AKRON, Ohio – Welcome to the Monday Finish, which comes one day after two Australians produced unexpected results.
Jason Day had converted his past five 54-hole leads into victory, but couldn’t continue that run at the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational. A double-bogey at the par-5 16th, where a risky recovery shot found the water, sunk his chances.
Greg Chalmers had never won in 386 starts, the longest streak among active players. Like Day, he brought that streak to an end Sunday. Chalmers, 42, can now add the PGA TOUR to the list of circuits on which he’s been victorious. He arrived at the final hole with a one-point lead in the modified Stableford format before making eagle to close his win in style.
Chalmers’ victory in Reno, Nevada, came hours after Dustin Johnson won at the Bridgestone and at an hour when many undoubtedly were enjoying their Fourth of July weekend. You missed a great story if you were one of those lighting incendiary devices instead of watching the action out of Reno.
You would have seen Chalmers’ perseverance pay off. It was a victory that sent many of his peers to social media to express their happiness for the likable Australian.
He arrived in Reno with conditional status on the PGA TOUR and just 11 FedExCup points. He had missed the cut in five of six TOUR starts this season; the lone exception was the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions, which, of course, has no cut. He finished 58th there.
Chalmers sat outside the top 200 in the FedExCup before his win. He left with tee times in the year’s last two majors and the Hyundai Tournament of Champions.
Johnson’s win – and Day’s loss – were the focal points Sunday, and for good reason. Johnson won a major and WGC in consecutive weeks to take over the top spot in the FedExCup and move to No. 2 in the world ranking. Day, meanwhile, made a rare mistake in what has been an otherwise dominant year. He was seeking his eighth win in his past 20 starts.
Johnson joins the likes of Day, Adam Scott and Jordan Spieth as multiple winners this season. That’s a strong list. They’re also the top four names in the FedExCup, setting the stage for some fun viewing come Playoffs time.
Chalmers, on the other hand, still has work to do if he wants to join them in the PGA TOUR’s postseason. Even after his victory, he ranks outside the top 125 in the FedExCup. This just reinforces how far out on the PGA TOUR’s fringes he sat before his win.
Television ratings and Internet traffic prove that people love seeing stars win, but this season we’ve also been treated to several tales similar to Chalmers’. I love those stories. They seem more applicable to our own lives. Watching Johnson smash drivers is impressive, but the likes of Chalmers and Billy Hurley, who was ranked 607th in the world when he won the Quicken Loans National one week earlier. They had to fight through struggles and disappointments to reach the winner’s circle. We all know too well about life’s ups and downs.
Chalmers ranked 490th in the world ranking when he won. Two of this season’s winners were actually ranked lower at the time of their victory: Hurley and Brian Stuard, who was No. 513 when he won the Zurich Classic of New Orleans. All three had conditional status before winning. There are so many perks that come with finishing first. For this trio, it included a full-time job for the next two years.
We also saw Jim Herman, 38, and William McGirt, 37, collect their first victories this season. They were higher in the world ranking than the previous names, but both had been waiting a long time to enter the winner’s circle. Both men had worked day jobs at one time before becoming TOUR winners. Herman was an assistant pro, while McGirt helped his dad run a junior golf tour.
Stories like that are sources of inspiration.
“Tenacity helps,” Chalmers said. “You just never know what's going to happen.”
No, you don’t. He proved that Sunday.
386 starts.— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) July 4, 2016
1 win. 🏆
There's no raining on his parade today. pic.twitter.com/iEf7cF65Ky
Five Microsoft Insights
1. Dustin Johnson’s driver was his most dangerous club at Firestone Country Club. He led the field in strokes gained: off-the-tee (+1.51 per round). He also ranked second in driving distance (341.1 yards) and fourth in driving accuracy (32 of 56 fairways). Johnson posted the best strokes gained: off-the-tee performance by a winner this season.
2. This was Dustin Johnson’s third World Golf Championships title, tying him with Geoff Ogilvy for second on the WGC wins list. The leader? Tiger Woods, with 18. The WGC-Dell Match Play is the only World Golf Championship that Johnson hasn’t won.
3. This was Johnson’s 11th PGA TOUR title. He has won in all nine of his TOUR seasons, but this is just his second multiple-win season. He also won two titles in 2010. Johnson now leads the FedExCup for the first time since he won the 2013 Hyundai Tournament of Champions.
4. Johnson shot 66-66 on the weekend to make up a six-shot deficit on Jason Day. Johnson led the field in strokes gained: putting over the final 36 holes, gaining 4.6 shots on Saturday and Sunday combined.
5. Johnson leads the TOUR in proximity to the hole from between 50 and 125 yards this season. He ranked 53rd, 80th and 113th in that statistic in the past three TOUR seasons. He also ranks 15th in proximity from outside 200 yards; he’s ranked inside the top 15 in that statistic in each of the past four seasons.
Top Three Videos
1. Jordan Spieth always makes putting look easy.
Jordan Spieth's unconventional warm-up at Bridgestone
2. Rhein Gibson once shot 55 in a casual round. Now he can add an albatross in a PGA TOUR event to his resume.
Shot of the Day
Rhein Gibson's albatross is the Shot of the Day from Barracuda
3. Navy veteran Billy Hurley III earned his way into the Bridgestone Invitational with a win at the previous week’s Quicken Loans National. He used his appearance to help this serviceman surprise his family.
Billy Hurley III and Bridgestone surprise a military family