Fox Sports Ohio Golf Analyst  Jimmy Hanlin talked a little golf with Sam and Brad Thursday including the news of the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational moving from the South Course to Memphis in 2019.

 He also discussed Masters winner Patrick Reed and what's next for him. 

Published in Sam and Brad
Thursday, 12 April 2018 12:19

WGC Leaving Akron, PGA Senior Tour in 2019

After months of speculation and rumor, it is official: the WGC Bridgestone Invitational is leaving the Firestone Country Club in Akron after this summer's event in August. 

PGA Tour officials, along with representatives from Bridgestone and Senior Tour golfers Scott McCarron and Colin Montgomerie were on hand for the announcement Thursday morning from Firestone's Club House. 

Longtime tournament director Don Padgett III was asked about the impact the move would have on the Northern Ohio Golf Charities, which last year raised more than a million dollars with the WGC Bridgestone at Firestone Country Club, to which Padgett replied, "Charitable dollars we'll be able to give back is what the community makes of it," thus encouraging local resident to support the PGA Senior Tour event with the same amount of vigor they have the WGC events. 

Bridgestone Americas CEO Gordon Knapp said, of the transition, "We're very confident that in partnership with the community, we're going to put on a world class event here starting in July of 2019 and continuing for the next four years after that." Knapp added that he doesn't see the move by the PGA as a "major change in direction." Once it the numbers were crunched, and given the direction the PGA wanted to go with their event, Knapp says, "Once (Bridgestone) realized we weren't going to renew the (WGC) tournament, we were absolutely committed that we would still continue with a world class tournament here in Northeast Ohio." He added, "We didn't look anywhere else. The committment was to have that tournament here, at the Firestone Golf and Country Club; it's a world class venue, obviously, and we believe the players are going to be excited to come back here and play." 

The official press release from Bridgestone and the PGA Tour is posted below:

AKRON, Ohio – The PGA TOUR announced today that beginning in 2019, Bridgestone will become the title sponsor for the SENIOR PLAYERS Championship, one of five major championships contested annually on PGA TOUR Champions. The event will be played at Firestone Country Club’s South Course, ensuring professional golf’s 65-year tradition in Northeast Ohio will continue with golf’s legends competing each year. The 2019 tournament will be held the week of July 8-14, with a four-year agreement in place through 2022.

Bridgestone also extended its Official Marketing Partner relationship with the PGA TOUR through 2022 and will remain as the “Official Tire of the PGA TOUR and PGA TOUR Champions,” with activation at other TOUR events and messaging across TOUR media properties.

“Bridgestone has been a tremendous partner and valued member of the PGA TOUR family since 2005, and we are excited to begin this new journey with them as we bring major championship golf to Northeast Ohio with the Bridgestone SENIOR PLAYERS Championship,” said PGA TOUR Commissioner Jay Monahan. “With Firestone Country Club’s South Course as the host venue, golf’s 65-year tradition in Akron will continue.”

The newly-named Bridgestone SENIOR PLAYERS Championship will return to Northeast Ohio for a second time in its 35-year history after being played at Canterbury Golf Club in Beachwood from 1983-1986. In total, the tournament has been played in nine different cities at some of the country’s top venues including The Philadelphia Cricket Club, Caves Valley Golf Club (Baltimore), Fox Chapel Golf Club (Pittsburgh), Westchester Country Club (New York) and Exmoor Country Club (Chicago), which will host the event’s 2018 edition the week of July 9-15.

Along with its stature as a major championship and significance in determining the season-long Charles Schwab Cup champion, the Bridgestone SENIOR PLAYERS will also continue to offer its champion a return trip to the PGA TOUR with an exemption into THE PLAYERS Championship.

“We are incredibly proud to extend our partnership with the PGA TOUR and ensure that world-class golf will continue at Firestone Country Club through the Bridgestone SENIOR PLAYERS Championship,” said Gordon Knapp, Chief Executive Officer and President, Bridgestone Americas. “The Akron community and the sport of golf have played significant roles in Bridgestone’s history and will continue to play significant roles in our future, so it is important to us that we carry the sport’s legacy in this area forward. We are excited to work with absolute legends of the sport to start a new chapter in a 65-year tradition of premier golf events that have made so many positive economic and charitable impacts on this community.”

Past champions of the Bridgestone SENIOR PLAYERS include Arnold Palmer (1984-85), Jack Nicklaus (1990), Fred Couples (2011), Bernhard Langer (2014-16) and Scott McCarron, who notched his first senior major title at Caves Valley last year. In 2019, fans can expect the likes of Couples, Langer, Vijay Singh, Colin Montgomerie, John Daly, Steve Stricker and Miguel Ángel Jiménez to be among those vying for the title at a course they’ve all had experience playing in their careers.


In all, 57 of the 78 players who competed in the 2017 SENIOR PLAYERS Championship have competed in either the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational or the NEC World Series of Golf at Firestone Country Club. Most notably, José María Olazábal captured both the 1990 and 1994 NEC World Series of Golf, while Vijay Singh won the 2008 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational at 45 years old. Darren Clarke, who will turn 50 this August, won the event’s 2003 edition.

The Bridgestone SENIOR PLAYERS will replace the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational, which has been staged at Firestone’s South Course since 2006. The World Golf Championships event will relocate in 2019, with an announcement set for 3:00 p.m. (ET) today. This announcement does not impact the 2018 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, which will be contested as scheduled, Aug. 1-5

Ticket and volunteer information for the Bridgestone SENIOR PLAYERS Championship during the week of July 8-14, 2019, will be made available following the 2018 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. For more information, please visit PGATOUR.com.

 

ABOUT PGA TOUR CHAMPIONS

PGA TOUR Champions is a membership organization of professional golfers age 50 and older, including 35 members of the World Golf Hall of Fame. The Tour’s mission is to provide financial opportunities for its players, entertain and inspire its fans, deliver substantial value to its partners, create outlets for volunteers to give back and generate significant charitable and economic impact in tournament communities. In 2018, the PGA TOUR Champions schedule includes 27 tournaments across the United States, Scotland and Canada, with purses totaling more than $56 million. The Charles Schwab Cup, which includes the Regular Season and the Charles Schwab Cup Playoffs, is used to determine the season-long champion. All events are televised in the United States, with most receiving complete coverage on Golf Channel, the exclusive cable-television partner of PGA TOUR Champions. Internationally, telecasts air in excess of 190 countries and territories, reaching more than 350 million potential households. Follow PGA TOUR Champions online at PGATOUR.COM, at facebook.com/PGATOURChampions, on Twitter @ChampionsTour and on Instagram @pgatourchampions.

ABOUT BRIDGESTONE

Bridgestone Corporation, headquartered in Tokyo, is the world’s largest tire and rubber company. In addition to tires for use in a wide variety of applications, it also manufactures a broad range of diversified products, which include industrial rubber and chemical products and sporting goods. Its products are sold in over 150 nations and territories around the world.

ABOUT BRIDGESTONE AMERICAS, INC.

Nashville, Tenn.-based Bridgestone Americas, Inc. (BSAM) is the U.S. subsidiary of Bridgestone Corporation, the world’s largest tire and rubber company. BSAM and its subsidiaries develop, manufacture and market a wide range of Bridgestone, Firestone and associate brand tires to address the needs of a broad range of customers, including consumers, automotive and commercial vehicle original equipment manufacturers, and those in the agricultural, forestry and mining industries. The companies are also engaged in retreading operations throughout the Western Hemisphere and produce air springs, roofing materials, and industrial fibers and textiles. The BSAM family of companies also operates the world’s largest chain of automotive tire and service centers. Guided by its One Team, One Planet message, the company is dedicated to achieving a positive environmental impact in all of the communities it calls home.

Published in Local
Monday, 07 August 2017 06:16

Matsuyama Dominates For WGC Win

We haven't seen a round at the WGC Bridgestone like this since 2014 -- when Sergio Garcia did it, or Tiger Woods in 2013 and 200. Even then, the others scored their record low scores in the second round of play, and it was this year's breathtaking final 18 that gave Hideki Matsuyama the championship and a $1.66 million dollar payday from Firestone South. Matsuyama becomes the first Japanese golfer to take the tournament and sets himself up nicely ahead of the PGA Open next weekend at Quail Hollow. Observers really didn't have a clue as to what was to unfold watching Matsuyama, who is a conditioned believer in practice and often takes time on the driving range before and after his rounds. Sunday's practice had him hitting balls all over the place and not showing the placement and discipline he showed during the round. He finished 16 under for the event after going five under on Sunday with a perfect round that included no bogeys, one eagle and seven birdies including the final three holes.

Video: YouTube/PGATour

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Is he the best?

(PGA Tour) Final-Round Leaderboard

Hideki Matsuyama 69-67-67-61—264 (-16)

Zach Johnson 69-67-65-68—269 (-11)

Charley Hoffman 68-69-67-66—270 (-10)

Thomas Pieters 65-70-66-71—272 (-8)

Paul Casey 70-69-67-67—273 (-7)

Rory McIlroy 67-69-68-69—273 (-7)

Russell Knox 66-71-68-68—273 (-7)

Adam Hadwin 68-69-67-69—273 (-7)

Nine countries are represented by the top 12 players on the leaderboard.

Hideki Matsuyama

In his 100th start on the PGA TOUR Japan's Hideki Matsuyama posted a 9-under 61 in the final round at Firestone CC to secure his fifth TOUR title, and third this season. Matsuyama's round included an eagle at the par-5 second hole, along with seven birdies, with three consecutive birdies to close the round and win the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational by five strokes over Zach Johnson. Charley Hoffman, who lost a playoff at last week's RBC Canadian Open, finished third at 10-under 270. Matsuyama wins his fifth PGA TOUR event at the age of 25 years, 5 months, 12 days. He earns the 25th win by a player in his 20s on TOUR this season. 

Matsuyama's PGA TOUR victories:

2014 the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide Insurance

2016 Waste Management Phoenix Open

2017 World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions

2017 Waste Management Phoenix Open

2017 World Golf championships-Bridgestone Invitational

With the win, Matsuyama, who entered this week No. 3 in the FedExCup standings, regained the No. 1 position which he had held for a total of 10 weeks earlier this season. He now leads Jordan Spieth by 114 points with 2,754 points. Matsuyama also returns to the top of the PGA TOUR Money List this season. Matsuyama's 9-under 61 is his career low round on the PGA TOUR, bettering his previous-best 63 by two strokes (63/R3/2015 Waste Management Phoenix Open, 63/R2/2015 BMW Championship). Matsuyama's 9-under 61 is the lowest final-round score, by three strokes, in any World Golf Championships event. The previous low finish by a winner at the Bridgestone Invitational was 64 (-6) by Hunter Mahan (2010) Keegan Bradley (2012). Matsuyama's 61 matched the 18-hole record at the Bridgestone Invitational (Tiger Woods/R2/2000, Tiger Woods/R2/2013, Sergio Garcia/R2/2014).

Matsuyama owns three wins and three runner-up finishes on the PGA TOUR this season (1/World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions, 1/Waste Management Phoenix Open, 1/WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, 2/CIMB Classic, 2/SBS Tournament of Champions, T2/U.S. Open). Matsuyama now has six victories in his last 20 starts worldwide.

Matsuyama is now one of 12 players with multiple victories in World Golf Championships and joins Tiger Woods and Dustin Johnson with more than one WGC win in the same season;

Player Country WGC Wins

Tiger Woods USA 18

Dustin Johnson USA 5

Geoff Ogilvy AUS 3

Darren Clarke NIR 2

Jason Day AUS 2

Ernie Els RSA 2

Hunter Mahan USA 2

Rory McIlroy NIR 2

Phil Mickelson USA 2

Ian Poulter ENG 2

Adam Scott AUS 2

Hideki Matsuyama JPN 2

With the win, Matsuyama is the first player from Japan to win the Bridgestone Invitational and the seventh international winner of the Bridgestone Invitational (Craig Parry/Australia/2002, Darren Clarke/Northern Ireland/2003, Vijay Singh/Fiji/2008, Adam Scott/Australia/2011, Rory McIlroy/Northern Ireland/2014, Shane Lowry/Ireland/2015, Hideki Matsuyama/Japan/2017). With the victory, Matsuyama joined Tiger Woods and Vijay Singh with the Ohio double with victories at both the Memorial Tournament in Dublin and Bridgestone Invitational in Akron. Along with the Bridgestone Invitational and HSBC Champions victories this season, Matsuyama's only other top-10 finish in 17 WGC appearances was a T9 at the 2015 Dell Technologies Match Play.

The top three players in the Official World Golf Ranking did not change this week – No. 1 Dustin Johnson, No. 2 Jordan Spieth and No. 3 Hideki Matsuyama. It's worth noting heading into the PGA Championship next week, Matsuyama has recorded top-15 results at three major championships this season (T11/Masters, T2/U.S. Open, T14/The Open). This week marked Matsuyama's fifth start at Firestone CC. A T12 in 2014 was his best result in four previous appearances.

Matsuyama, with five victories, extends his record as the Japanese player with the most PGA TOUR wins. Japanese players to win on the PGA TOUR: Isao Aoki (1983 Sony Open in Hawaii), Shigeki Maruyama (2001 Greater Milwaukee Open, 2002 AT&T Byron Nelson, 2003 Wyndham Championship), Ryuji Imada (2008 AT&T Classic), Hideki Matsuyama (2014 Memorial Tournament, 2016 Waste Management Phoenix Open, 2016 WGC-HSBC Champions, 2017 Waste Management Phoenix Open, 2017 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational).

Hideki Matsuyama's Statistics

R1 5 of 14 fairways, 11 of 18 greens, 3 of 7 scrambling, 27 putts

R2 9 of 14 fairways, 15 of 18 greens, 3 of 3 scrambling, 30 putts

R3 8 of 14 fairways, 12 of 18 greens, 4 of 6 scrambling, 28 putts

R4 7 of 14 fairways, 16 of 18 greens, 2 of 2 scrambling, 25 putts

Zach Johnson

Zach Johnson headed into the final round with a share of the 54-hole lead and failed to secure the win despite a 2-under 68 which included just one bogey (No. 3). Johnson hit 14 of 18 greens in the final round. This was the fifth time that Johnson had led or shared the lead on the PGA TOUR through 54 holes. He had converted three of the previous four 54-hole leads into victories. The co-lead was Johnson's first time ever leading through any single round of a World Golf Championships event. 

Zach Johnson 54-hole leads on the PGA TOUR – Tournament Lead Finish

2004 Bellsouth Classic 2 strokes 1st

2009 Sony Open 1 stroke 1st

2009 Quail Hollow Championship 2 strokes T11

2009 Valero Texas Open 2 strokes 1st

2017 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational Tied 2nd

The third-round leader has only won three of the last 11 times at the Bridgestone Invitational. This season on the PGA TOUR the 54-hole leader has gone on to win 12 of 39 events, most recently Jordan Spieth at The Open Championship. Johnson was seeking his first World Golf Championships title in his 41st appearance in World Golf Championships events. The runner-up finish at the Bridgestone Invitational is his 11th top-10 finish and best result in a WGC stroke-play event. He was third at the 2006 Dell Technologies Match Play when he defeated Tom Lehman in the Consolation Match. Johnson moved from No. 40 to No. 28 in the Presidents Cup US Team standings and seeks to make his fifth consecutive appearance at the Presidents Cup at Liberty National Golf Club in New Jersey next month. Johnson's previous best showing in 18 PGA TOUR starts this season was T5 in his hometown event at last month's John Deere Classic, now one of four top-10s this season.

Charley Hoffman

Charley Hoffman, in search of his fifth PGA TOUR win in his 332nd career start, posted a final-round 4-under 66 but came up short of winning, finishing six back of Matsuyama in third place. His most recent victory came at the 2016 Valero Texas Open. Last week, he lost a playoff to Jhonattan Vegas at the RBC Canadian Open, one of seven top-10 finishes this season. Hoffman was attempting to become the first player since Jordan Spieth at the 2015 Masters Tournament to win a title after losing a playoff the previous week. Spieth lost a playoff at the Shell Houston Open before his Masters win. In the last two weeks, Hoffman has advanced from No. 24 to No. 8 in the Presidents Cup US Team standings thanks to a runner-up finish at the RBC Canadian Open and his solo-third at the Bridgestone Invitational. Hoffman seeks to finish in the top-10 following the Dell Technologies Championship at TPC Boston to make the team. Captain Steve Stricker will have two captain's picks on September 6 before the team heads to Liberty National Golf Club for the Presidents Cup later that month. Hoffman seeks to advance to the FedExCup Playoffs and reach the TOUR Championship for the third time in his career (4th in 2010, 10th in 2015). Hoffman is one of 16 players to have made it to the FedExCup Playoffs in each of the 10 years the Playoffs have existed. In addition to being one of 16 players to have made it to the FedExCup Playoffs in each of the 10 years the Playoffs have existed, Hoffman is one of only three players (Phil Mickelson, Bubba Watson) to have qualified for the BMW Championship in all 10 years.

Thomas Pieters

Thomas Pieters fired a final-round 1-over 71 to fall to solo-fourth after sharing the 54-hole lead with Zach Johnson. Pieters joined Russell Knox (71/R2) and Rickie Fowler (71/R2) as the only players to shoot a round over par during the week and finish in the top nine. This was the first time that Pieters has held or shared a 54-hole lead in a PGA TOUR event. On the European Tour, Pieters has held or shared three previous times and carried one to victory – the 2015 Czech Masters. Pieters, a Special Temporary Member on the PGA TOUR, has five previous starts in WGC events. A T5 at the Mexico Championship this year was his previous-best showing in the WGC events before his 4th this week. Pieters made his 16th PGA TOUR start this week and now owns four top-five showings (T5/2017 Mexico Championship, T2/2017 Genesis Open, T4/2017 Masters Tournament, 4th/Bridgestone Invitational). At 34th in the Official World Golf Ranking to begin the week, the 25-year-old Pieters is the highest-ranked Belgian player in history and is projected to move inside the top 25.

As a Special Temporary Member, Pieters is eligible for unlimited sponsor exemptions for the remainder of the 2016-17 season as he attempts to earn a PGA TOUR card for the 2017-18 season through the Non-member FedExCup Points List. It's important to note: Special Temporary Members are not eligible for the FedExCup Playoffs, but Special Temporary Members or non-members who subsequently become regular PGA TOUR members by winning an official event during the season will be counted on the FedExCup points list, along with any FedExCup points earned as a non-member (excluding those won at World Golf Championships events as a non-member) and thus be eligible for the FedExCup Playoffs.

Additional Player Notes

Rory McIlroy, winner of the 2014 Bridgestone Invitational, made three early birdies to sit one stroke off the lead at 9-under through six holes of the final round before back-to-back bogeys at the 14th and 15th holes derailed his chances. McIlroy finished T5 at 7-under 273, his sixth top-10 in 10 starts on the PGA TOUR this season. During the week, McIlroy hit 52 of 56 tee shots (excluding par-3s) over 300 yards. McIlroy moved from No. 53 to No. 43 in the FedExCup standings.

Canada's Adam Hadwin finished T5 in his first World Golf Championships appearance, one of nine players in the field making their WGC debut this week. Hadwin, a first-time TOUR winner at this year's Valspar Championship, sat at No. 12 in the Presidents Cup International Team standings before the week and seeks to become the third Canadian to play in the Presidents Cup (Mike Weir, Graham DeLaet).

After playing the first four holes of the final round 4-over, J.B. Holmes produced a 6-under 29 on the inward nine, including a final-hole eagle 2 when he holed out from 105 yards, to match the back-nine record (five players) at the Bridgestone Invitational.

Jordan Spieth and Matt Kuchar were paired together in the final round for the first time since their epic final-round duel in the final group at The Open Championship, won by Spieth two weeks earlier. Both players shot 68 on Sunday at Firestone with Spieth (T13) finishing one stroke ahead of Kuchar (T17).

World No. 1 Dustin Johnson fired a final-round 4-under 66, his lowest closing round since a 66 at the Dell Technologies Championship at TPC Boston last year, to finish T17.

Akron native Harold Varner III finished T50. Varner made his World Golf Championships debut after winning the Australian PGA Championship late last year to qualify for this event.

 

Published in Local
Thursday, 20 July 2017 06:16

WGC Bridgestone Field Taking Shape

The lineup for this summer's WGC Bridgestone Invitational is starting to firm up with the world's best golfers making their way to Firestone Country Club the first weekend of August. Masters champ Sergio Garcia along with U.S. Open champ Brooks Koepka and last year's British Open winner Henrik Stenson will be on the list.

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(PGA/WGC Bridgestone) On the eve of the third major of the year at The Open Championship, tournament officials at the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational have announced that major champions Sergio Garcia, Brooks Koepka and Henrik Stenson have committed to playing the Bridgestone Invitational, with both Garcia and Koepka in search of their first World Golf Championships title. The final World Golf Championships event of the 2016-2017 PGA TOUR Season, the Bridgestone Invitational returns to Firestone Country Club’s South Course Aug. 2-6, 2017.Garcia, who broke through for his first major title at the 2017 Masters, came close to lifting the Gary Player Cup in Akron in 2014. A second-round 61, which is tied for the low round in the history of the Bridgestone Invitational, led to the Spaniard taking a three-stroke lead into the final round. But after a closing 1-over 71, Garcia finished two back of eventual champion Rory McIlroy.In 51 previous appearances in a World Golf Championships event, Garcia’s solo runner-up finish represents his top result.Koepka followed Garcia as the second major champion minted in 2017 with his four-stroke triumph at the U.S. Open. Two starts removed from his win at Erin Hills, Koepka will return to Firestone Country Club for his second career appearance and first since 2015, where four rounds in the 60s yielded a tie for sixth.The now two-time PGA TOUR winner is currently No. 7 in the U.S. Presidents Cup standings. If he goes on to make his Presidents Cup debut at Liberty National in September, it will ensure a spot in the field at the 2018 Bridgestone Invitational.While Garcia and Koepka’s career-defining wins from earlier this year are still fresh in their minds, Stenson has put a cap on a full year with the Claret Jug in his possession following his win at the 2016 Open Championship. The sweet-swinging Swede will look to regain the Claret Jug for another 365 days before making the trip to Akron for his ninth appearance in the Bridgestone Invitational. The winner of the 2007 World Golf Championships-Dell Technologies Match Play, Stenson has seemingly found a rhythm at Firestone’s South Course, logging top-10 finishes in two of his previous three trips to Northeast Ohio. Stenson fell short against a charging Tiger Woods in 2013 en route to a T2 result, and added a T6 finish in 2015.The next two weeks are critical for those players who have yet to secure a spot into the season’s final World Golf Championships event. Players still have the opportunity to qualify by either winning an event with an Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) Strength of Field Rating of 115 points or more or by being inside the top 50 of the OWGR as of either Monday, July 24 or Monday, July 31.

Published in Local
Monday, 04 July 2016 08:24

VIDEO DJ Takes WGC From Day

There's an old saying it's not how you start, it's how you finish. South Carolina's Dustin Johnson showed the steady, consistent play of a winner provides one of the most satisfying finishes of all for his third WGC championship.

Johnson stayed the course and took the 2016 WGC Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club's fabled South Course when the world's top golfer faulted on the late holes, including a double bogey on "The Monster," Firestone's massive 16th hole. Day was leading when his tee shot went errant into the trees, and his second shot also bounded across the fairway into another grove of trees on the opposite side. By the time he was done on 16 the double bogey, along with a bogey on 15 and then a bogey on the final hole, sealed his fate and sent him back into the back with a tie for third place.

WATCH Johnson's post-match news conference below

Scott Piercy, who played the final round with Day, took sole ownership of second place. For the first time, both the first and second place finishers took home more than a million dollars in prize money. Johnson won $1.6 million, Piercy a more than $1 million dollar payday.

This year's tournament was held over the July 4th weekend due to conflicts with golf's standing in the Rio Summer Olympics as a medal sport; the weekend classic in Akron also competed for players from the European Tour, many of whom declined the invitations to play here and opt instead for the 100th French Open and the opportunity to earn Ryder Cup points. The event will return to Firestone County Club with a more familiar time next year starting August 2, 2017.

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(PGA Tour) Final-Round Notes – Sunday, July 03, 2016

Weather: Skies were mostly cloudy in the morning with light S/SE winds at 4-8 mph, intensifying in the afternoon to 10-15 mph, gusting near 20 mph. Temperature reached a high of 77 with low humidity.

Final Leaderboard
Dustin Johnson 69-73-66-66—274 (-6)
Scott Piercy 69-69-67-70—275 (-5)
Jordan Spieth 68-71-71-67—277 (-3)
Matt Kuchar 69-72-70-66—277 (-3)
Kevin Chappell 71-70-69-67—277 (-3)
Jason Day 67-69-69-72—277 (-3)
William McGirt 64-74-70-70—278 (-2)
Charl Schwartzel 72-69-67-70—278 (-2)
David Lingmerth 70-67-69-72—278 (-2)

Third-Round Lead Notes
Third-round leaders/co-leaders have gone on to win 14 of 32 PGA TOUR events this season, including four winners of the last six events. Shane Lowry led through 54 holes when Dustin Johnson won the U.S. Open. Scott Piercy and Jason Day shared the 54-hole lead this week before Johnson's win today. The most recent player to covert a 54-hole lead into victory was Billy Hurley III at last week's Quicken Loans National.

Dustin Johnson, 1st (-6)
U.S. Open champion Dustin Johnson shot consecutive rounds of 66-66 on the weekend at the Bridgestone Invitational to rally from three strokes behind to start the fourth round for his third career World Golf Championships victory joining Tiger Woods (18) and Geoff Ogilvy (3) as the only players with three or more wins in World Golf Championships events.

Johnson earns 550 points and is projected to overtake Jason Day at No. 1 in the FedExCup standings, the first time he has been ranked No. 1 in the standings since winning the 2013 Hyundai Tournament of Champions.

Johnson wins his 11th PGA TOUR title in his 194th start at the age of 32 years, 11 days.

The victory is Johnson's 10th top-10 finish of the season, which leads the PGA TOUR. The most top-10s that Johnson has ever had in a season is 11 in the 2014-15. He has finished in the top 5 in 8 of his last 11 events.

Dustin Johnson joined Geoff Ogilvy with three World Golf Championships titles. No player has won all four World Golf Championships events. Johnson joins only Tiger Woods as players to win three different World Golf Championships events.

Johnson's Strokes Gained stats:
Stat R1 Rank R2 Rank R3 Rank R4 Rank Cumulative
Strokes Gained: Off the Tee 2 4 3 6 1
Strokes Gained: Tee To Green 9 22 3 12 3
Strokes Gained: Approach The Green 25 28 4 36 16
Strokes Gained: Around The Green 19 43 40 13 27
Strokes Gained: Putting 27 52 6 3 8

With his win at the U.S. Open, Johnson continued his streak of winning at least one tournament in each of his first nine seasons on the PGA TOUR (the TOUR"s current best streak). By comparison, Tiger Woods won in his first 14 seasons (1996-2009).

Dustin Johnson's PGA TOUR wins (11):
2008 Turning Stone Resort Championship
2009 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am
2010 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am
2010 BMW Championship
2011 The Barclays
2012 FedEx St. Jude Classic
2013 Hyundai Tournament of Champions
2013 World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions (2013-14 Season)
2015 World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship (2014-15 Season)
2016 U.S. Open (2015-16 Season)
2016 World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational (2015-2016 Season)

Johnson becomes the first player since Jordan Spieth to win his next PGA TOUR start after winning the U.S. Open. Last year, Spieth won the John Deere Classic in his next start after winning the U.S. Open.

Scott Piercy, 2nd (-5)
Scott Piercy, who finished runner-up at the U.S. Open, birdied the final hole to finish solo second, one shot behind Dustin Johnson. With the runner-up finishes to Dustin Johnson in back-to-back starts, Piercy moves to No. 22 in the FedExCup standings.

Piercy's runner-up finish at the Bridgestone Invitational is his third top-10 finish of the season. Piercy has made 16 of 18 cuts. The most cuts he has ever made in one PGA TOUR season is 19 in 2012.

A three-time winner on the PGA TOUR, Piercy's previous best World Golf Championships finish was a T2 at the 2012 HSBC Champions.

In 2016, Piercy has top-30 finishes in each of the first two major championships, THE PLAYERS Championship and all three World Golf Championships-Dell Match Play and Cadillac Championship. He is one of four players (Piercy, Dustin Johnson, Louis Oosthuizen and Jason Day), to finish in the top 30 in each of these events this year.

Piercy's Strokes Gained stats:
Stat R1 Rank R2 Rank R3 Rank R4 Rank Cumulative
Strokes Gained: Off the Tee 13 3 5 34 7
Strokes Gained: Tee To Green 8 7 1 T41 1
Strokes Gained: Approach The Green 8 6 29 T40 6
Strokes Gained: Around The Green 26 50 1 34 14
Strokes Gained: Putting 35 23 32 11 20

Jason Day, T3 (-3)
Jason Day, who entered the final round with a share of the lead, reached the 15th green at 7-under-par. A bogey on No. 15, double bogey on No. 17 and a bogey on the final hole meant a T3 finish for the top-ranked player in the world. Previous to this event, Day had converted five consecutive third-round leads into victory on the PGA TOUR. Overall, Day has now converted 6 of 13 54-hole leads into victories.

Jason Day's 54-hole leads
Date Tournament Finish
7/3/2016 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational T3
5/15/2016 THE PLAYERS Championship 1
3/20/2016 Arnold Palmer Invitational 1
9/20/2015 BMW Championship 1
8/30/2015 The Barclays 1
8/16/2015 PGA Championship 1
7/19/2015 The Open Championship T4
6/21/2015 U.S. Open T9
4/26/2015 Zurich Classic of New Orleans T4
8/24/2014 The Barclays T2
9/6/2010 Deutsche Bank Championship T2
5/23/2010 HP Byron Nelson Championship 1
3/15/2009 Puerto Rico Open T2

Day, a three-time winner this season (Arnold Palmer Invitational, World Golf Championships-Dell Match Play, THE PLAYERS Championship), dropped from No. 1 to No. 2 in the FedExCup standings to Bridgestone Invitational winner, Dustin Johnson. Day had held the No. 1 spot for seven consecutive weeks.

Day owns 10 PGA TOUR victories, including the 2014 and 2016 World Golf Championships-Dell Match Play.

Day's Strokes Gained stats:
Stat R1 Rank R2 Rank R3 Rank R4 Rank Cum.
Strokes Gained: Off the Tee 15 14 50 42 26
Strokes Gained: Tee To Green 2 13 38 37 11
Strokes Gained: Approach The Green 2 18 47 58 36
Strokes Gained: Around The Green 12 31 7 1 1
Strokes Gained: Putting 31 8 2 44 9

Kevin Chappell, T3 (-3)
Kevin Chappell remains in search of his first PGA TOUR win. Chappell owns five runner-up finishes on the PGA TOUR, including three in the 2015-16 PGA TOUR Season. In his last two runner-up performances, he has finished second behind Jason Day: 2016 Arnold Palmer Invitational, 2016 PLAYERS Championship.

At No. 6 in the FedExCup standings, Kevin Chappell is the highest-ranked player without a win this season.

Chappell required just nine putts in his front-nine 5-under 30 and 24 total putts in his round of 67.

This was Chappell's first appearance in a World Golf Championships event. He was the highest finisher among those players making their first World golf Championships appearance.
Kevin Chappell (T3), Billy Hurley III (T36), Andrew Johnston (T42), Michio Matsumura (T49), William McGirt (T7), Younghan Song (T21), Brian Stuard (T16) and Yosuke Tsukada (57) made their first-ever World Golf Championships appearance.

Jordan Spieth, T3 (-3)
Last season's FedExCup champion Jordan Spieth posted his best result in his third appearance at the Bridgestone Invitational (49/2014, T10/2015, T3/2016). This week's performance also marks Spieth's best result in any World Golf Championships event. His best result in 11 previous World Golf Championships appearances was T5 at the 2014 Dell Match Play, losing in the Quarterfinals to Ernie Els (4 and 2). He also finished T7 at the HSBC Champions earlier this season.

Spieth entered his 98th career PGA TOUR start just $611,000 shy of $25 million in career earnings. With $449,250 in earnings this week, he is now $161,750 short of the $25 million figure.

Matt Kuchar, T3 (-3)
Matt Kuchar's T3 is his fifth top-6 finish in his last six starts on TOUR (T3/THE PLAYERS Championship, 3/AT&T Byron Nelson, T6/DEAN & DELUCA Invitational, T4/the Memorial Tournament, T46/U.S. Open, T3/Bridgestone Invitational).

Kuchar now owns 10 top-10 finishes in 22 World Golf Championships appearances, including a victory at the 2013 World Golf Championships-Dell Match Play.

Miscellaneous notes
If either Jason Day or Scott Piercy had won at the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational after holding a share of the 54-hole lead, it would mean either player would have won a new TEMPUR-Breeze bed, courtesy of Tempur-Pedic, the Official Mattress of the PGA TOUR. Either player would have also won a bed for one lucky fan who entered the Sleeping on the Lead Sweepstakes at TempurPedicGolf.com and a Birdies for the Brave® military member from the Akron/Canton area. With Dustin Johnson victorious, a lucky fan who entered the sweepstakes will still receive a pair of TEMPUR-Cloud® pillows. This program will run from the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational until the TOUR Championship.

First-round leader William McGirt posted a final-round 70 to finish T7 in his first ever World Golf Championships appearance. McGirt claimed his first PGA TOUR win last month in Columbus, Ohio at the Memorial Tournament.

Zach Johnson closed with 5-under 65 to record his lowest round on TOUR since the first-round of the Sony Open in Hawaii in January (64). The T10 finish, along with T8 at the U.S. Open in his last start, marked top 10s in consecutive starts for the second time this season (5th/Arnold Palmer Invitational, T9/WGC-Dell Match Play).

Phil Mickelson closed with a bogey-free 2-under 68 to finish T27. It's the first bogey-free round for Mickelson since the third-round 66 he posted at this year's AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, where he finished 2nd to Vaughn Taylor, and one of five bogey-free rounds for Mickelson this season (R3/CareerBuilder Challenge, R4/CareerBuilder Challenge, R3/Waste Management Phoenix Open, R3/AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, R4/WGC-Bridgestone Invitational).

Jimmy Walker used a 9-iron to hole out from 164 yards for an eagle (2) at the ninth hole during a final-round 71. It marked the first eagle at the 504-yard, par-4 hole in Bridgestone Invitational history at Firestone Country Club.

Phil Mickelson and Adam Scott climbed the list of players with the most World Golf Championships appearances (Dell Match Play, Cadillac Championship, Bridgestone Invitational and HSBC Champions since it become a World Golf Championships event in 2009) and now share third place on the list with Ernie Els with 48 appearances. Jim Furyk is now sixth on the list with 47 appearances. Lee Westwood has the most events with 54.
Westwood, Lee 54
Garcia, Sergio 49
Els, Ernie 48
Mickelson, Phil 48
Scott, Adam 48
Furyk, Jim 47
Woods, Tiger 44
Poulter, Ian 44

Two former Florida State University golfers withdrew during the first round. Daniel Berger withdrew with a shoulder injury after hitting his opening tee shot. Berger receives $50,500 but the money is unofficial and he will not receive FedExCup points. Earlier this year, Berger also pulled out of the World Golf Championships-Dell Match Play after hurting his hand on a rock during a swing. Brooks Koepka also withdrew during the first round with an ankle injury.

Davis Love III, who received the Ambassador of Golf Award at a ceremony on Wednesday, withdrew after the first round with a hip injury.

Bogey-free rounds:
R1 – William McGirt
R2 – None
R3 – None
R4 – Phil Mickelson (68), Matt Kuchar (66).

Scoring average:
Front nine Back nine Total
R1 35.831 36.000 71.831
R2 36.017 36.207 72.224
R3 35.379 35.810 71.190
R4 34.983 35.431 70.414
Cumulative 35.554 35.863 71.416

Published in Local
Thursday, 30 June 2016 22:32

AUDIO Friday Could See Rain At Firestone

Day two of the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational could be a wet one in the early going.

Tour meteorologist Wade Stettner spoke with Brad Russell and Sam Bourquin about the weather potentially affecting play on Friday.

"It looks like we are going to see a little bit of rain," Stettner said. "Especially in the morning time,  between 9am and noon, we're probably going to get an hour's worth of rain kind of in that time frame, and then we'll have to watch out for the possibility of a scattered pop-up thunderstorm in the afternoon."

Stettner said the grounds crew is aware of the forecast and plans on preparing the course accordingly.

Stettner says there will be some high winds to look out for on the South Course of Firestone Country Club as play begins.

He says Saturday and Sunday both look to be comfortable with temperatures in the 80's and clear skies.

Published in Brad Russell
Thursday, 30 June 2016 21:49

AUDIO McGirt Leading After Day One

Day One of the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational was a successful one for American William McGirt, who shot a 64 in the first round.

McGirt spoke with the media Thursday after his round to talk about his solid start.

"It was a good solid day all around," he said. "Drove it pretty well with the exception of the tee shot on 18."

William knows a little bit about this tournament and some of the past winners, Even though it's early, it's a list he'd love to be on.

The North Carolina native won the Memorial Tournament in Dublin, Ohio in early June.

When asked if there's any similarites between Firestone and Muirfield Village in Dublin, which was designed by Jack Nicklaus, McGirt said he likes both of the courses, which are more traditional in nature.

McGirt has a three stroke lead over  three players including Jason Day, who is the world's number one golfer.

Published in Brad Russell