Henrik Stenson slammed the door on his victory at this week’s Deutsche Bank Championship by holing out from the bunker for birdie on the 17th hole, his 71st hole of play for the week. The bunker was the only one Stenson found himself in all week. Since 1992, only three other champions have found themselves in their only bunker for the tournament on the back nine of the final round and recorded a sandsave. But none have come as late in the round as Stenson’s was today. The closest to Stenson today; during his victory at the 1996 Bay Hill Invitational, Paul Goydos recorded his sandsave on the 15th hole of the final round.
During this week’s Deutsche Bank Championship, Henrik Stenson birdied TPC Boston’s par-4 fourth hole in every round. It’s the third time in Stenson’s PGA TOUR career that he has birdied a par-4 hole in each round of a TOUR event. This week’s effort joins the eighth hole at the PGA Championship earlier this year the eighteenth hole at the 2005 British Open.
Jordan Spieth shot a 2-under par 69 in the first round of The Open at Muirfield. Last year as an amateur, Spieth shot a 1-under 69 in the third round of the U.S. Open. Spieth, who turns 20 next Saturday, became just the third teenager in the last 30 years to record a round below par at both the U.S. and British Opens. The others were Ryo Ishikawa (2009 and 2010 British Opens, 2010 and 2011 U.S. Opens) and Matteo Manassero (2009 British Open, 2012 U.S. Open).
Matt Kuchar won the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship, boosting his career record at the event to 15-3 (83%). That’s the highest winning percentage in the history of the event (minimum: 10 matches). Coming into the 2012 tournament, the top spot belonged to Geoff Ogilvy (20-5, 80%).
Zach Johnson lost 6 and 5 to Jason Day today, continuing his string of poor results at the WGC Match Play Championship. Johnson lost opening-round matches to Brian Gay in 2010, Justin Rose in 2011, and Hunter Mahan in 2012. In 2006, Johnson won four matches in a row to make the semifinals.
Wiht his lost to Day, Johnson became the seventh golfer to have recorded both a four-match winning streak and a four-match losing streak in this event. Darren Clarke, Ernie Els, Justin Leonard, Paul Casey, Steve Pate, and Stewart Cink have done that previously.
Sergio Garcia narrowly missed joining Johnson on that list, beating Thongchai Jaiedee in 20 holes to advance. Garcia had lost his three previous matches, coming directly on the heels of winning his first four matches in 2010.
This is the 15-year anniversary of Tiger Woods winning the 1997 Masters Tournament, his first major championship, by 12 shots over the rest of the field. Over those 15 years, Woods is a combined 95 under par at the Masters, 32 shots better than his nearest competitor, Phil Mickelson (-63). Tiger has made 269 par-breakers (birdies and eagles) at the Masters since 1997 while playing a total of 1080 holes. That is a par-breaker percentage of 25%, the highest percentage for any player with more than 10 rounds played since 1997.
Woods won the PGA Tour Player of the Year honor for the first time in 1997. Where have we come since then? In 1997, Ken Griffey Jr. and Larry Walker won MVPs in MLB, Karl Malone won the MVP in 1996-97 in the NBA, Mario Lemieux won the Hart Memorial Trophy in 1996-97 in the NHL, and Brett Favre and Barry Sanders shared the MVP in the NFL.