Monday Finish: Five things from Shriners Hospitals for Children Open
October 12, 2020
By Ben Everill, PGATOUR.COM
Martin Laird wins in playoff at Shriners
LAS VEGAS – Claiming perhaps the ultimate redemption on a hole that had punked him in the past, Martin Laird grabbed his first win in more than seven years at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open, outlasting Matthew Wolff and Austin Cook in a playoff.
Here are five stories you might have missed from TPC Summerlin.
1. Laird had luck but also showcased incredible skills.
The 37-year-old Scotsman has always loved TPC Summerlin having won the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in 2009 and getting desperately close when losing a playoff in dramatic circumstances a year later.
It took an ace from Jonathan Byrd that year on the par-3 17th during sudden death to dispel the challenge of Laird and Cameron Percy so when Laird was able to make a clutch up-and-down on the hole in regulation and then win the tournament there soon after it seemed redemptive.
“That hole owed me one,” Laird said after getting career TOUR win No. 4 and moving to fourth in the FedExCup with a clutch 23-foot birdie. “To make that putt on 17 honestly was huge in regulation, and then to roll that putt in there to close it out, I mean, obviously it's pretty special.”
He also took care of another hole … the par-5 ninth. Laird birdied it on Day One and then made eagle for three straight rounds. Sunday’s came from a buried bunker lie in dramatic fashion.
Las Vegas just suits some. Laird was in the tournament via a sponsor’s exemption having only recently returned from left knee surgery to fix a meniscus issue.
2. Wolff howls but goes hungry again.
Matthew Wolff showed he’s not scorned by his recent runner-up finish at the U.S. Open, jumping straight back on the horse to contend in Las Vegas.
Wolff had chances to win but ultimately had to settle for a second straight runner-up finish when Laird prevailed in the playoff. While there is no doubt some disappointment, the 21-year-old should take heart from his efforts.
He appeared to be out of the mix until an incredible third round 10-under 61. At one stage he went 9 under in as many holes with three eagles in a five-hole stretch. It was a great show of power and finesse and proves it won’t be long before he adds to his win from the 2019 3M Open.
“I'm feeling like I can go out there and win any week now,” he said. “Maybe a win is due sometime soon. But if I just keep on doing this, I'm sure it'll come.”
Matthew Wolff’s Round 3 highlights from Shriners
3. Bryson DeChambeau continues to bash the ball and fire up the world of golf.
It was quite a week for the FedExCup leader. He led after an opening-round 62 and sat just one back at the halfway mark when he was confronted with comments from fellow U.S. Amateur winner Matthew Fitzpatrick.
Fitzpatrick had claimed DeChambeau’s body transformation and subsequent long ball game is devoid of skill but DeChambeau defended his game plan.
“A year ago I wasn't hitting in anywhere near as far as I am today. It took a lot of work, a lot of hours to work through the night to figure out a lot of this stuff… from my perspective, I think it takes a little bit more skill to do what I'm doing, and that's why there are only a few people doing it out here,” DeChambeau countered.
“I feel like I've started to go down a path that's allowed me to have an advantage over everyone, and I think that is a skillset when you look at it. For me out there today, I was still able to hit a lot of fairways at 360 yards. That's tough to do with drivers.”
Unfortunately DeChambeau’s third round started with a 5-over stretch before he battled back to a 71. On Sunday he did his best to make a run but some miscues late left him with a 66 and a tie for eighth.
4. It was a big week for Austin Cook and Peter Malnati as they look for career resurgences.
Cook had been without a top-10 finish on TOUR since being T4 at the Barbasol Championship in July of 2019. The winner of the 2017-18 season-opening The RSM Classic showed on his day he has all of the skills.
“This is the best finish in three years since the win. Game is on the right track,” Cook said. “It's kind of an emotional day. It's been such a grind to get back here. Just being back in the moment, I loved it, and I can't wait to do it again.”
Malnati showed his runner-up finish at the Sanderson Farms Championship last week was no flash in the pan as he pushed his way to a T5 in Las Vegas. Last year he was 137th in the FedExCup without a top-10 finish.
He scraped into the 2019 Playoffs in 118th with just one top-10, and that came as a T9 as part of a team at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans. Now he is seventh in the FedExCup with 411 points, more than he earned last season (238) and almost as many as the year before (423).
“I'm starting my seventh year on TOUR, which is really a dream come true. I played a lot of bad golf in those years and it's really fun to play well, so this is great,” he said.
5. Will Zalatoris is just fractions from Special Temporary Membership and James Hahn is also close to securing his major medical.
Both men finished T5 in Vegas and put a huge dent in their goals. Hahn earned 100 of the 140 FedExCup points he needed to remain in the Major Medical category for the remainder of the season. He has 11 starts remaining to earn 40 points, the equivalent of a solo 22nd finish.
Playing on a sponsor exemption, Zalatoris needed a two-way T5 to earn Special Temporary Membership for the remainder of the season. He instead finished in a three way tie for fifth leaving him just three points shy of the mark. His top-10 finish however earns a spot in the upcoming Bermuda Championship where anything better than a 70th-place finish will get the job done for the Korn Ferry Tour points leader.
TOUR TOP 10
The PGA TOUR Regular Season top 10 will receive bonuses for their efforts.
This week Last week Player Points 1 1 Bryson DeChambeau 675 2 6
575 3 2 Stewart Cink
Peter Malnati 411
8 5 Tyler McCumber