South African Tim Clark began the day trailing 18, 36 and 54-hole leader Jim Furyk by three shots before coming home in 30 to win the RBC Canadian Open at Royal Montreal Golf Club just outside of Montreal. Clark fired a final round five-under-par 65 to post a total of 17-under 263 to win for the second time on TOUR and his first victory since the 2010 PLAYERS Championship. Furyk finished in second place one shot behind and American Justin Hicks rounded out the podium three more shots behind at 13-under 267.
When Sunday began with a bogey Clark probably thought trailing Jim Furyk by four shots would lead to his 13th-career runner-up finish. Heck, he’s had a second EVERY YEAR since 2005 and already racked one up this season when he closed with 62 at McGladrey last October. When Sunday ended, Clark had stormed home in 30 thanks to almost 90 feet of putts that he holed to rip away the trophy from Furyk. Coming down the stretch Clark swished four birdie putts from six feet or better to take the lead by a shot with three holes to go after a short rain delay. His biggest putts were yet to come. After an errant approach to No. 16 and an average chip, Clark found himself with 11 feet to save par. Flushed it! On No. 17, after Furyk stuffed it to four feet on the par-three, Clark rammed in a 15-footer for birdie to keep his lead at one. Finally, on the ultimate hole, Clark needed to hold his nerve, and his anchored putter, to sink his final putt outside of five feet, and he did.
For the week Clark made only two bogeys and that’s going to give ANYBODY a chance. He only made ONE bogey in his final three rounds last week as well! The reason why he made only two bogeys was quite simple: he was first in fairways, T4 in GIR, perfect in scrambling from the sand, third in putts per GIR and second in strokes gained-putting (SGP). That’s the formula for winning on the PGA TOUR! Those numbers led to 17 birdies and an eagle plus 52 pars. For a course that Jim Furyk declared bombers paradise on Wednesday the final leaderboard showed anything but. He has now made THREE bogeys in his last 126 holes on TOUR.
Clark enjoys golf in Canada as he adds his win to T4 in 2010 and T15 in 2012. I guess he only plays here in EVEN years. Anyhow, he also won twice in 1998 on the Canadian Tour, his first two victories as a professional.
He backed up his 63-64-67 finish at the JDC his last time out with a closing 67-64-65 this week. In 15 starts in 2014 Clark had played just six weekends with his best finish being T19 before the JDC. This is why gamers must evaluate players week-to-week in addition to the value in season-long games. The reason they are called SEASON-LONG GAMES is because we have the entire season to collect on our investments. Tim Clark has had a second place finish every year since 2005 so he should be the radar for those styles of games. I’ll never hesitate to insert a guy off a top 10 with a two rounds in the low/mid 60s in a light field a look either in weekly games! Hot golf is hot golf. Speaking of hot, Rob Bolton had Furyk and Clark in the GolfChannel.com game and the PGATOUR fantasy game. Speaking of not, I had Dustin Johnson and Charley Hoffman in those same competitions. After having second, T4, T12 and T15 last week it’s all going to balance out.
With this victory, his second (2010 PLAYERS) on TOUR, Clark collects $1,026,000, 500 FedExCup points and entry into the WGC-BI and PGA in the next two weeks, plus all the “normal” benefits of winning on TOUR.
Déjà vu All Over Again?
After winning 31 of 40 tournaments in 2013, the USA has now won 24 of 37 events in 2013-14 but none in the last two weeks. Harris English, Jimmy Walker (THREE), Webb Simpson, Ryan Moore, Dustin Johnson, Chris Kirk, Zach Johnson, Patrick Reed (TWO), Scott Stallings, Kevin Stadler, Bubba Watson (TWO), Russell Henley, Chesson Hadley, Matt Every, Matt Kuchar, J.B. Holmes, Brendon Todd, Ben Crane, Kevin Streelman and Brian Harman have won for the USA.
Adam Scott, Matt Jones, Steven Bowditch, John Senden and Jason Day, all Australians, have cashed five victories. Hideki Matsuyama and Seung-yul Noh are the Asian representatives and Martin Kaymer, Justin Rose and Rory McIlroy are the European chalk that has won two of the three majors. Angel Cabrera flies the flag for South America; Tim Clark flies it for South Africa.
S.Y. Noh, Steven Bowditch, Matt Every, Jimmy Walker, Kevin Stadler, Chesson Hadley Matt Jones, Brendon Todd, Hideki Matsuyama and Brian Harman are the first-time winners this season. There were 12, first-timers in 40 events last year and we’ve had 10 in 37 events in 2014.
Only 17 of the 38, 54-hole leaders went on to win last year in full-field, stroke play events. I’m always trying to figure out if this is a trend or not. In 2013-14, 18 of 36 leaders have gone on to win as Jim Furyk is now 0 for his last seven when holding the 54-hole lead.
Furyk could not join Lee Trevino (1977) as the players to go wire-to-wire.
Furyk also did not join the club of three-time winners.
In the last 13 editions, the final margin has been either one shot or a playoff. Only Brandt Snedeker (three shots in 2013) was outside these parameters.
Ironically, Jim Furyk was the last player to defend his RBC Canadian Open title. Snedeker finished the week T25 after beginning Sunday T14.
Clark’s 17-under 263 sets a “new” record at “new” Royal Montreal.
Jimmy Walker, Patrick Reed, Bubba Watson and Martin Kaymer remain the only multiple winners on TOUR this season.
Young Guns Versus Prime Time Versus Old Guys
Jimmy Walker (34) started the season out on the right foot for the Prime Time guys and has since added two more wins to lead the FedExCup standings. Ryan Moore (30), Zach Johnson (37), Kevin Stadler (33) and Bubba Watson (35), Matt Every (30), Steven Bowditch (30), Matt Jones (33), all were victorious before Watson picked up victory No. 2 of the year at Augusta. Matt Kuchar (37), J.B. Holmes (32), Adam Scott (33), Ben Crane (38), Kevin Streelman (35), Justin Rose (33) and Tim Clark, 38, have added to the prime-timers trophy case as the season moves along.
Scott Stallings (28), Patrick Reed TWICE (23), Chris Kirk (28), Webb Simpson (28), Dustin Johnson (29), Harris English (24), Jason Day (26) and Russell Henley (24) Seung-Yul Noh (22), Martin Kaymer TWICE (29), Brendon Todd (28) and Hideki Matsuyama (22), Brian Harman (27) and Rory McIlroy (25), are the twenty-somethings who have made large noise this year.
Australian John Senden (42) FINALLY has some company in the winner’s circle this year for the old folks as Angel Cabrera won at Greenbrier. Jim Furyk continues his excellent 2014, minus a victory, as he finished second for the third time in seven events.