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Sunday, June 13, 2021

2021 Match of Champions scores, grades: Harris English ends victory drought in dramatic vogue in Hawaii

At an occasion completely for golfers who’ve gained on the PGA Tour over the past 12 months, Harris English broke an eight-year winless drought on Sunday on the Match of Champions.

If that is complicated, it must be. The 42-golfer area included each winners from 2020 in addition to everybody who completed within the high 30 within the FedEx Cup standings (the place English completed twelfth). He is been a top-10 (or so) golfer on the earth all through the final 12 months, even when it took till 2021 for him to get the win to show it.

It was a bit bumpy coming residence on Sunday. Following a 21-under exhibiting over the primary three days, English performed the primary 11 holes on Sunday in even par and gave up his co-lead after three rounds. It took a Herculean end that included 5 birdies (and the shot of the event) within the final eight holes for him to chase down Joaquin Niemann and get right into a playoff.

That shot of the week got here on No. 18 in regulation when English flushed one from 271 yards to 10 ft for eagle and the win. He missed the eagle putt and settled for birdie and the playoff, the place one other birdie on No. 18 — this one much less conspicuous than the final — secured his first win since November 2013.

“It is unimaginable,” he mentioned via tears after the victory. “Numerous onerous work through the years. You by no means assume you are going to get right here once more. … It is onerous to win out right here. I had a very good likelihood this week and felt good about my sport. I simply needed to get it carried out.”

English’s profession has been a little bit of a curler coaster. He was an incredible beginner, after which gained twice again in 2013 on the PGA Tour whereas climbing as excessive as No. 38 on the earth. From there, it was a sluggish fall till now that noticed him outdoors the highest 180 on the earth on the finish of 2017, 2018 and 2019. However his 2020 was great, and he, Xander Schauffele and Rory McIlroy had been the three greatest gamers on the earth who did not win. 

Now, although, English snags the primary victory of 2021 and earned a visit again to Kapalua for the 2022 Match of Champions the old style manner. Grade: A+

Let’s have a look now at how some others within the area completed and hand out some grades. 

Joaquin Niemann (2nd): He is youthful than Collin Morikawa, Sungjae Im and Viktor Hovland and solely eight months older than Matthew Wolff. He was unreal over the weekend, and performed his final 22 holes in 11 underneath (with a bogey). The trajectory of each his drives and his profession is clearly thrilling, and we might have arrived on the intersection of him successful a number of occasions on the PGA Tour and people lastly realizing how younger and the way nice he’s. Grade: A+

Xander Schauffele (T5): He did what he does at this course and logged a backdoor top-five end with a 66 on Sunday. Coming into this week, Schauffele was the third-best golfer of the final decade on the Plantation Course at Kapalua, and he performed nicely once more with a pair of 66s two of the 4 days. Nevertheless, I would prefer to see him shut from out in entrance as an alternative of making an attempt to sneak via the again door for all of those wins. He is a reasonably good final-round participant, however not a top-10 man on the earth at placing himself within the correct place going into the ultimate spherical. Grade: A

Bryson DeChambeau (T7): The leverage of DeChambeau’s new energy is that he can end high 10 in an occasion by which he was -1 strokes gained mixed in each class apart from off the tee. That simply shouldn’t occur, however it did. And whereas it is perhaps barely more durable for him to realize strokes on all the pieces previous his tee shot, he wants solely to be common in these areas to win golf tournaments. That is a terrifying proposition.

“I discovered rather a lot about my sport with the brand new velocity,” mentioned DeChambeau after (narrowly) main the sphere in driving distance. “My placing was rusty this week, sadly.”

When it is not, he will win rather a lot. Grade: A

Collin Morikawa (T7): Liked what I noticed from Morikawa this week. I used to be mildly involved about him coming into this 12 months with all of the velocity wars occurring. That is not his world, so it creates alternative for him to irresponsibly chase it or to get lapped by guys who’re for much longer than him. As an alternative, he did what he does in addition to (in all probability higher than) anybody else on the earth and was flawless on his method photographs for the primary three days earlier than lastly fading a bit on Sunday. Nonetheless, it was a pleasant begin to what must be a monster 12 months for Morikawa. Grade: A-

Dustin Johnson (T11): D.J. dug too huge of a gap when he misplaced over a stroke on the primary day when everyone was posting nice numbers. The following three days had been lights out, although, and his swing appeared nice. One factor D.J. did on Sunday when the wind was up that I have never seen a ton from him is somewhat choked-down, low bullet shot from the golf green. It is perhaps a shot he already had in his arsenal, but when he is including to it, this week was a pleasant harbinger that is going to proceed to be problematic for the remainder of the golf world. Grade: A

Hideki Matsuyama (T41): Needed to embody one dangerous week in right here though the scoring throughout the board was good. Matsuyama misplaced — shut your eyes and look away in the event you do not need to see it — virtually 10 strokes placing this week and completed tied for final. Grade: D-

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