The PST's first major of the season came a bit late this year but it sure had it's share of excitement.
Okay, not really. This was a 2-man race by the 9th hole and by 13 it was clear Jeff was going to do what he needed to do to cruise to victory. His exceptional front nine of 25 points (which included 0 points on the first hole) left him 4 clear of second place finisher Jaj (21pts), 10 points clear of 3rd place Nic (15pts) and a whopping 16 points clear of last place Icaro (9pts). Icaro's 18 hole total (23pts) would have left him 2 points back of Jeff's 9 hole total. Sad!
In other tournament news:
The 2017 Birthday Major (finally!) saw the 2017 debut of Nic, hoping to avoid a repeat of last season's embarrassment where he failed to reach the minimum qualifying standard and wasted a strong (if minimal) showing. The PST members are rooting for him this year to not repeat 2016 in any way, shape or form.
We saw Icaro continue his poor 2017 with another season worst round. Maybe the pressure of trying to maintain the co-"All-Time Major Winner" distinction is getting to him and his personal mantra of "I just win majors" is a relic of the past, considering he hasn't won a major since 2015 that is a real possibility. Let's hope he doesn't "Tiger" his PST legacy.
Jaj opened with a strong front 9, consisting of a birdie, 4 pars, 3 bogeys and 1 triple bogey for a 41 with nice accuracy numbers (4/8 fairways, 5/9 GIR). Unfortunately for him his strong play did not carry over to the back 9 where another birdie, 2 pars and 3 bogeys were joined by 2 triples and a quintuple bogey and mediocre accuracy (2/7 fairways, 2/9 GIR) for a finishing 49. For his consolation prize he was low round of the day with 90.
After an excellent drive to start the round, it seemed to fall apart for the 2017 Birthday Major Champ just as quickly as he scrambled for triple bogey 7 on the first hole. However, thanks to a timely butt-pat from Nic, things turned around quickly for Jeff, going just +2 on the next 7 holes (bogey, 4 straight pars, bogey, par) before finishing #9 with a 12 footer for birdie, his first of the season, and an outward 40. His accuracy numbers were okay (4/8 fairways, 4/9 GIR) but an incredible putting display (five 1-putts, four 2-putts, 13 putts total for the side) showed he was up to the task. His hot putting continued on the back 9 with another four 1-putts, but they were all in scramble mode as Jeff seemed to switch into cruise mode and perhaps let his focus slide thinking he had already locked up the title after a great outward 9. Fortunately for Jeff, the other players seemed to do the same. Except for Icaro. He seemed to do that from the second hole, though he was the only one to shoot better on the back 9 than the front 9, but after shooting a front nine 60 there's not really anywhere to go but up.
With the victory, Jeff is the first qualifier for the year-end Tournament of Champions and cements his place atop the standings with a commanding lead. Can anyone catch him this year or is 2017 the year he finally wins the McGasparsson Cup?
Standings After Event:
McLennan, Jeff 4.200 McLennan, Jon 1.833 Eriksson, Divane 1.000 Degasperi, Icaro 0.500