Man what a great weekend we had at Pebble Beach. Despite a relatively weak field, we got a helluva front page leaderboard all weekend. Jordan Spieth made his triumphant return (again) to hold a 2-shot lead thru 54 holes and we had some fantastic names in arms length to start off Sunday. Tournament favorite Patrick Cantlay, 2nd favorite Daniel Berger, former world number 1 Jason Day, and tour veteran Paul Casey were among those 2 or 3 shots back with a chance to make a move on Spieth.
Ultimately it was Daniel Berger who went out there and got the job done in a big way. Low round of the day 65 with an unreal eagle on the 72nd hole of the tournament. The irony is that on Saturday with the co-lead Berger made a mess of that hole by pushing his tee shot way right OB and made a double to stake Spieth to that 54-hole lead. That had to be hanging over his head as he stepped to the 18th tee in a tie for the lead yet again. This time he blasted his drive onto the short stuff and followed that up with what he called "the best 3-wood and putt of my life" to win the damn tournament. Big time stones.
It could be said about damn near every tournament that you gotta take advantage of the par 5's. Those are your opportunities to gain the most shots on the field and what Daniel Berger did today on those was ridiculous. Dude shot -6 on the four par 5's. It's damn near impossible to do any better than that. 14 wasn't even reachable and played pretty difficult and he birdied that one too. Special stuff on one of golf's most iconic courses.
Berger's been en fuego since the beginning of 2020. His PGA Tour career got off to a hot start by winning Rookie of the Year in 2015 and winning events the next couple of years, but he struggled with wrist injuries and inconsistent play in 2018 and 2019. He kicked off 2020 with better results and top 10'd the last 3 events before the COVID break and continued that on the other side by winning the first event back, the Charles Schwab. His great play really hasn't slowed, and he's climbed from 152nd in the world all the way up to 15th heading into this week. His 4th PGA Tour win this week may be the one that gets him inside the world Top 10 for the first time.
It has to be said that it's a bit disappointing to see Jordan Spieth come up short after holding the 54-hole lead for 2 consecutive weeks. With that said, you can't help but be encouraged by the way he played this week. He's hitting far more fairways and striking his irons as good as ever, even when he gets wayward off the tee. There were a couple of times today when he took a hellacious lash out of some heavy rough and somehow found the green to avoid making bogey. He just couldn't get the putter going today. We'll take a top 5 for a second consecutive week.
It also has to be said that that 4-putt from Nate Lashley down the stretch was extreeeemly tough to watch. Guy was nails for 69 holes this week and looked completely unflappable for most of today. The meltdown on 16 was ferocious and gave me all kinds of second-hand embarassment.
All in all though, a great tournament through and through. Pebble Beach always delivers. Congrats to Daniel Berger. Til next time…