To begin with some personal gloating, I predicted Sang-Moon Bae’s Frys.com win in my preview article last week.
The kid didn’t disappoint. His efforts on Thursday and Saturday secured a huge lead heading into Sunday which he never relinquished despite closing out the tournament with a one over 73. The disappointing 73 meant he became the first player to win a PGA Tour event with a final round over par since Ben Crane at the St. Jude Classic in June. I doubt he will care though.
The fact is no one got within two of him on the final day. Coasting in to victory and 500 FedEx Cup points was somewhat surprising for the South Korean 28-year-old given his relatively weak putting performance. Bae ranked 44th in strokes gained putting for the week and took 31 putts in the final round; proving that some exemplary ball striking and scrambling can deliver wins.
Bae held off challenges from Steven Bowditch and several Ryder Cup notables in the field. Hunter Mahan had the best finish (T3), while Lee Westwood finished T12, Matt Kuchar (T21) and Jimmy Walker a disappointing 63rd. Bowditch’s second place was especially surprising, not because of his ability, but due to his wayward swinging that saw him T67 in fairways hit and T71 in greens in regulation.
There were some shakes. Bae made bogeys at 11,13, and 14 during his final nine. However he already looks mentally tougher than he has in devious years, and closed it out with four straight pars.
Some big names also jumped in on the first page of the leaderboard. Joining Mahan in a tie for third was Retief Goosen, Hideki Matsuyama, Martin Laird and Bryce Molder.
Bae’s at it again this week in the PGA Tour’s next start. More on that below
Shriners Hospitals for Children Open
The PGA Tour now moves to TPC Summerlin in Las Vegas. The course is described as a 7,255 yard par 71 roaming through canyons and arroyos of the Nevada desert. It’s well known for Tiger Woods’ first professional victory in 2006 , and it’s affiliations with pop superstar Justin Timberlake.
The most interesting stretch of holes should be from 15th home. A drivable par four, is followed by another birdie chance at the par 5 16th, then comes the water logged 17th and the tight closing triumph. That said, rounds in the 70s won’t win here.
No major changes to the field this week. Although Billy Horschel makes his first appearance post FedEx Cup, loads of money, and a new baby. There will be plenty of punter interest in his ability to reprise his feats of September. Webb Simpson lines up again after his win here last year; so too does Martin Laird a winner here in 2009 and coming off the back of a tied third effort last week.
Billy Horschel – $16 – Unibet
Hideki Matsuyama – $21 – Betvictor
Webb Simpson – $29 – Sportsbet
Steven Bowditch – $101 – Luxbet
Tony Finau – $67 – Topbetta
Sang-Moon Bae – $56 – Bet365
Not mentioned above but I’m going for Cameron Tringale ($45). Solid last week. 3 made cuts out of 4 at TPC Summerlin with a T11 in his first appearance in 2010.
Bet on Henrik Stenson to become the BMW PGA Championship Winner.
Back Australia to take the Ashes home with them.
Back Rafael Nadal to become the Mens French Open Winner.
Back One For Arthur to win the Grand National.
Back Mexico to win the Confederations Cup.