Thursday, 20 July 2017 06:16

WGC Bridgestone Field Taking Shape

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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.

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