the leaderboard. Charley Hoffman, Jeev M. Singh and Aaron Baddely each shot 4 over. Several players were at 3 over and despite his T2 status Ian Poulter has to be disappointed having lost 3 shots to the leader. The following made the cut but did not finish, after the third round they were over 218, my understanding is that it constitutes a cut after the cut; Robert Karlsson, Hunter Mahan, Martin Laird, Nathan Greene, KJ Choi, Stewart Cink, Bob Estes, Fred Funk, Graeme McDowell, Steve Marino, Dustin Johnson and Rod Pampling.

Key stats for the tournament to date are Alex Cejka leading in scoring average with 68.33 the field average is 72.54, Bubba Watson leads in driving distance at 305.5 with the field average at 285.8, Alex Cejka also leads in driving accuracy at 83.33% the field average is 63.08, Brian Davis leads in GIR at 77.78% while the field is averaging 61,32%, Ian Poulter leads in scrambling at 81.82% and the field average is 54.04%, Charley Hoffman leads in putting with 25.33 putts and the field average is 28.78. The toughest hole remains 14 this year and the easiest has been 16. The island green at 17 has played the easiest it has played in 12 years. I noticed the rough caught several balls near the pylons that were headed for the drink, whether that is thicker or taller than in past years I can’t say, but balls that would have surely been wet in the past couple years were getting caught in the rough.

Since Tiger was the first in at 6 under, he will be paired with Cejka in the final group, they will tee off at 2:25, Goosen and Byrd will tee off at 2:14, Crane and Stenson at 2:03, Poulter and Davis at 1:52, Mallinger and Na at 1:41 and the Perry/Austin group will tee off at 1:30. The 1:30 group could be an interesting one to watch. A lot will be made of the intimidation factor with Tiger being in the final group with Cejka during the telecast. If Tiger is to come back and win this thing, he needs to hit his fairways, if he does that he may in fact pressure Cejka into mistakes. If he doesn’t hit his fairways and Cejka does I’d say Cejka has it in the bag. Don’t get me wrong a 5 shot lead is by no means secure and I was a little disappointed in Alex’s play in that I thought he started laying up way too soon. It was like from 13 on he was just playing it safe or playing not to lose but there is still a day left to play. Tiger came back from 5 shots down to defeat Sean O’Hair just a couple weeks back and he can do it again, but he had help from O’Hair in that win whether or not that was the intimidation factor or not is left up to each of us to decide on our own. Just saying, Alex, make him earn it if he is to win, play your game, keep it in the short grass and aim for the pins, if you do that you can win the biggest game of your career.

The Players Championship Round 2

Friday, May 8th, 2009

Alex Cjeka has taken the lead by 2 strokes over his nearest competitor; he sets at 11 under par shooting rounds of 66/67. Ian Poulter is alone in 2nd place at 9 under par with rounds of 67/68. At T3 are Kevin Na, Angel Cabrera, Jason Dufner, John Mallinger, Henrik Stenson and David Toms. Na and Cabrera made significant strides up the leaderboard today shooting 6 and 7 under respectively. Four players round out the top ten at T9, those being Ben Crane, Richard S. Johnson, Tim Petrovic and Jeff Overton.

Key stats are Alex Cejka scoring average 66.5 with the field averaging 72.2, J.B. Holmes driving distance at 305.8 with the field average at 284.9, Michael Allen leads in driving accuracy at 85.71% with the field is averaging 63.83%, Steve Stricker leads in Greens in Regulation with 83.33% while the field average is 63.02%, Ryan Moore in scrambling with 85.71% and the field average a mere 54.3% and lastly Kevin Na led in putting with 24.5 putts and the field averaging 28.81. So far the easiest hole has been 14 while the hardest has been 16.

In the disappointment category is Anthony Kim who shot 10 over par today to end at 11 over for his two rounds of this tournament, astoundingly last years Masters Champion Trevor Immelman matched that feet and his Players Championship run is also over this year. Some of the other players missing the cut include: Rory Sabbatini, Rory McIlroy, Freddy Couples, Y.E. Yang, J.B. Holmes, Sean O’Hair, Charlie Wi, Lucas Glover, Vaughn Taylor, Ross Fisher, Davis Love III, Stuart Appleby, D.J. Trahan, Charles Howell III, Will MacKenzie, Adam Scott and Jerry Kelly. I was somewhat surprised the cut remained at even par. That leaves 83 players with 23 of them tied in 61st position. The tour has made efforts to keep the cut as close to 70 players as possible. They have in the past not let some of the players who technically make the cut play on Saturday and Sunday. Be interesting to see what they do with it.

For the Tiger Woods fans he is setting 7 strokes back at 4 under par T22 and for the Phil Mickelson fans he is T61 at even par 11 strokes off the pace. Some of the players who have been struggling of late that made the cut include Ernie Els, Padraig Harrington, Vijay Singh, Sergio Garcia, Jeev M. Singh, KJ Choi and Stewart Cink. It would not be unheard of to make up 11 strokes in two days, but it sure is a long row to hoe.

The Players Championship Round 1

Friday, May 8th, 2009

Ben Crane leads the way shooting a 65, just two shots off the course record. Alex Cjeka, John Mallinger and Richard S. Johnson are T2 with rounds of 66. Nine players are T5 to round out the top 10, those being Camilo Villegas, Brad Adamonis, Ian Poulter, David Toms, Retief Goosen, Scott Verplank, Jonathon Byrd, Jason Dufner and Bubba Watson. Tiger Woods is 1 under with a 71 and Phil Mickelson is 1 over with a 73. The projected cut after round 1 is even par.

The talk amongst the players is to expect to see more low scores today as the winds are supposed to be minimal again. Even with the favorable weather conditions 89 balls found their way into water hazards on day 1. Ben Crane led the way in scoring average and putting (65 with 22 putts), Bubba Watson in driving distance (318), Jason Bohn in driving accuracy (92.86%), Martin Laird in GIR (88.89%) and John Mallinger in scrambling (an impressive 100%). There were 57 players under par and 17 players are T58 at even par.

The Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass

Thursday, May 7th, 2009

The stadium course at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, FL would be the third leg of my dream golf excursion, one and two being Augusta and St. Andrews. Some think it should be the fifth major, I won’t go that far myself being somewhat of a tradionalist I like the status quo just the way it is, thank you very much. The fact that it really stands alone makes it unique, the players want to be there, it is their tournament although many are on record as not particularly liking the course and I believe it is because the course outshines the stars.

The course is a Pete Dye design, originally in 1979 and re-designed in 2006. In its current configuration it plays 7,215 yards. The course was ranked 6th in difficulty in 2008 on the PGA Tour. There are 93 sand bunkers, 24 water hazards and the greens run 12 on the stimpmeter. Tees and fairways are 419 bermudgrass, the rough is bermudagrass and the greens are mini-verde bermudagrass. There have been 24 aces recorded 10 at 13, 6 at 17, 5 at 8, and 3 at 3. The course record is 63 shared by Freddy Couples in the 3rd round of 1992 and Greg Norman in the 1st round of 1994. In last years tournament the easiest hole was the 16th a short par 5 that enjoyed 5 eagles, 188 birdies, 195 pars, 35 bogeys, and 4 doubles. The hardest was the 18th a wicked dogleg where accuracy is paramount. It saw 0 eagles, 31 birdies, 202 pars, 146 bogeys, 40 doubles and 8 triples or worse. The most famed hole is the 17th the signature hole at Sawgrass that has had 312 balls dropped into the water around the island green in the past five year’s, it is a wedge for most of the professionals and only plays 137 yards

Televised coverage provided by the Golf Channel Thursday and Friday 9-7 and on NBC Saturday and Sunday from 2-7.