Weekend winners: Spieth obliterates field at KapaluaJanuary, 2016
But the world number one says Tiger comparisons are premature
Hyundai Tournament of Champions: Jordan Spieth
A seventh win in 77 PGA Tour starts for Spieth as he picked up where he left off in 2015, finishing eight clear of Patrick Reed in Hawaii after a closing 67.
Spieth closed out the tournament at 30, one short of Ernie Els’ record, though he still finished with three birdies in the last four holes. The victory ties Spieth with Woods for the most victories by age 23 though, in his first 77 starts, Woods had already gathered 18 triumphs.
Reed came within a whisker of not dropping a shot all week, Spieth dropped two, when he bogeyed the par-5 15th on Sunday. The last player to go 72 holes without a bogey and not win was Charles Howell III at the 2010 Greenbrier Classic.
Among many achievements Spieth led the field in strokes gained in putting, helped by being third best in proximity to the hole.
What Spieth said (of comparisons with Tiger): “I just think it’s premature, but I’ll say that probably my entire career. I know what he did and I just find it hard to believe that it can be matched.
“I’m proud that in this off-season and really taking quite a bit of time off during that off-season, our game seemed to be rounded into form. I’m still working on a couple things that we’re trying to work on, I’m not just taking it back and through. But my putter felt great, which is huge to start your first tournament back and not really feel like you have to work much on putting, other than getting the speed down.”
South African Open: Brandon Stone
Stone ticked off his first victory with a topsy-turvy final round at Glendower to beat his compatriot Christian Bezuidenhout by two shots with England’s Daniel Brooks a shot behind in third after a bogey on the 18th.
The South African led by five after two early birdies but six bogeys (and a birdie) in the next seven holes meant he was two behind Brooks.
But four birdies in the next five turned the tables again and he held on with two pars, of just five in total, for victory.
Stone only got through the Challenge Tour in 14th spot after a closing 68 in the final event in Oman. Before that he studied at the University of Texas, as Jordan Spieth did, and is thought to be a brilliant ball-striker.
What Stone said:“I don’t have the vocab to describe how I feel right now. That round was the most up-and-down round that I’ve ever had in my life, without a doubt in my mind.
“After making that bogey on the 11th I said to myself, ‘You’re still right there, you’ve been playing great for three days now. Let’s just keep it going, just hit the fairway on 12. I hit a great one down 12, left myself my favourite yardage. I made an incredible shot and it just swung from there.”