In today’s post-U.S. Open edition of the PGW Daily News Roundup, the world rankings feature a new world #2, Brooke Henderson ends her 2017 slump with a victory in Michigan, Justin Thomas is left wondering “what if”, and Joe Buck may be looking for a hole to crawl into.
Brooke Henderson Comes Out On Top in Michigan
A paragon of parity, the LPGA Tour has now had 15 different golfers win the 15 events that have been held in the 2017 season.
This week’s new winner? Brooke Henderson, a 19-year-old from Canada who emerged from a crowded leaderboard in Grand Rapids, Michigan, to claim victory at the Meijer LPGA Classic For Simply Give.
A final round 3-under 66 (flooding changed par mid-tournament) allowed Henderson to reach -21 for the week, which was two strokes better than notable Americans Michelle Wie and Lexi Thompson.
Henderson’s fourth career victory spoiled the No. 1 ranking debut of Ariya Jutanugarn, who passed Lydia Ko just last week after Ko held the top spot for the previous 85.
— LPGA (@LPGA) June 18, 2017
- Brooke Henderson, who came into the week ranked 15th in the world, a considerable drop after reaching #2 at one point in 2016. Henderson got back on the winner’s board in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where she was the leader after both 18 and 36 holes.
- Henderson finished two strokes ahead of Lexi Thompson, who continued her difficulty closing rounds (she also lead after 54-holes before dropping last week) and Michelle Wie, who is in the midst of a remarkable comeback season.
- The Meijer Classic marked the first tournament at #1 in the world for Thailand’s Ariya Jutanugarn, who passed Lydia Ko after he victory a week ago at the LPGA Manulife Classic.
- Jutanugarn posted 69-69-64-69 to finish T22, her worst result since January.
- Ko, playing for the first time in nearly a month, was T10. Despite the difference on the leaderboard, Jutanugarn will stay at world #1.
- Par was changed from 71 to 69 for the final two rounds, as standing water on the fifth hole forced a change from a par-5 to a par-3.
1 Brooke Henderson -17
2 Michelle Wie -15
2 Lexi Thompson -15
4 Su-Hyun Oh -14
4 Madelene Sagstrom -14
4 Moriya Jutanugarn -14
7 Danielle Kang -13
7 Carlota Ciganda -13
7 Hyo Joo Kim -13
10 Jacqui Concolino -12
10 Mi Jung Hur -12
10 Lydia Ko -12
- Money: With her win, Henderson earns $300,000; she has earned $592,765 this season and $2,417,479 in her career
- Season: 15 events played, 14 cuts made, one victory, two additional top 10s.
- Factoid: Henderson is the 15th different winner on the LPGA Tour in 2017 and the first from Canada. She is also the youngest winner and the youngest since her last victory.
“It was really tough today. To shoot 3-under and I don’t think I had any bogeys today either, which was great. The wind really picked up. I was kind of surprised when I looked at the leaderboard and I had a two-shot lead on the 18th green. Super happy and I’m just glad it’s done and I finally have my fourth win.”
Hideki Matsuyama Now World No. 2
After finishing runner-up at the U.S. Open, 24-year-old Japanese superstar Hideki Matsuyama became runner-up in the Official World Golf Rankings (OWGR).
Completing the most up-and-down tournament of anyone in the field, Matsuyama shot 74-65-71-66, and at 12-under, finished tied for second with Brian Harman, four strokes behind champion Brooks Koepka.
The high finish allowed Matsuyama to jump from world No. 4 to world No. 2, his highest-ever career ranking.
- A final round six-under 66, which included eight birdies, vaulted Hideki Matsuyama from T14 to a tie for second.
- It was Matsuyama’s highest career finish in a major, passing the T4 he posted at the 2016 PGA Championship.
- When the new world golf rankings come out on Monday, Matsuyama will jump from 4th to No. 2, passing Rory McIlroy and Jason Day in the process.
- Matsuyama still remains well behind No. 1 Dustin Johnson. (Johnson, McIlroy, and Day all missed the cut at the record-shattering U.S. Open at Erin Hills.)
- Matsuyama now has two wins and three runner-ups in his 2017 season. The T2 at the U.S. Open was his first top 10 since his early February victory at the Phoenix Waste Management Open.
- Matsuyama led the Erin Hills field in strokes gained: tee-to-green for the week, gaining 8.2 strokes on the field in round 2, and 7.9 in round 4, both massive numbers.
“If I learned anything, you’ve got to put four good rounds together. I played two good rounds, but it wasn’t enough.”
Justin Thomas “Bummed” After Final-Round 75
While Sunday was undoubtedly the best day of Brooks Koepka’s life, it is one that Justin Thomas would much prefer to forget.
Thomas was on top of the world Saturday, after a record-breaking 9-under 63, which included nine birdies and an eagle, highlighted by what may go down as the greatest 3 wood shot in U.S. Open history.
The unfathomably great round vaulted Thomas from 2-under to 11-under, and into what every young golfer dreams about: a spot in Sunday’s final pairing of the United States Open.
That dream, however, quickly turned into a nightmare, as Thomas bogeyed three of the first five holes, on his way to a 3-over 75, which dropped him into a tie for 9th.
- Best Season: 24-year-old Justin Thomas is in the midst of what is definitely the best season of his young career.
- Three Wins-Plus: The Kentucky native has 3 victories on the season, and has finished in the top 10 in half (8 of 16) of his starts.
- Highly-ranked: Thomas ranks 3rd in the FedEx Cup race, 2nd in the Presidents Cup standings, and No. 12 in the world.
- Bad Start: Thomas’ drop down the leaderboard started early, with bogeys on three of the first five holes (2, 4, and 5).
- Inaccurate: Playing in the final group with Brian Harman, Thomas hit just 9 of 18 greens, his worst GIR performance of the week.
- Tale of Two Rounds: Thomas shot a dismal 12 shots worse in his final round than he did in his 9-under 63 in round 3. His final round contained just one birdie, along with four bogeys.
Awesome experience being in the final group today, bummed I didn't play better, but man did @BKoepka earn that W. Congrats bro!
— Justin Thomas (@JustinThomas34) June 19, 2017
“I felt like it was the lowest I could have shot. I just didn’t have it today, but it made me feel a lot better seeing Brooks shoot 5-under. I would have had to play some pretty spectacular golf to catch him. Anytime you don’t win, it stings. But if 12 or 13 under would have won, it would have hurt really bad.”
Joe Buck: I Still Don’t Know The “Week-old Girlfriend’s” Name
For the most part, Joe Buck has received high marks for his recent work as the lead broadcaster for FOX’s U.S. Open coverage.
Largely associated with Troy Aikman, Buck teamed up with Paul Azinger and Brad Faxon this past week, and successfully transitioned his aesthetically-pleasing cadence from pro football to pro golf.
Unfortunately, however, like a near-champion golfer who holds the lead all week and then misses the clinching putt on the 72nd hole, Buck is likely to be remembered for the error he did make.
Moments after Brooks Koepka finished his final round and wrapped up his first U.S. Open title, Koepka walked off the green and embraced those closest to him, including a kiss with his girlfriend.
In what epitomizes the term “cringeworthy”, Buck mistakenly identified Koepka’s girlfriend, Jena Sims, as Becky Edwards, Koepka’s ex-girlfriend.
The next morning, Buck appeared on Dan Patrick’s radio show as part of what he called “the apology tour for getting the week-old girlfriend wrong” and to say, “sorry world.”
- Moments after winning the U.S. Open, 27-year-old champion Brooks Koepka walked off the green and kissed his girlfriend. Lead FOX announcer Joe Buck, narrating the endearing moment, referred to Koepka’s current girlfriend by his ex-girlfriend’s name.
- A short time later, Brad Faxon corrected Buck on air, correctly identifying Koepka’s current girlfriend as Jena Sims, and not professional soccer player Becky Edwards, who used to be the woman on Koepka’s arm.
- Proving yet again that having money, fame, and good looks is valuable, Koepka’s current girlfriend (Sims) is an actress/model and former Miss Teen Georgia USA .
- Buck appeared on Dan Patrick’s radio show and brushed it off, blaming it on a card handed to him by a FOX producer that contained “old info.”
- Buck also insinuated that Sims won’t be around long, continually referring to her as the “week-old girlfriend,” and saying, “I still don’t know her [Sims] name, the week-old girlfriend, and probably won’t know going forward.”
Dan Patrick speaks with Joe Buck about misidentifying Koepka’s girlfriend.
Dan Patrick speaks with Joe Buck about misidentifying Brooks Koepka's girlfriend.[NBCSN] pic.twitter.com/szKg6J30SG
— Sports Funhouse (@SportsFunhouse) June 19, 2017
Joe Buck: "Brooks Koepka and his girlfriend, Becky Edwards…"
Brad Faxon: "Joe, that's actually his new girlfriend, Jenna Simms…"#stud
— Nick Eilerson (@NickEilerson) June 19, 2017
Credit: Getty Images