Sunday, May 13, 2012

The 2012 Players Championship Recap and Coverage

Wow, what a tournament.  The changes made to hole 17 definitely allowed for some better shots throughout the week, but the course still played tough like always.  Sawgrass is a definite test for all of the players out there.

Entering the final round, Kevin Na had a one-shot lead over Matt Kuchar.  Rickie Fowler was 3 back and Ben Curtis and Zach Johnson were 5 back.  Na had caused quite a stir throughout the early rounds with his "yips" with the golf swing.  He would waggle 6+ times, take a backswing, stop or swing over the ball, and then yell at himself.  Not only was it annoying to him, it definitely perturbed his playing partners.  However, he was able to keep it together throughout the first 3 days to post a 12-under par score.

In the final round, things got started early with a bogey by Kuchar on hole 1.  He fell to 3 behind Na on hole 2 when Na birdied and Kuchar bogeyed.  Rickie Fowler also made an early charge with birdies on 2 and 4 to move it to 11-under par.  While all of the excitement was happening on the front-nine, Luke Donald was making a charge up the leaderboard to post the clubhouse lead at 9-under par with a final-round 66.  It wouldn't be until Martin Laird finished at 11-under that Donald would be surpassed.

As the leaders battled on the front-nine, movement started to happen.  Na bogeyed 5, 6, 8, and 9 to finish the front nine at 3-over par 39, while Kuchar rallied to take the solo lead with a 1-under 35.  Na's struggles continued on the back nine, falling off even more with a 37 to finish in a tie for 7th place.  Curtis, Fowler, and Johnson all played solidly on the back-nine, each finishing at 11-under par to join Laird.  Fowler had a short birdie on 18 to take solo second, but failed to convert.

Heading to 17, Kuchar had a 3 shot lead.  He bailed out left of the target and three-putted for bogey.  Needing only a bogey to win on 18, Kuchar hit a solid drive, hit the green in regulation, and two putted for his fourth career PGA Tour win.  With the win, he moved to 6th in the FedEx Cup standings and solidly in Ryder Cup qualifying position.

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