5 Things: Blixt rallies for win; Spieth falters
Monday, July 8, 2013
Jonas Blixt used five birdies – including a clutch 4-footer at the par-4 16th – to secure his second career PGA Tour victory Sunday, clearing four others by two shots at the Greenbrier Classic in White Sulphur Springs, W.Va.
Here are 5 Things to Know from The Old White TPC:
For Your Game: Jonas Blixt
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1. IT'S JONAS, BRO: No, he's not a part of the Disney boy band, but Blixt is building a bigger brand for himself after his second victory in less than a year.
Behind a 3-under 67, Blixt overcame a more than three-hour rain delay and a four-stroke overnight deficit to secure the victory – his first top-10 finish of the season.
But more than Sunday's victory, Blixt secures a spot in the 2014 Masters after his previous Tour victory – the 2012 Frys.com Open – did not earn him an automatic berth into the tournament he covets the most.
"(It's) a dream come true. I watched (the Masters) when I was a kid. I went there a couple years ago. I want to be there," said Blixt. "It is a special place. It is like a religious experience being there."
The victory came out of nowhere for the 29-year-old Florida State product, missing eight of 16 cuts heading into Greenbrier, with his best finish a T-11 at Colonial.
But a clean scorecard, including two birdies, on his outward nine gave him more opportunities to take chances on the back.
His best shot came after a poor drive on the par-4 16th, finding the left rough. But his second shot came up 4 feet short of the cup, even yelling at the ball "to be good." He made the putt to put pressure on Johnson Wagner and Jimmy Walker, both playing in the group behind Blixt.
The final-round 67 was Blixt's best Sunday of the season.
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2. FOUR! It was crowded on the leaderboard below Blixt, with 54-hole leader Johnson Wagner, Steven Bowditch, Matt Jones and Jimmy Walker finishing T-2.
Wagner (3-over 73) struggled mightily on the back nine, picking up three bogeys in the first six holes to open the door for Blixt. Wagner had led by as many as two shots on his front nine despite being only even at the turn. It was the first time Wagner did not convert on a 54-hole lead in his career.
"I just don't think I had the confidence with the wand today," said Wagner.
PHOTOS: Greenbrier Classic, Round 4
From Jonas Blixt to Louis Oosthuizen, we take a look at the final round at the Greenbrier Classic.
Walker (1-over 71) had the best chance to make something happen over the final stretch, but lipped out for birdie on No. 17 after nearly holing out a long eagle chip at the par 5 and also left a birdie attempt a foot short on No. 14. The T-2 is Walker's fifth top-10 finish, including a third place at Pebble Beach. He has made 16 of 18 cuts and is nearing $2 million in earnings for the season.
Bowditch and Jones – a pair of Aussies that had combined to miss 14 cuts this season – both fired 2-under 68s to pick up career-best PGA Tour finishes.
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3. ERROR JORDAN: Former Texas All-American Jordan Spieth failed to record a birdie on Sunday, carding nine pars to start his round and then taking himself out of striking distance with bogeys at Nos. 10, 13 and 17.
The 3-over 73 is Spieth's fourth Sunday above par in 11 weekends on the PGA Tour. It was also his 10th over-par weekend round.
Spieth couldn't get anything going with his putter Sunday, missing prime birdie opportunities on Nos. 2 and 9, both hitting the edge. He averaged two putts per green in regulation Sunday, a half-stroke worse than his 1.5 in Saturday's 3-under 67.
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4. OLDIES, BUT GOODIES: With a field full of the Tour's young stars, it was a pair of veterans who put on a show Sunday at Greenbrier.
Tom Watson, a member at Greenbrier, closed the tournament with a 3-under 67, his third round in the 60s for the tournament. Watson, 63, had six birdies and two bogeys on Sunday, finishing in the top 10 in driving accuracy for the week at more than 82 percent. He also had nothing worse than a bogey this week in ending the tournament at 4 under.
Davis Love III, 49, also finished with a 3-under 67, propelling himself to T-9, his first top 10 of the season. The finish – coming a week after withdrawing from AT&T National after an 83 in the first round – clinched the 28th consecutive season in which Love had a top 10 on the PGA Tour.
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5. SHORT SHOTS: The final round was delayed by 3 hours and 20 minutes Sunday, the 15th tournament delayed by weather this season. . . . Jim Herman posted a 5-under 65 Sunday for the low round of the day. . . . 2012 champion Ted Potter Jr. finished with a 3-under 67 to move into the top 10 at 9 under. . . . Amateur Michael Kim posted an even-par 70, including a birdie at the finishing par-3 18th, to end the tournament at 4 under. . . . Kenny Perry was the only player with an eagle at the par-5 12th Sunday, putting his second shot to about 5 feet. Perry shot a 1-under 69. . . . Justin Leonard carded a 12-over 82 Sunday, moving from 5 under to 7 over for the tournament.