Spieth Earns 7th PGA Tour Win With TOC Rout at Kapalua
In between the Spieth family vacation at the Kapalua Resort last week, Jordan Spieth, the world’s No. 1 ranked golfer, picked up his seventh PGA Tour win and crushed the winner’s-only field at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions.
A final-round 6-under 67 at The Plantation Course on Sunday gave Spieth a 30-under total for the 72-hole event and an 8-shot victory over defending champion Patrick Reed, becoming just the second player in PGA Tour history to finish a four-round event that low. Only Ernie Els, at this tournament on this course in 2003, has scored better, shooting 31-under par. And only David Duval has won on this course by a larger margin, claiming the first Tournament of Champions at Kapalua in 1999 by nine shots.
“We got down here early to play a few practice rounds and I felt comfortable all week,” said Spieth, who received hugs and kisses after the final hole from his family — mom, dad and two sisters — who spent the week on Maui supporting Jordan. ”I knew there were going to be charges (from challengers) on this course, so getting up-and-down on the first hole was huge for me. I thought coming into the day the first was going to be my toughest hole. I knew I needed to stay aggressive and that’s what I did coming in.”
Spieth made just two bogeys on the week, both coming on the par-3 eighth in the third and final rounds. For the week, he played the four par 5s on the course in 16-under par.
“I felt like it was short three-week break and continue what we were doing last year,” said Spieth, who is coming off a five-win season that included the Masters and U.S. Open. “That’s the way I’ll keep on thinking about it. It worked this week. All parts were firing.”
The Spieth family flew back to Dallas, Texas, early this morning by private jet with the $1.2 million winner’s check, keys to a customized 2016 Hyundai Equus, and their return tickets punched for the 2017 Tournament of Champions.
Spieth tweeted @JordanSpieth a photo of his family aboard NetJets and said, “Great week in Kapalua with my family. Thanks @NetJets for the flight home.”
Reed finished in second at 22 under after shooting a 4-under 69 on Sunday.
“My mentality didn’t change after I got started,” Reed said. “I knew I needed to come out and make some birdies to apply some pressure, but then all of the sudden I saw the leaderboard and it was back to five. I expected I’d have to shoot 10 or 11 under to even have a chance.”
Brooks Koepka, who was Spieth’s closest pursuer and playing partner on Sunday, finished tied for third at 21 under par along with Brandt Snedeker.
Rickie Fowler dazzled fans with his flashy new style and his fine play. The 27-year-old superstar finished solo fifth at 20 under after recording four rounds in the 60s.
With the win, Spieth, 22, matched Tiger Woods with seven PGA Tour wins before his 23rd birthday. But the humble star remained adamant he has a lot of work to do before he can be compared to Woods.
“I’m nowhere near (Tiger). I don’t think there’s any reason to compare; it’s awfully early. What Tiger’s done, I can’t imagine it being done again,” Spieth said. “But being up there with some of the Hall of Fame players is great and has been a goal of mine since I was a little kid.”
It was the fifth time in the last 13 months that Spieth had at least a two-shot lead going into the final round, and he was never seriously challenged.
The week started with hype, as almost all the big names showed up at Kapalua for this limited-field event, which invites only winners of PGA Tour events from the past 12 months. In the past, Woods and Phil Mickelson often skipped the TOC and some of the best Euros tend to start the year in the Middle East. This year, three others from the top six in the world joined Spieth — Jason Day, Bubba Watson, and Fowler.
Several big-name players found themselves in the clubhouse in a tie for 10th at 15 under, including Day, who shot his best round since September by posting an 8-under 65, Watson and Dustin Johnson. The two long-ball hitters had three rounds in the 60s apiece, marred by even-par 73s.
Spieth will take off two weeks before heading over to the United Arab Emirates to compete in the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship, the true start to the 2016 European Tour schedule, before resuming his PGA Tour schedule at Pebble Beach and Riviera.
* Spieth’s eight-stroke win is the largest on TOUR since Jimmy Walker won by nine at the 2015 Sony Open in Hawaii.
* Spieth’s record when holding the 54-hole lead/co-lead is now five of nine, including five straight victories.
* Spieth now has six consecutive rounds in a row in the 60s at the par-73 Hyundai Tournament of Champions dating back to his first appearance in 2014 when he finished solo second behind winner Zach Johnson, where he recorded rounds of 66-70-69-69.
* Reed’s only bogey this week came on the par-5 15th hole Sunday (his 69th hole of the week). The last player to record no bogeys in 72 holes and not win was Charles Howell at the 2010 Greenbrier Classic (T9). The last player to win without a bogey was Lee Trevino at the 1974 Zurich Classic of New Orleans.
* The toughest hole this week was the par-4 first hole, yielding a 4.234 average. The par-5 ninth hole was the easiest, playing to a 4.297 average.