10 Notes to Know: March 15, 2021

March 15, 2021
Justin Ray
  1. Justin Thomas tied the lowest closing 36-hole score in Players Championship history (12-under) to win by one stroke over Lee Westwood at TPC Sawgrass. It’s the 14th PGA Tour victory for Thomas at age 27. Since 1960, only three other players have won their 14th PGA Tour title before age 28 – the others are Jack Nicklaus, Johnny Miller and Tiger Woods.
  1. Thomas put together an exemplary weekend of ball-striking, leading the field in strokes gained off-the-tee and strokes gained tee-to-green over the closing two rounds. Thomas’ gained 11.18 strokes tee-to-green over the last 36 holes, the most by any player on a weekend at TPC Sawgrass since tracking began in 2004.
  1. Thomas narrowly missed the 18th green with his approach shot, his only missed green in regulation all day. JT would have been the first player to ever hit all 18 greens in regulation in the final round at TPC Sawgrass. He did, however, become the first player to hit 17 G.I.R. in the final round of a Players Championship win since Hal Sutton in 2000.
  1. Thomas joined Tiger Woods as the only players to ever win a Players Championship, a major and at least ten PGA Tour titles before turning 28 years old. With 14 PGA Tour wins, only Dustin Johnson (15 wins) has more victories in the last six seasons. This was the sixth time in the last five seasons Thomas has won when trailing entering the final round, most of any player in that span.
  1. For the second consecutive week, Lee Westwood took one of the top-ranked young American players to the closing holes, but ultimately finished runner-up. With a win, the 47-year-old Westwood would have been the oldest PGA Tour winner from Europe in the modern era. Westwood struggled off the tee on Sunday, ranking 65th of 71 players in strokes gained off the tee in the final round.
  1. Westwood held the 54-hole lead in back-to-back weeks on the PGA Tour, but did not win either tournament. He is just the third player in the last 15 seasons to hold the 54-hole lead in consecutive weeks and not win either event – the other two were Daniel Summerhays in 2013 and Jordan Spieth earlier this season.
  1. One week after winning at Bay Hill, Bryson DeChambeau nearly took home his first Players Championship title. DeChambeau (finished tied for third) was trying to become the first player to win at Bay Hill and TPC Sawgrass in consecutive weeks since Tiger Woods in 2001. DeChambeau also would have been the first reigning U.S. Open champion to win The Players Championship since Woods in ’01.
  1. The 17th hole at TPC Sawgrass saw 66 balls go into the water, just the second time in the last ten years that 60 or more shots found the drink surrounding the famed ‘island green.’ More than half of those water balls came in round one, when 35 found the drink – the most in an opening round at the 17th since there were 50 in 2007.
  1. On the European Tour, Antoine Rozner made a 60-foot birdie putt on the final hole to win by one stroke at the Qatar Masters. It’s the second win for Rozner in his last six European Tour starts following his Golf in Dubai Championship victory in December. With two wins in his first 29 events on that Tour, he is the fastest Frenchman ever to two European Tour titles.
  1. The PGA Tour stays in Florida for next week’s Honda Classic, where Sungjae Im will defend his title. In 2020, PGA National averaged nearly two strokes over par per round, the third-toughest course on the Tour all season. Adam Scott leads all players in birdies per round at the event the last five years, averaging 4.07.