5 Things: Johnson runs away with Hyundai title
Wednesday, January 9, 2013
2013 Hyundai TOC winner: Dustin Johnson
Check out photos of the 2013 Hyundai Tournament of Champions winner Dustin Johnson at Plantation Course at Kapalua.
The first event of the 2013 PGA Tour season is in the books. Finally. The Hyundai Tournament of Champions is complete after high winds delayed the start three days, with Dustin Johnson collecting his seventh PGA Tour victory. He shot 16-under 203 (69-66-68) to finish four shots ahead of defending champion Steve Stricker:
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1. HARD-EARNED: Kapalua’s length and expansive fairways seemed perfect for Johnson. He confirmed that on Monday’s 36-hole day, making just three bogeys (against 12 birdies and an eagle) to take a three-shot lead into Tuesday's final round.
The last day was no walk in the park, though. He was just one shot ahead with five holes remaining after driving into a native area left of the 13th fairway and making double bogey. He regained his three-stroke advantage by holing a 28-yard pitch for eagle at the next hole, though. He also birdied the back nine’s two par 5s, Nos. 15 and 18.
"That was probably the worst swing I made all day, and it cost me a couple shots," Johnson said of his tee shot at 13. "I was, like, Oh, no, here it goes again. But I came right back, focused and hit two great shots."
Johnson, who earned his PGA Tour card in his first Q-School attempt (2007), has won in each of his first six seasons on Tour. He also has won the past three 54-hole events on the PGA Tour.
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2. KING OF KAPALUA: Stricker didn’t win this week, but he continued an impressive streak at Kapalua. He has finished in the top 10 in his past five appearances here, including a victory in 2012 and two runner-up finishes (2008, '13). He shot par or better in all 19 rounds. He’s 88 under in his past five Kapalua appearances.
Stricker had success this week despite feeling a shooting pain down his left leg during his swing. “My tempo was good because I can't swing at it very hard, and that's a blessing in this wind,” Stricker said after Monday’s two rounds.
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3. STRONG START: Brandt Snedeker started his FedEx Cup defense with a third-place finish at Kapalua. An early final-round run put him in contention for the title. He couldn’t sustain the momentum, though.
Snedeker played Nos. 3-6 in 5 under, including an eagle at the par-5 fifth hole, to reach 11 under for the tournament and get within one shot of the lead. He bogeyed the next three holes, though. He shot 4-under 69 Tuesday to finish third at 10-under 209.
"I knew I needed to do something special, and I knew I needed to make a bunch of birdies," Snedeker said. "It was close, but wasn't quite there."
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4. FOWLER'S FINE FINISH: Rickie Fowler’s final-round 67 was Tuesday’s best score, and it allowed him to finish sixth in his Hyundai Tournament of Champions debut. Fowler made six birdies and no bogeys in his first 15 holes Tuesday. He made double bogey on the 17th before hitting his 285-yard second shot on the par-5 18th to 5 feet and making eagle. It was Fowler’s first top-10 in an official PGA Tour event since a T-5 at the Crowne Plaza Invitational in May, a span of nine starts.
Fowler was hampered by an injury (inflamed sacroiliac joints in his lower back) during the second half of the 2012 season.
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5. SHORT SHOTS: Of the 30 who teed it up, 22 broke par for 54 holes. Only George McNeill (79-73-73) and Ted Potter Jr. (75-75-73) failed to break par at least once. . . . Scott Piercy was 6 under and in good position for a top 10 when he came home in 40 to shoot 73 and stumble into a share of 13th. . . . For the tournament there were 11 eagles – five at the par-5 18th, one at the par-4 14th, two at the par-4 sixth, three at the par-5 fifth. . . . Dustin Johnson had two of the eagles, while nine different players had one each. . . . Of the nine first-year players here, Rickie Fowler and Tommy Gainey fared best. They tied for sixth at 8-under 211. . . . Ryan Moore made just five birdies in three rounds, only one on the front. . . . As it typically does, the par-3 eighth played toughest for the 54 holes (3.200) but in Round 3, it was the opening hole that was most difficult (4.267), yielding no birdies. . . . We nearly went the entire tournament without anything worse than a par at the 18th, but no. Charlie Beljan hit his second shot wide left and struggled to make 6, the only bogey of the week at the long, downhill hole. . . . In two previous trips to the Plantation Course, Ben Curtis had broken par just once in eight tries. He did it twice in three times this year, opening with 70, closing with 72. . . . In his two trips to this tournament, Brandt Snedeker hasn’t shot higher than 71; he’s 22 under for seven rounds. . . . Kyle Stanley’s struggles continue. He shot 11-over 230 to finish last by five shots. Stanley hasn’t had a top-10 since winning the Waste Management Phoenix Open last February. He has had just five top-25s in 23 starts since that win, and couldn’t even manage to finish in the top-25 in this 30-man field at Kapalua.
- Jim McCabe contributed to this report