The CJ Cup @ Nine Bridges 2017
October 23, 2017
Justin Thomas beat Australia's Marc Leishman on the second playoff hole Sunday to win the inaugural CJ Cup in South Korea and cap his breakout year on the PGA Tour.
Thomas sealed his fifth PGA title in 2017 - and his first of the new 2017-18 PGA season - when he birdied the second extra hole and Leishman made bogey after finding the water.
The pair went to a sudden-death playoff after completing the first U.S. PGA Tour regular-season event in South Korea tied at 9-under 279.
Thomas, who shared the overnight lead with Scott Brown, fell behind when he had a double bogey on the 550-yard par-5 No. 3 hole.
''I just kept telling myself it was a bad golf swing,'' Thomas said. ''It wasn't a mental error or wasn't a wrong judgment that we made but just a bad golf swing at a pretty bad time but I knew you are going make bogeys out here today.''
Thomas regained the lead and looked set for the win in regulation until he bogeyed No. 17, a 195-yard par 3 hole. But he made amends with a birdie at the last to join Leishman in the playoff.
''I really played some great golf after the third hole but it's just such a long day with these conditions,'' Thomas said.
Thomas said he is looking forward to some time off after his breakout season.
''I'm so excited to not do anything,'' Thomas said. ''I officially have nothing left in the tank at this moment.''
Leishman, who ended a 5-year drought on the PGA Tour when he won the Arnold Palmer Invitational in March, then added the BMW Championship in September, looked to have slipped out of contention when he made bogeyed the 5th, 7th and 8th holes to tumble down the leaderboard. But he birdied No. 9, No. 12 and No. 14 to join Thomas at 9-under then finished bogey-birdie to get in the playoff.
Replaying the par-5 18th, the pair both made par on the first extra hole before Leishman gambled and lost on his next attempt at the 568-yard final hole, finding the water after trying to reach the green in two.
''Obviously, disappointing to finish off that way. I probably got a little bit of a lifeline on the first play-off hole and I didn't take advantage of it. You give one of the best players in the world a chance like that, he's probably going to take it. Disappointed but second is not all bad,'' Leishman said.
''It was a bit of a dodgy lie. I was certainly not going to lay up. I just chunked it a little bit and goes in the water. If you go down, you want to go down like that. You don't want to go down laying up and making par. I rather attack and try to take it. I would certainly sleep better at night just doing that.''
Cameron Smith of Australia finished one stroke back in third place at 8-under with Whee Kim, the highest placed finisher of the 16 South Korean players in the field, finishing fourth at 7-under after closing with a 72.
Thomas' five tournament wins this calendar year included his first major, the 99th PGA Championship, which he won in August.
''I'm so pumped,'' Thomas added. ''I probably wasn't very fun to be around those first two days. I was just glad I finally got back to myself being patient these last two days.''
October 22, 2017
Justin Thomas fired a 2-under 70 in windy conditions to share the lead with fellow American Scott Brown after the third round of the CJ Cup on Saturday.
Thomas offset a lone double bogey and a bogey with five birdies to reach the clubhouse at 9-under 207.
''I know for a fact I played better today than I did on Thursday when I shot a 9 under,'' Thomas said. ''It's just so hard out there. I've never played in a place where the wind swirls as much as it does here.''
Brown had back-to-back bogeys on Nos. 10 and 11 but recovered with two birdies on the back nine for a 71.
''It was playing tough today,'' Brown said. ''Just kind of grounded it out, not a lot of birdies to be made. I just made some clutch up-and-downs to kind of keep the round going.''
Anirban Lahiri of India moved into a share of third place with Australian Marc Leishman (71) after a 69 that included four birdies and a bogey.
Whee Kim (70) was the highest placed of the 16 South Korean players in the field, tied for fifth after a 72.
Overnight leader Luke List struggled with the conditions and fell into a tie for eighth place after a 76. List had three bogeys on the front nine and a pair of double bogeys on the back nine.
Jason Day also struggled with the wind, carding a 71 to be tied for 16th on 3-under 213.
More wind is forecast for the final round on Sunday.
''It's going to be tough but everyone has to deal with it,'' Thomas said. ''So we're just going to have to get a great game plan and stick with it and just try to make as many pars as possible.''
October 21, 2017
Luke List fired a 5-under 67 to take a one-stroke lead after the second round of the CJ Cup on Friday.
List, who is looking to win on the U.S. PGA Tour for the first time, carded five birdies, including one on the par-5 9th, his final hole, to move to 9 under.
''Some positive vibes there,'' List said. ''Anytime you get a bogey-free you are really happy about it. The wind was tricky but I was able to save par a lot and play solid in the back nine.''
Three-time tour winner Lucas Glover compensated for a pair of bogeys with seven birdies in a 67 and was tied for second with Scott Brown, who had a 70.
A day after firing a 63 for the first-round lead, Justin Thomas made a 74 to slip into a share of fourth with Australian golfer Cameron Smith (68) at 7 under.
Thomas took a three-shot lead into the second round, but an opening 3-over-par 39 on the front brought him back to the pack.
The second-round 74 is Thomas' worst score since an 80 in the second round of the British Open.
Jason Day also struggled en route to a 74 to fall back to 24th at 2 under.
Whee Kim (70) was the highest placed of the 16 South Korean players in the field at 6 under overall, tied for sixth with Patrick Reed (72), Chez Reavie (72) and another Australian, Marc Leishman (72).
Seung Yul Noh carded five birdies and closed with an eagle in a bogey-free 65 for the best score of the day, lifting him to even par overall.
Conditions so far have been windy and List said he expects that to be a factor on the weekend.
''If the wind does not blow out here, there will be a lot of birdies,'' List said. ''If the wind does blow, you can kind of be a little bit more strategic and try to make some pars out there.''
October 20, 2017
Justin Thomas had two eagles on his front nine and finished with a 9-under 63 to take a three-stroke lead Thursday after the first round of the CJ Cup at Nine Bridges, the first official PGA Tour tournament staged in South Korea.
Thomas started with a bogey at 10 but made amends with eagles on the par-5 12th and 18th holes around four straight birdies from No. 14-17 to turn in 29. He added three more birdies and a bogey to hold his margin.
''It was kind of a weird day,'' Thomas said. ''It started off with a really, really bad bogey. And then I had a seven-hole stretch there where I basically kind of went unconscious. That was pretty much most of my round.''
Thomas has won the CIMB Classic in Malaysia twice - in 2015 and 2016 - and says he is comfortable playing overseas.
''It's still golf,'' Thomas said. ''It doesn't matter where you are and I know that it is very cliche and easier said than done but you just have to take advantage of the rest and time you have off the course.''
Chez Reavie, Gavin Kyle Green, Scott Brown, Patrick Reed and Marc Leishman all opened with 66s and were in a five-way share of second at 6 under.
Jhonattan Vegas and Charles Howell III were among five players a shot further back at 5 under.
Jason Day and fellow Australian Rod Pampling were at 4 under, one stroke ahead of Pat Perez, who was coming off a victory at last week's CIMB Classic in Malaysia. Adam Scott had a 72 in opening round containing four birdies and four bogeys.
|T11||ESP||Rafael Cabrera Bello||-4||-||71||70||72||71||284|
|T19||USA||Charles Howell III||-2||-||67||72||78||69||286|
|T26||USA||Harold Varner III||1||-||69||72||73||75||289|
|T47||TPE||Cheng Tsung Pan||7||-||72||77||74||72||295|
|T67||USA||J. B. Holmes||14||-||75||79||73||75||302|
|T67||KOR||K. J. Choi||14||-||69||74||82||77||302|