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Major champ, FedExCup champ Thomas wins POY

By Rex HoggardOctober 4, 2017, 4:40 pm

He may have been the only one who had any doubts.

Following a season that included five victories, his first major triumph at the PGA Championship and a runner-up finish to close the year at the Tour Championship and clinch the FedExCup, Justin Thomas still wasn’t sure he’d be voted the circuit’s Player of the Year.

“It's something that I felt like I may win just because of Atlanta and how the year ended, but I knew how tight of a race it was going up until then and how many people had the opportunity or with one week to kind of change everything,” Thomas said on Wednesday.

In fact, it wasn’t until Thomas received a phone call from Tour commissioner Jay Monahan informing him he’d won the Jack Nicklaus Award, which is voted on by players, that the gravity of his season sunk in.

Thomas was the front-runner for the award heading into the playoffs, but Dustin Johnson, who won four times last season, and Jordan Spieth, a three-time winner including The Open, could have swayed the outcome had they won the FedExCup. The Tour does not reveal vote totals.


How POY winners have fared the following season

Xander Schauffele wins PGA Tour Rookie of the Year


Thomas, who was a member of the winning U.S. Presidents Cup team last week, won’t have much time to reflect on his historic season. He’s scheduled to play next week’s CIMB Classic, where he is the defending champion, followed by the new CJ Cup in South Korea.

When he does get a moment to reflect, it will likely be difficult picking out a single highlight moment. Thomas began the year winning in Malaysia, and then swept the Hawaiian swing with victories at the Tournament of Champions and Sony Open, where he opened his week with 59.

In June, Thomas shot a third-round 63 at Erin Hills to tie the lowest round in U.S. Open history, and at 9 under was the lowest score in relation to par.

Or maybe he’d choose his performance at the PGA Championship at Quail Hollow, where he won by two after beginning his week with a 73.

“That shot I hit on 17 at the PGA was probably the best shot I've ever hit in my life under those circumstances, and the same with the 3-wood on 18 at the U.S. Open on Saturday,” he said. “I don't know, it's such a great year and so many great moments that it's nice to not be able to know which one.”

The bigger challenge, however, may be how he follows up his historic season. At East Lake, Thomas revealed his list of goals for the 2016-17 season, and said on Wednesday he hasn’t sat down yet to set new goals for next season.

“I'll probably spend some time talking to Mr. Nicklaus about it or Tiger [Woods] because those are guys, those are the only people, or even Jordan [Spieth], those are the only people I know that have had such success in one season multiple times,” he said. “They've had to deal with resetting their goals and reevaluating.”

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S.Y. Kim leads Kang, A. Jutanugarn in Shanghai

By Associated PressOctober 19, 2018, 10:24 am

SHANGHAI – Sei Young Kim led the Buick LPGA Shanghai by one stroke at the halfway point after shooting a 5-under-par 67 in the second round on Friday.

Kim made six birdies, including four straight from the sixth hole, to move to a 10-under 134 total. Her only setback was a bogey on the par-4 15th.

Danielle Kang (68) and overnight leader Ariya Jutanugarn (69) were one shot back.


Full-field scores from the Buick LPGA Shanghai


Brittany Altomare had six birdies in a bogey-free round of 66, and was tied for fourth with Bronte Law (68) and Brittany Lincicome (68).

Angel Lin eagled the par-5 17th and finished with the day's lowest score of 65, which also included six birdies and a lone bogey.

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'Caveman golf' puts Koepka one back at CJ Cup

By Associated PressOctober 19, 2018, 10:12 am

JEJU ISLAND, South Korea – Brooks Koepka, recently named the PGA Tour Player of the Year, gave himself the perfect opportunity to become the No. 1 player in the world when he shot a 7-under par 65 to move to within one shot of the lead in the CJ Cup on Friday.

At the Nine Bridges course, the three-time major champion made an eagle on his closing hole to finish on 8-under par 136 after two rounds, just one stroke behind Scott Piercy, who was bogey-free in matching Koepka's 65.

With the wind subsiding and the course playing much easier than on the opening day when the scoring average was 73.26, 44 players – more than half the field of 78 – had under-par rounds.

Overnight leader Chez Reavie added a 70 to his opening-round 68 to sit in third place at 138, three behind Piercy. Sweden's Alex Noren was the other player in with a 65, which moved him into a tie for fourth place alongside Ian Poulter (69), four out of the lead.

The best round of the day was a 64 by Brian Harman, who was tied for sixth and five behind Piercy.


Full-field scores from the CJ Cup

CJ Cup: Articles, photos and videos


The 28-year-old Koepka will move to the top of the world rankings when they are announced on Monday if he wins the tournament.

Thomas, playing alongside Koepka, matched Koepka's eagle on the last, but that was only for a 70 and he is tied for 22nd place at 1 under.

Koepka's only bogey was on the par-5 ninth hole, where he hit a wayward tee shot. But he was otherwise pleased with the state of his ''caveman golf.''

''I feel like my game is in a good spot. I feel like the way I played today, if I can carry that momentum into Saturday and Sunday, it will be fun,'' Koepka, winner of the U.S. Open and the PGA Championship, said.

''My game is pretty simple. I guess you can call it like caveman golf – you see the ball, hit the ball and go find it again. You're not going to see any emotion just because I'm so focused, but I'm enjoying it.''

Piercy, who has fallen to No. 252 in the world ranking despite winning the Zurich Classic earlier this year with Billy Horschel – there are no world ranking points for a team event – was rarely out of position in a round in which he found 13 of 14 fairways off the tee and reached 16 greens in regulation.

''Obviously, the wind was down a little bit and from a little bit different direction, so 10 miles an hour wind versus 20s is quite a big difference,'' said Piercy, who is looking for his first individual PGA Tour win since the Barbasol Championship in July 2015.

''It was a good day. Hit a couple close and then my putter showed up and made some putts of some pretty good length.''

Australia's Marc Leishman, winner last week at the CIMB Classic in Kuala Lumpur, shot a 71 and was seven behind. Paul Casey's 73 included a hole-in-one on the par-3 seventh hole and the Englishman is nine behind Piercy.

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Koepka primed for CJ Cup win and world No. 1

By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 19, 2018, 6:00 am

Brooks Koepka wants a 2-for-1 at the CJ Cup. If he can collect his second non-major PGA Tour victory he can become world No. 1 for the first time in his career.

He’s in great position to accomplish his goal.

Koepka eagled the par-5 18th en route to a 7-under 65 in the second round at Nine Bridges in Juju Island, South Korea. At 8 under par, he is one back of 36-hole leader Scott Piercy (65).

"Obviously the wind didn't blow. It was a different golf course than it was yesterday, you were able to take advantage of these par 5s," said Koepka, who opened in 71 on Day 1. "Felt like it was a lot more gettable. I putted so well, great ball-striking day, great putting day and very pleased with it."

Koepka, currently ranked third in the world, began the day three shots off the lead, but rapidly ascended the leaderboard. He birdied four of his first eight holes before finding trouble at the ninth. Koepka hooked his tee shot out of bounds, but the ninth is a par 5 and he was able to salvage bogey.


Full-field scores from the CJ Cup

CJ Cup: Articles, photos and videos

Current Official World Golf Ranking


That was his only dropped shot of the day.

The reigning Tour Player of the Year birdied the 12th and 14th holes in his bid to keep pace with Piercy. Koepka was two back as he played his final hole, where he knocked his second shot to 10 feet. He deftly converted the eagle effort to tie Piercy and earn a spot in Saturday’s final twosome. Piercy later pulled a shot ahead with a birdie at the ninth, his final hole of the day.

Koepka has officially won four PGA Tour events, but three of those are majors (2017, ’18 U.S. Open; 2018 PGA). His lone non-major win was the 2015 Waste Management Phoenix Open.

"Just keep doing what I'm doing," Koepka said of his plan for the final two rounds. "I'm hitting it well and making putts. I felt like I probably could have shot about 7, 8 under on the front side there, missed a couple. You know, doing everything right and that's what you've got to do and hopefully this wind stays away."

He can still reach world No. 1 with a solo second place, assuming Justin Thomas, currently world No. 4, doesn’t win this week.

That will take a mighty weekend effort by the defending champ.

Thomas also eagled the 18th hole to go from 1 over to 1 under. He shot 2-under 70 in the second round and is seven shots off the lead.

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'Go in'? Yes, JT wants an ace at the par-4 14th

By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 19, 2018, 5:11 am

Justin Thomas didn’t hesitate after hitting his tee shot on the 353-yard, par-4 14th in Round 2 of the CJ Cup.

“Go in,” he immediately said.

“Please go in,” he added.



Thomas’ tee shot was on a great line, but it landed just short of the green. Surprisingly, it took three more shots for his ball to "go in." After birdies on Nos. 12 and 13, Thomas parred the 14th.