A victory at the Players brings with it the honor of being the guy who came closest to
bringing TPC Sawgrass to its knees. Closest because no one ever does.
As we all know, my Crystal Ball said Dustin Johnson would win, and it’s now sulking
because, once again, it’s wrong. So, do we trust it to deliver a prediction for this
Maybe I’ll pour it a glass of wine and see if we can get something sensible out of it.
Maybe a glimmer, maybe a plaintive sigh.
While we wait for that, all we know for sure is that Sunday at The Players will be sort of a rematch of last Sunday at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. Only it will be on a much
more severe golf course.
While it looks like it’s going to be Byrson DeChambeau vs. Lee Westwood II, it’s really
Bryson DeChambeau vs the field II. That’s because DeChambeau, though he hit some
strange shots during his round, still posted the second-best score of everybody in the
field. The only person who bettered him was Justin Thomas who turned in a 64.
“I wish all rounds were that easy. I hit the ball beautifully,” he said.
Thomas is to be feared. He birdied the first four holes before making a bogey at five.
Then he went on a par streak until the 10th and 11th where he birdied and parred the rest
of the way except for an eagle at the 16th. That vaulted him to 10-under par where he
However, overnight leader, Lee Westwood, started at 9-under, so he only had to make
one birdie to catch Thomas. As it turned out, Westwood parred himself silly until the 10th.
Then he made four birdies between there and 18. So he finished at 13-under par, three
strokes ahead of Thomas. Westwood made some amazing par-saving putts during the
But Thomas has a lot of fire power, and if you were to put the two of them head-to-head,
starting even, you’d give Thomas the edge because he plays fearless golf. Westwood
plays sensible golf. The only case against Thomas is that old adage: it’s hard to follow
a low score with another low score. I don’t know why that is, but it happens more often than not.
The big question is will Westwood’s two-shot advantage over DeChambeau and three-
shot advantage over Thomas and Doug Ghim give him enough of an edge to win?
The only case against Thomas is that old adage: it’s hard to follow a low score with
another low score. I don’t know why that is, but it happens more often than not.
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