St. Jude Classic 2017
Round 4 - Daniel Berger defends titleJune 12, 2017
The first few shots of Daniel Berger's final round didn't give much clue that his second straight victory at the St. Jude Classic was only a few hours away.
He hit his drive on No. 1 into the rough, sent his next shot into the rough far past the hole and his third shot was a chip that didn't even make it to the green. What was left was an awkward 25-foot chip to save par.
He drilled it.
And from that point on, Berger put together a stellar day on a firm, fast, challenging course at TPC Southwind, shooting a 4-under 66 to erase a three-shot deficit and beat South African Charl Schwartzel and South Korean Whee Kim by one stroke.
Now he just might be one of the young players to watch going into the U.S. Open next week at Erin Hills in Wisconsin.
''We hear a lot about the young guns and about the Justin Thomases and Jordan Spieths, but I feel like I kind of get forgotten a little bit,'' Berger said. ''I'm pretty good, so I'm just going to try and keep doing my thing and see if I can't get a few more.''
Berger is the fourth back-to-back winner at St. Jude and the first since David Toms did it in 2003 and '04. He played a bogey-free round on Sunday, usually avoiding trouble after the first hole. His 17-foot birdie putt on No. 15 put him ahead for good and he finished at 10-under 270.
''I played really great through the first couple days but I didn't make as many putts,'' Berger said. ''Then the last couple days they just started to fall and that was the big difference.''
Schwartzel shot a 66 and Kim shot a 67 to finish in second. Amateur Braden Thornberry and Billy Horschel were among five players two shots back.
Schwartzel played well for most of the tournament, but a 4-over 74 in the third round made for a steep hill to climb on Sunday. He nearly made it, but a long putt on No. 17 stopped just short of the birdie he needed to pull even with Berger.
Stewart Cink, Ben Crane and Rafa Cabrera Bello started Sunday with a one-shot lead on a crowded leaderboard that included 12 players within three shots of the lead. Cabrera Bello stayed in contention for most of the day, finishing with a 71, but Cink and Crane both shot a 73.
The leaderboard was a jumbled mess through much of the final round. At one point, there were nine players tied for the lead at 8-under before Berger finally emerged from the pile.
''I just hit so many good shots coming down the stretch and I can't even explain,'' Berger said. ''It's just - I feel like I wasn't even on the golf course. It just kind of happened.''
Phil Mickelson briefly had a share of the lead during the final round, but a triple bogey on No. 12 - which included a shot into the water - knocked him out of contention. He still shot a 68 and finished at 7-under, three shots behind the leaders.
Mickelson, who is not expected to play in the U.S. Open next week because of his oldest daughter's high school graduation, said he feels good about how he's playing except when it comes to between his ears.
''The good news is that my physical game is there and I should be able to find the mental toughness here soon,'' Mickelson said.
Thornberry shot a 65 and became the first amateur to finish in the top 10 at the St. Jude Classic since 1965. Thornberry, a sophomore at Mississippi who is from nearby Olive Branch, Mississippi, recently won the NCAA individual championship with for the school's first golf title.
Round 3 - Three lead heading in to SundayJune 11, 2017
Stewart Cink felt the familiar emotions and butterflies and savored every minute of it on Saturday.
He had some great moments and tough ones at TPC Southwind, making five birdies and four bogeys on the way to a 1-under 69. Now he's in a three-way tie with Rafa Cabrera Bello and Ben Crane for the lead at the St. Jude Classic after three rounds.
Win or lose on Sunday, the 44-year-old Cink is relishing his status as a contender, especially after all the personal and professional adversity he and his family have been through over the past few years.
''It's a moment you don't really get to experience that often, even if you've played on the Tour for 21 years,'' Cink said. ''This may only happen a handful of times. Maybe a few more. So it's a really sweet feeling.''
Cink has gradually improved his game since missing several weeks last year to help care for his wife Lisa, who was diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer. He qualified for the U.S. Open on Monday in Ohio and has now had three solid rounds at the par-70 TPC Southwind course to be in the hunt for his first victory since winning the 2009 British Open.
Cink said Lisa is at the course this weekend and her health is good.
The six-time PGA Tour winner wasn't very competitive from 2014 to 2016, with just one top 10 finish during those three years. But he's enjoyed quite the resurgence this season, with two top 10s and eight top 25s in 18 events.
Now he's got a real chance to add his seventh PGA victory.
''I'm probably not supposed to be doing this,'' Cink said. ''But I don't really care about that. My golf ball doesn't know how old I am.''
Cabrera Bello shot a 65 and Crane - who won the St. Jude Classic in 2014 - shot a 68 to join Cink at 9-under 201 for the tournament.
Cabrera Bello, a 33-year-old from Spain, has four international victories, but has never won on the PGA Tour. He's 30th in the World Golf Ranking and chipped in on back-to-back holes on the front nine to jumpstart his round.
''It got me laughing because I don't know if I've ever done that before,'' Cabrera Bello said. ''So obviously very pleased. It took away a little bit of pressure, just brought the smile to my face.''
Crane is one of Cink's good friends on the tour and said it's been rewarding to watch Cink overcome so much adversity. The two played in the same group on Saturday.
''The past year for Stewart has been something that you wouldn't wish any couple to go through,'' Crane said. ''But we've watched Stewart and Lisa get closer to each other, get closer to God and be a light out here on the PGA Tour in the midst of these trials.''
Cink had a good start on Saturday, with birdies on three of his first five holes. He opened up a three shot lead at 11-under after a seven-foot birdie putt on No. 5, but dropped back to the field after three bogeys on the back nine.
Luke List and Chad Campbell both shot a 66 and are one stroke behind the leaders. List made two eagles on the back nine to vault into contention.
Campbell, who recently turned 43, hasn't won a tournament since the 2007 Viking Classic. He started Saturday five shots back of the leaders, but charged up the leaderboard with five birdies and only one bogey.
Chez Reavie, Charl Schwartzel and Sebastian Munoz started the third round with a one shot lead over Cink, but all of them struggled. Reavie is still in contention after shooting a 72 and is tied with Matt Jones and Kevin Chappell at 7-under, two shots behind the leaders.
Schwartzel shot a 74 and Munoz a 75.
Round 2 - Trio lead at halfwayJune 10, 2017
Chez Reavie fired three birdies and an eagle in a five-under par 65 that boosted him into a three-way tie for the lead with Charl Schwartzel and Carlos Munoz Friday in the PGA St. Jude Classic.
South Africa's Schwartzel had five birdies and a bogey in his four-under par 66 while Colombia's Munoz carded a 67 that featured four birdies and a bogey.
They were one stroke in front of overnight co-leader Stewart Cink, who carded a 68 for 132, with Ben Crane, winner of this tournament in Memphis, Tennessee, on 133 after a 65.
Reavie started the day two shots off the lead. He picked up three birdies on the front nine and eagled the par-five 16th to go into the weekend poised to strike for a second career win to go with his 2008 Canadian Open title.
Reavie said he'd stay aggressive over the weekend.
"There's no way that I can change my mindset and go out there and try and make pars. I won't win the golf tournament if I do that," he said.
"I need to just keep doing the same thing I'm doing, attack the holes that suit my eye and make as many birdies as I can."
Schwartzel, the 2011 Masters champion, teed off on 10 and birdied four of his first eight holes. He was alone atop the leaderboard after a birdie on the par-four second but bogeyed the eighth.
He was expecting a demanding weekend in the final tuneup before next week's US Open at Erin Hills in Wisconsin.
"If you're missing fairways, with the greens, you're going to miss a lot of greens, you're going to struggle," he said.
"So if you want to move forward and win this golf tournament, I think all parts of your game are going to have to be in top form."
Munoz, whose late charge on Thursday gave him a share of the first-round lead with Cink, Scott Brown and Matt Every, teed off on 10 and was even through nine after a birdie and a bogey. He picked up three birdies coming in to maintain a share of the lead.
"I'm super happy," the 24-year-old Munoz said. "I'm really proud of the way I played today. I had one mistake, but I think a pretty good bogey on 18, so I was just happy to be able to step it up."
Round 1 - Four top first round leaderboardJune 9, 2017
Matt Every, Scott Brown, Stewart Cink and Sebastian Munoz each shot 6-under 64s on Thursday to share the lead after one round at the St. Jude Classic.
Charl Schwartzel and Matt Jones were each one stroke back at the final tuneup before the U.S. Open.
Two-time U.S. Open champion Retief Goosen and Chez Reavie each shot a 66 on the par-70 TPC Southwind course.
The 33-year-old Every has two wins on the PGA Tour, but none since 2014. He's only made two cuts this year and hasn't finished better than a tie for 62nd at the Arnold Palmer Invitational in March.
''I haven't played real well in a couple years, and I've been out here for like seven or eight, so I kind of know the drill,'' Every said. ''Like one round is not that big a deal. It is nice to play well, but yeah, they don't hand out trophies after the first round.''
Every had four birdies during his round and an eagle on the par-5 16th, sticking his second shot about 10 feet from the flagstick before sinking the putt. He closed his round by making a 30-foot birdie putt on the 18th.
''Middle of the round got a little away from me, but I saved some shots and I haven't been doing that lately,'' Every said. ''Then I played pretty solid the last few holes. So it was just a good day. I was kind of due for one.''
Cink, Brown and Munoz joined him by making afternoon charges up the leaderboard.
Brown, a 34-year-old who finished second at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans and tied for second at the Genesis Open, followed a bogey on the 14th with consecutive birdies, holing a pair of putts from inside of 10 feet to pull even with Every. He missed a 15-foot birdie putt on No. 18 that would have given him sole possession of the lead.
''I've been striking it nicely now for a few months and just the putter's kind of been a little inconsistent,'' Brown said. ''Hot some days, cold some days. ... If I can keep the putter rolling, should be kind of in the mix for the week.''
Cink, a 44-year-old, six-time winner on tour and 2009 British Open winner, birdied three straight holes late in his round, including one from about 10 feet on the par-4 5th. He bogeyed the next hole, then closed his round with a birdie on No. 9 to catch Brown and Every.
''The key to my round today was the key to anyone's round who plays well here and that is you've got to keep the ball in front of you,'' Cink said. ''Meaning, you don't have to hit every fairway, but you can't really be off too much.''
Munoz, a 24-year-old, third-year pro from Colombia who's chasing his first victory on tour, was bogey-free during the best round of his career. He had six birdies, including two in a row on Nos. 15-16.
|T4||ESP||Rafael Cabrera Bello||-8||17||1||70||66||65||-||201|
|T31||RSA||Tyrone van Aswegen||-2||18||3||73||67||65||73||278|
|T47||KOR||K. J. Choi||Par||18||-1||72||69||70||69||280|
|T52||USA||J. B. Holmes||1||18||2||74||64||71||72||281|
|CUT||USA||Davis Love III||4||-||70||72||72||-||-||144|
|CUT||USA||Harold Varner III||4||-||70||73||71||-||-||144|
|CUT||ZIM||Brendon de Jonge||5||-||70||72||73||-||-||145|
|CUT||USA||J. J. Henry||5||-||70||74||71||-||-||145|
|CUT||USA||J. T. Poston||5||-||70||72||73||-||-||145|
|CUT||USA||D. A. Points||7||-||70||72||75||-||-||147|