While the PGA Tour staged its first full-field event of the New Year, the European Tour kicked off 2014 with a select-field tournament in South Africa. Here’s a look back at the weekend:
Jimmy Walker walks with biggest payday of career
After seven years and 187 tournaments, Jimmy Walker finally nabbed his first victory on the PGA Tour, the Frys.com Open back in October, which was the first event of the 2013-14 season. Five starts later and four days before his 35th birthday, Walker collected his second career PGA win. He dropped five back-nine birdies – including three in a row on holes 15-17 – and carded a final-round 7-under 63 on Sunday at the Sony Open in Honolulu. The one-shot victory over 54-hole leader Chris Kirk gave Walker a $1.008 million payout, the largest of his career (he collected $900k for the Frys.com victory).
Louis Oosthuizen takes Volvo Champions
Down in Durban, South Africa, Louis Oosthuizen defended his title at the European Tour’s Volvo Champions, which features only 36 players. The South African sank two crucial birdies on his final two holes to top countryman Branden Grace by a stroke. Oosthuizen’s 4-under 68, which included an eagle at No. 8, on Sunday gave him his seventh career title on the Euro Tour.
Charl Schwartzel hit the road – literally
Down the leaderboard in a tie for 15th was another South African, Charl Schwartzel. He finished nine strokes of the pace, but turned in the shot of the tournament, and the early frontrunner for shot of the year. On the par-4 16th hole on Saturday, Schwartzel’s poor drive left his ball sitting on a road. So he played it right from that spot. And his second shot miraculously sailed over some trees, hit the green a foot from the cup, and stopped about five feet away. Unfortunately, he missed the putt.
Two double eagles in one day
However, can Schwartzel’s shot be considered tops in a tournament that featured an albatross? That’s also known as a double eagle, or three shots under par. Joost Luiten did the deed on the par-5 10th hole with a 7-iron from 248 yards out in South Africa on Friday. That matches the total of double eagles on the European Tour from last year.
But that wasn’t even the only double eagle of the day! Out in Hawaii later on, James Hahn dropped his second shot on the par-5 ninth hole with a 6-iron from 191 yards out. There were only two albatrosses on the PGA Tour in 2013.
Jordan Spieth is human
After the second-place finish last week at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions, and the strong performance as a rookie at the Presidents Cup, and the T-2 finish at last year’s Tour Championship, we were beginning to wonder if Jordan Spieth remembered what a bad day of golf was. But he experienced one on Friday (relatively speaking), when the 20-year-old shot a 1-over 71 and missed the cut at the Sony Open. That marks his first missed cut in a non-major event since April 26, 2013, at the Zurich Classic.
Related Links: Jimmy Walker Wins Frys.com Open