Henrik Stenson fired a tournament-record tying 22-under-par 262 to win the DBC at TPC Boston in Norton, Mass., on Monday. He defeated American Steve Stricker by two shots and Canadian Graham DeLaet finished two further shots behind in third place alone to round out the podium.
Stenson began Monday three shots behind 54-hole leader Sergio Garcia and needed to make a move. Bogey on the second hole wasn’t in the game plan but he rallied and carded four birdies in his final six holes going out to get back into the race and 19-under. His inward nine was just as consistent as his game has been the entire summer as he carded seven pars and two birdies to cruise to a two-shot victory.
For the week Stenson racked up the second most birdies, 25, and only made three bogeys. He found the bunkers exactly one time this week and he holed the shot for birdie. Stenson’s ball-striking has been on absolute fire this entire summer and this week was not any different. He led the field in GIR and was T10 in driving accuracy. That’s hardly a surprise and that’s why he’s been in contention almost every week since the beginning of June. The pleasant surprise this week was his putting numbers. He entered the week No. 128 in total putting yet he finished 10th in strokes gained-putting and 15th in putts per GIR. There’s little wonder why or how he tied the tournament record! After opening with 67 Stenson lit up TPC Boston in round two for 63 and was on his way. His fired 66-66 in rounds three and four. That’s how you set the tournament record.
Henrik Stenson was ranked No. 230 in the OWGR after he MC at the 2012 Qatar Masters just 18 months ago. Gamers who had the foresight to buy low and hold on have been greatly rewarded this summer but the signs were developing late in 2012. He won the South African Championship last November for his first title since the 2009 PLAYERS. After a first round KO in WGC-Match Play, MC at The Honda Classic and T39 at Puerto Rico Open he finally put four solid rounds together in his T8 finish at Bay Hill. He backed that result the following week with T2 at SHO and he was no longer being overlooked. A solid T18 at Augusta and T5 at THE PLAYERS cemented that he was a viable option in all formats moving forward. He finished T21 at the U.S. Open and then his game got as hot as the summertime temperatures. He racked up T10 in Munich, T3 at Castle Stuart, second at The Open Championship, T2 WGC-BI, third at the PGA and opened with 65 last week at Liberty National before turning back into a human being and finishing T43. I argued last week that he only had FOUR bad holes at The Barclays and that he should feast on an easy course like this. He did. He’s legit. He’s played great on hard courses and easy courses. That’s a great problem to have!
With this victory, Stenson collects $1,440,000, 2500 FedExCup points and moves from No. 13 to No. 1 on the FedExCup points race.
Déjà vu All Over Again?
There have been 38 tournaments this season and the USA has won 30 of them.
There have been 12, first-time winners this season and five players with multiple victories (Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Matt Kuchar Brandt Snedeker and Adam Scott).
Only 16 of the 54-hole leaders or co-leaders have gone on to win the 36, full-field, stroke-play events on the season. Sergio Garcia adds his name to the impressive list of people who have not been able to close the 54-hole deal.
Stenson is one of the four players to win the DBC without winning a major. He’s won the WGC-Match Play and THE PLAYERS so he’s not exactly “off the radar”. He fit the profile of a class player winning here.
Vijay Singh (2008) still is the only person to win the first two legs of the FedExCup Playoffs.
The winners on TOUR (international players in italics) have been Dustin Johnson (28), Russell Henley (24), Brian Gay (41), Tiger Woods FIVE times (37), Phil Mickelson (42) TWICE, Brandt Snedeker (32) TWICE, John Merrick (30) Matt Kuchar TWICE (34), Michael Thompson(27) Scott Brown (29), Kevin Streelman (34), D.A. Points (36), Martin Laird (30), Adam Scott (32) TWICE, Graeme McDowell (33), Billy Horschel (26), Derek Ernst (22), Sang-Moon Bae (26), Boo Weekley (39) Harris English (23), Justin Rose (32), Ken Duke (44) Bill Haas (31), Jonas Blixt (29), Woody Austin (49), Gary Woodland (29), Jason Dufner (36), Patrick Reed (23), Henrik Stenson (37) and 19-year old Jordan Spieth. The young folks (30 and younger) now have 14 victories; the 30-somethings have racked up 19 victories, and the “old folks” (40 and up) have FIVE wins. Steve Stricker couldn’t catch Stenson but finished solo second. Bravo Stricks!
The new bubble boys in Chicago in two weeks will be:
No. 25: Roberto Castro
No. 26: Brendon de Jonge
No. 27: Zach Johnson
No. 28: Harris English
No. 29 Charl Schwartzel
No. 30 Lee Westwood
No. 31 Charles Howell III
No. 32 Kevin Stadler
No. 33 Kevin Chappell
No. 34 Nick Watney
No. 35 Scott Piercy
Nobody has mentioned this in the last two weeks, I know, but the top 30 players after the BMW in two weeks will head to Atlanta for The TOUR Championship at East Lake.
A look at the players who finished in the top 10
Steve Stricker: Mr. Semi-Retired showed up this week and rewarded all the gamers who looked passed his recent hamstring injury to rack up another impressive finish, solo second. Stricker made the cut at eight-under and racked up another 12-under after a 63-67 in rounds three and four which included exactly one bogey. He wanted to play himself on to the Presidents Cup team and he did just that. Stricker also proved to loyal gamers that he knew EXACTLY what he was doing by limiting his schedule this season. His game has been better because of it and his worst finish in the last months is 13th. His worst finish in three majors was T20. Stricker will have massive crowd support at the BMW in suburban Chicago. That’s what happens when you graduate from Illinois and live in Madison, Wisconsin.
Graham DeLaet: He should have had your attention last weekend after closing 69-65 at The Barclays but if that didn’t happen, this second consecutive podium finish in the Playoffs should. The Canadian did his Henrik Stenson imitation this week as usually solid iron game was backed by a hot putter. DeLaet finished T5 in GIR and was 12th in strokes gained-putting and 16th in putts per GIR. His two birds on Nos. 17 and 18 Monday took him eighth to third alone. His second, top-three finish did not move him in the standings as he remains seventh. He’ll be hard to leave him out the rest of the way as he’s playing some excellent golf.
Jordan Spieth: He’s playing his first-ever season on TOUR and his first-ever Playoffs and has now finished T19 and T4. This kid fired 72 on Sunday to stall out but he found seven birdies and an eagle to rocket up 25 places on the leaderboard to T4 on Monday. He made two double bogeys this week. He also made only two bogeys. He made three eagles and yet only 17 birdies. His game is just as solid as his physical and mental make-up. He began and finished the week at No. 9 in the FedExCup Playoffs and will be in Atlanta in three weeks.
Matt Kuchar: His T4 this week ended a run of three whole events where he didn’t crack the top 10. Gamers were disappointed last week after he couldn’t hold his 54-hole lead as his Sunday 78 dropped him all the way down to T19. Kuuuuuuch bounced back nicely this week as his putter was boiling and he remains inside the top five (No. 4) in the race to Atlanta. He never misses a cut but this was his first top 10 at the DBC.
Kevin Stadler: He entered the week on the outside looking in but his current form suggested that he was close to hitting a big finish. He opened last week at The Barclays with 64 and matched that again in round one in Boston. After limping in last week to T43, Stadler was heading down that route again with 71 in round two. This week he found another 64 in round three and a respectable 68 in the final round to hit T4. His 26 birdies led the field and that’s what usually happens when guys of this level finish T7 in GIR, fourth in strokes gained-putting and third in putts per GIR. Stadler hits plenty of GIR but his putter vaulted him from No. 75 to No. 32 in the current Points race. Whew. That’s back-to-back top 10s at DBC for mini-Walrus as he was T10 last year.
Sergio Garcia: With his T4 Garcia has two, top-five finishes in five events at DBC. That’s the good news. The bad news is that he joined the club of 54-hole leaders who couldn’t close the deal in 2013. After torching TPC Boston to the tune of 19-under after three rounds, the Spaniard stumbled out in 39 in round four to fall well off the pace. His birdies on Nos. 16 and 18 coming home were a slight consolation prize for gamers who hitched their wagons to him this week. Garcia moves up 31 spots to No. 24 and will need another decent finish to see East Lake. He’ll be on my list next week as his ball-striking travels just about anywhere.
Brian Davis: His last four events on TOUR were MC so his solo eight-place finish this week would definitely qualify as a surprise. After bookend T8s in June, Davis’ best finish since July 1 in six events was T30. This result jumped him from No. 80 to No. 49 and he’ll have one more week to work his magic to make Atlanta. How fluky was this week for Davis? He’s No. 172 on TOUR in GIR yet this week he was second. Got it? Me neither. His best finish in eight previous trips to Boston saw him MC three times and his best finish was T22. #nobodysawthiscoming
Brendon de Jonge: The Zimbabwian ATM was at his best this week as he finally figured out how to play TPC Boston. In three previous trips, he posted T45, MC and T60 last year with only two rounds in the 60s. This year the worst score on his card was a bogey and he had exactly TWO of them. Wow. He was sixth in driving accuracy and fifth in strokes gained-putting. He made two bogeys in 72 holes in a PLAYOFF EVENT. His T9 finish was only his fourth top 10 of the year but it did put him in the top 30, No. 26, heading to Chicago for the BMW. If the Presidents Cup was 72 holes and stroke play, he’d be a Captain’s pick no problem.
Ian Poulter: A double-bogey seven on the final hole knocked him from T4 into T9 but he makes the field at the BMW as he moves from No. 77 to No. 52 in the standings. Poulter hadn’t seen a top 10 since his Sunday 67 at The Open Championship. He rebounded last week to fire 68 after his opening 77 and kept the magic with his irons working this week. The renowned putter finished the week T7 GIR and on top of that he only made three bogeys in addition to his closing double. Poulter had missed four of six cuts at TPC Boston and his other two finishes were T45 and T47 so color me shocked that he was 17-under at one point.
Jason Dufner: He’s shown over the years that he likes this track and he backed up the horse-for-course theory this week with his T9. HOW he did it was completely interesting. The PGA Champion is known for his surgical strikes from the tee and fairway but this week he was T36 in driving accuracy (middle of the pack), T56 in GIR (bottom third) and third in strokes gained-putting. WHAT? That’s the exact opposite what it usually is. His worst round in his last four tournaments (WGC-BI, PGA, The Barclays and DBC) is 71. He’s on fire.
Roberto Castro: He keeps putting himself in excellent positions on the weekend and if he keeps doing that, he’ll find a way to win one of these. He began the day T5 on 15-under but his even-par 71 saw him fall to T9. His last five finishes on TOUR have been T6, T12, MC, T25 and T9 so he’s playing like he belongs. He had a strange week as well as he entered the DBC No. 168 in total putting yet was in the top 10 in strokes gained-putting this week.
“Hey, what ever happened to…”
I take a look back at what happened to my chalk
Adam Scott: The chalk crumbled this week and Scott led the charge with his T53 finish. Fundamentally, it was the “right” play. In reality, it was hugely disappointing after his win last week and his previous history on this track. Blargh.
Tiger Woods: Can’t putt, can’t win and he didn’t make anything on a course where two players finished 20-under par or better. After opening 68-67 Woods played the weekend three-over on a course where 22-under won the tournament. He made eight bogeys in the final two rounds and 10 for the tournament. Luckily for me I never took Woods off the bench in Yahoo so I’ll have him for the final two tournaments. I think that’s a good thing…
Phil Mickelson: He’s lost it. He’s found it. It’s a secret. It’s shite. It’s gone. It’s back. I can’t keep up. He opened with 64 and precisely went on play the final three rounds in even par on a course which he finished T10 and T4 in the last two seasons. He’s now No. 6 in the Points standings so he’ll need a nice finish at the BMW to get into the top five. Remember, only the top five players heading into Atlanta can with the 10 million with winning The TOUR Championship.
Jim Furyk: He began the final round 12-under after a superb 63 on Sunday. But, as we have seen so many times before, it’s really hard to back up a low one with another low one. Furyk’s 73 on Monday knocked him out of the top 25 for the first time in five events. I’m over it. Furyk loves Chicago golf and he’ll be right back in the middle of things next week at Conway Farms.
Zach Johnson: His T27 finish saw him finish out of the top 10 for the first time in six events. His birdie on the 72nd hole saw him clinch a Presidents Cup place but he’ll need another quality finish next week to see East Lake as he checks in at No. 27 this week. Johnson’s 73 in round two effectively ended any chance he had of a big week but he didn’t mail it in. He fired 67-66 in rounds three and four so that tells me he’s just dandy as well.
Rickie Fowler: The case of the course history winning out over current form. Fowler’s best finish here in three events was T41. This year he MC and now is 17 of 21 on the season. His MC saw him drop out of the top 30 so we’ll see if he can grind it out at the BMW.
Keegan Bradley: The Vermont native needed one more large round to crack the top 10 but he could only manage 70 on Monday to close T16. He did birdie the final two holes to help my OAD money total but remember this: He only made two bogeys and a double this week so he’s playing well. Typing that made me angrier.
Brandt Snedeker: He’s now chalked up T33, T66, MC, MC and T47 in his last five events. I can’t endorse him next week as current form will be the determining factor on this new track. I didn’t expect this kind of finish from the 2012 FedExCup champ.
Dustin Johnson: Nothing worse than 69 and nothing better than 68 equals T27 as he ground it out this week. He didn’t make anything on the greens and his usually steady iron game was just off. He’s one of my finalists for Conway Farms in OAD along with McIlroy or Rose. Decisions, decisions…
Webb Simpson: He was 73rd of 76 players in strokes gained-putting. He was T72 in GIR. Do I need to type anything else?
The top 70 players advance to the BMW Championship next week at Conway Farms.
Ernie Els: His T20 moved him from No. 91 to No. 70. He’ll need a top five next week to compete for the $10 million.
Brendan Steele: His T20 moved him from No. 89 to No. 69. That’s fourth, T11, MC and T20 in his last four. He’ll also need one more big one to see Atlanta.
Angel Cabrera: His DFL was enough to keep inside the top 70 at No. 68. I’m selling, not buying.
Sang-Moon Bae: His MC was 0 points. Cabrera’s DFL was four points. #math
Bryce Molder: His four rounds of par or better moved him from No. 68 to No. 66. #surviveandadvance
Ryan Moore: He was second to DFL. He finished at No. 65. He’s made seven cuts on the bounce but keeps going backwards. Weird.
Ryan Palmer: He began the week at No. 60 and seemingly comfortable. His MC made for a very uncomfortable weekend and when Monday ended, he was the dreaded No. 71. #seasonovah
K.J. Choi: After a bogey-free 68 in round three to get himself into the top 70, Choi had a BIRDIE-free 74 on Monday to miss out by three places.
Rotoworld's Rob Bolton and I will be co-hosting a live chat NEXT Wednesday at NOON ET at Rotoworld.com. We will be breaking down the field at the BMW Championship while answering all your questions. PLEASE REMEMBER THAT THIS CHAT IS NEXT WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 11. THERE IS NO TOURNAMENT THIS WEEK. Simply return to the golf home page to join in on the chatter. Don’t forget that you can follow Rob (http://twitter.com/RobBoltonGolf) and Glass (http://twitter.com/GlassWGCL) on Twitter!