TPC River Highlands Course, Cromwell, Connecticut, 6,841 yards, par 70
Defending champion: Russell Knox, -14. Knox outlasted Jerry Kelly, who shot -13. The main story was Jim Furyk's 58 on the final day. Furyk shot a 27 on the front side with 6 birdies and an eagle. He posted 3 more birdies on the backside before coming down a little bit. But he finished with a 31 on the back to post the record setting number. In typical Furyk fashion though, he finished 5th. Amazing playing, but not enough to get Furyk over the top.
Last week's 117th U.S. Open
Brooks Koepka was flawless on Sunday shooting a 67 to finish the tournament -16 and capture his first major by 4 shots over Hideki Matsuyama and Brian Harmon, who both posted -12. Hideki had a strong finish and Harmon hung tough, but Koepka was unbeatable that day. Was a little disappointed in the venue. Erin Hills posed not much resistance to the players who were in contention, certainly not Justin Thomas on Saturday, when he posted 63 in round 3, and Koepka, who breezed through his round on Sunday. It just didn't seem like Koepka had any stress the whole round. Just like a routine round with friends on a Saturday for Brooks. USGA Executive Director Mike Davis has tried to be creative with his choices for venues lately, but his 2015 choice of Chambers Bay was disastrous, and this choice of Erin Hills wasn't much better. This tournament needs to get back to a major test of perseverance to an extreme level. Next year, 2018, the 118th playing will be at Shinnecock Hills, which is a classic venue, so that should be a very good challenge. The classics need to be the immediate future for the Opens. In 2019, the Open is at Pebble Beach, 2020, Winged Foot, and 2021, Torrey Pines, so some signature Open courses coming up. Davis should stick to those tried and true courses for a while until he can find a new one that will demand the ultimate test to the players.
Really good field this week with the likes of Rory, Jason Day,. Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas competing.
Weather: Good overall. Temperatures in the low to mid 80's. Clouds and sun, with rain chances on Friday and Saturday. Sunday is a sunny day for the most part with winds at 7-12 MPH.
TV: Thursday-Friday, Golf Channel, 2:30-5:30 PM CT; Saturday-Sunday: GC, 12-1:30 PM CT; CBS, 2-5 PM CT.
Key Holes on River Highlands course
No. 15, 298 yards, par 4
One of the most electric holes on the tour. This hole can obviously be reached, but there is water on the left and sand on the right. Should lead to some drama on Sunday with players trying to catch the leader, and going for eagle if possible. Anywhere from 2 to 6 can happen on this gem of a hole.
No. 16, 171 yards, par 3
The 171 yard hole requires a well struck mid to 8 iron shot with a lot of water to carry as there is a lake in front. The green is narrow and pin locations can make it even more challenging with a lot of slope in the greens for some uneven putts.
No. 17, 433 yard, par 4
This is a tough hole with water covering the entire right side of the hole and a bunker on the left. Tough, intimidating, pressure-filled drive on Sunday. Then the player has to carry water on his second shot with wind a factor, it'll be gusting up to 12 MPH, maybe more, so club selection is crucial. There will be huge crowds for this hole, particularly on Sunday, as it will be a major determining factor on who wins this golf tournament.
No. 18, 444 yards, par 4
This is a good birdie opportunity for the players, and Sunday, some guys will need it. A well struck drive leaves a mid to short iron into the green that is pretty small and circular. There is a trap in front and a trap on the right side, so a miss into either one of those can be a problem come the 72nd hole. Should be riveting with a massive crowd waiting behind the green.
Like this 30 year old from Savannah, GA. via the University of Georgia, to capture the championship after finishing in a tie for 2nd last week at the Open. He is a classic competitor, who puts forth 100% every shot. He won at the Wells Fargo in May, and I see him in the victory circle again. Going with this Dawg to win at River Highlands.
This 24 year old young gun from Birmingham, AL, by way of the University of Alabama, finished T-9 last week at the Open shooting 69, 68 in the third and fourth rounds. Like where he's headed. He clinched the national championship for the Crimson Tide in 2014 with a 22 foot eagle putt. It was dramatic and super clutch. He's going to win soon, maybe here.