By Fred Albers, PGATOUR.COM Correspondent
LAS VEGAS -- The
key swing of the J.T. Shriners Hospitals for Children Open came on
the 16th tee on Sunday. Brendon de Jonge missed the fairway at the
par 5 and could not reach the green in 2. Meanwhile, Ryan Moore hit
the fairway and hit his second shot on the back fringe, eventually
recording a birdie. Brendon had to lay up out of the rough and did
not birdie to lose a share of the lead. Moore was able to make two
pars at 17 and 18 to win the tournament.
Jason Day was thinking 59. He had a
remarkable nine holes of golf, going out in 28. Day was 7 under at
the turn, he had just 10 putts in nine holes including eight
one-putt greens, while recording seven birdies. In Las Vegas
parlance, he was a heater. It appeared Day would continue the
torrid play over his final nine holes. He hit a wedge from 130
yards to within 5 feet, 3 inches of the cup at the 10th and then
missed the putt. It was almost as if you could hear the air going
out of a balloon. Day made just one birdie coming home, on the 16th
hole, and then finished with a double bogey on the 18th to shoot a
65 and finish fourth. He said he was thinking 59 from the start of
the round, picking a target score of 24 under.
The final round turned into a painful
learning experience for both Jonas Blixt and Colt Knost. Playing in
the final group, Blixt bogeyed the first hole and the rookie could
only get two birdies the entire day while watching both Moore and
de Jonge go on birdie binges. Playing in the second to last group,
Colt Knost played himself in position for a huge payday only to
double bogey the last two holes and faded to a 13th-place finish.
It's said experience is the worst of all teachers because it gives
the exam first and the lesson later.
Rory Sabbatini tried to gut it out, but
couldn't. He began experiencing back spasms on the second hole. He
limped down the fairway in obvious pain and thought about a
withdrawal after making par. Instead, Sabbatini limped up the hill
to the third tee and continued playing. The pain became too much on
the eighth hole and he finally withdrew from the tournament.
The par 5 16th hole was set up for
scoring in the final round with the hole cut in the center of the
green, 24 paces from the front. It played as the easiest hole on
the course with a 4.577 scoring average. The hole gave up 33
birdies, three eagles and just nine bogeys. None of the eagles
however, came from the tournament leaders.
Fred Albers is a course reporter for SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio.
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