JUSTIN THOMAS KEEPS WINNING FEELING GOING
Welcome to the February Pro Golf Wrap-Up – everything you need to know in the world of golf expertly curated by your friends at Global Golf Management.
Three players who hadn’t won in a while rediscovered that winning feeling, while Justin Thomas just kept the feeling going when he captured the Honda Classic to wrap up February on the PGA TOUR.
Meanwhile, Jessica Korda provided the most inspirational story in golf last month, winning the Honda LPGA Thailand just a little over two months after undergoing major surgery on her jaw.
In Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., Thomas defeated Luke List with a birdie on the first hole of a sudden death playoff to take the Honda Classic for his second win of the season and his seventh in his last 31 starts. The reigning FedEx Cup champion, Thomas, 24, shot a final-round 68 including a birdie on the 72nd hole to tie List at 8-under 272.
Thomas joined Tiger Woods, Brandt Snedeker and Jordan Spieth as FedEx Cup champions to win at least twice in the season after taking the season-long title. He won for the eighth time in his career and moved past Jordan Spieth in third on the Official World Golf Ranking.
Speaking of Woods, his tie for 12th at the Honda Classic in just his fourth start of his comeback from back surgery was his best since the end of 2015 when he tied for 10th at the Wyndham Championship.
Two-time Master champion Bubba Watson, rebounding from a year of shaky form, won the Genesis Open at storied Riviera Country Club near Los Angeles for his first win since taking the same event two years earlier.
The big-hitting lefty shot a closing 2-under 69 to finish at 12-under 272 for a two-stroke victory over Kevin Na and Tony Finau. It was the 10th win of his career.
At the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, no one gave lefty Ted Potter Jr. much of a chance when he began the final round tied with World No. 1 Dustin Johnson, who already had won their twice.
But it was Potter who took the title, carding a 3-under-par 69 for a three-stroke victory over Johnson, Phil Mickelson, Jason Day and Chez Reavie. The son of a golf course maintenance worker, Potter finished at 17-under 270 for his largest career paycheck, $1.322 million, as he won his second TOUR title more than five years after grabbing the 2012 Greenbrier Classic.
Potter’s feel-good story couldn’t top that of Gary Woodland, who won the Waste Management Phoenix Open in a playoff over Reavie with a par on the first extra hole.
Woodland, 33, shot a closing 64, but had to beat Reavie in sudden death after Reavie birdied the last two holes to tie him at 18-under 266 at TPC Scottsdale. The victory was Woodland’s third of his career and first in nearly five years.
It was a meaningful win, coming nearly a year after Woodland and his wife, Gabby, lost one of their unborn twins, a girl. The other twin, Jaxson, was born in June and he and Gabby were on hand for the emotional triumph.
On the LPGA Tour, Jessica Korda won in record fashion, shooting 25-under 263 at Siam Country Club’s Pattaya Old Course in Chonburi, Thailand, to win by four strokes for her fifth career victory.
Korda, 24, underwent jaw surgery on Dec. 7 to correct a sever overbite that was causing several health issues. But she seemed to have come back from that with her game still able to chew up the competition.
“It’s an incredible thing to be able to win again. I haven’t won in two years. And who knows? It’s so hard out here. These girls are so good. I mean, look at the scoreboard. I had to shoot 25 under just to win,” Korda said.
In the only other LPGA event in February, Jin Young Ko made a little bit of history when she shot 14-under 274 to capture the ISPS Handa Australian Women’s Open at the Kooyonga Golf Club in Adelaide, South Australia.
Her victory came in her first start as an LPGA member, becoming only the second player to win in her first start as a member of the LPGA Tour. Beverly Hanson won the 1951 Eastern Open.
Stay tuned here and on Global Golf Management Twitter for next month’s Pro Golf Wrap-Up.