By Paul Myers
A week after defeating the red-hot Hideki Matsuyama to win the SBS Tournament of Champions, Justin Thomas was right back at work claiming yet another title. Thanks to an incredibly opening round 59 in the Sony Open in Hawaii, this win lacked the drama that was seen last week. This time around, Thomas cruised to a seven shot victory over Justin Rose, with Jordan Spieth coming third at eight shots off the pace. It should go without saying that Justin Thomas is now one of the top players to watch for the rest of the 2017 season.
A Stunning Performance
It is obviously impressive to win two PGA Tour events in a row, no matter how those victories are achieved. However, what Thomas has done over the last two weeks is even more impressive when you look at some of the details. First, he managed to take down Matsuyama at Kapalua. Then, facing another strong field, Thomas ran away with a record-setting win. Not only was his Thursday 59 notable from a historical perspective, but he also finished the week with the lowest total score in Tour history. No player had ever posted a total as low as 253 prior to Thomas’ performance in the Sony Open.
Other Big Names
While Thomas managed to successfully steal the show in Honolulu, there were plenty of other notable names to watch during this early season event. As mentioned above, both Justin Rose and Jordan Spieth posted strong showings, finishing second and third respectively. Past Masters Champion Zach Johnson finished in a tie for sixth at -17, and Hideki Matsuyama continued his strong play with a T27. Not all of the big names fared so well, however, as Jimmy Walker, Jason Dufner, Brandt Snedeker, and Paul Casey all missed the cut.
Heading to California
Turning our attention forward, the PGA Tour is going to make its first appearance on the U.S. mainland for 2017 with the CareerBuilder Challenge. This is the annual Tour stop in the greater Palm Springs, CA area – specifically, the event is held in La Quinta, with the Stadium Course at PGA West serving as host for the final round. The two other courses included in the rotation for the week are La Quinta County Club, and the PGA West Nicklaus Tournament course. Some of the top names in the field for this popular event include Phil Mickelson, Patrick Reed, defending champion Jason Dufner, and many more. This event is the first of the ‘West Coast Swing’, with several more to be played throughout California and Arizona.