The Punter's De-Brief: Wood holds firm as Spieth putts his way to first home state win

A happy Chris Wood with the BMW PGA Championship trophy
A happy Chris Wood with the BMW PGA Championship trophy

Steve looks back on two vastly contrasting ways to win with Chris Wood holding on at Wentworth and Jordan Spieth putting his way to victory in Texas. Read our man's customary look back at last week's golf action here...

“It’s been a miserable week all round really and I’ve definitely traded poorly but I’m not going to beat myself up about it. Maybe Chris Wood’s finish showed why I was reluctant to play at 16.5 and English was beaten by pure brilliance in Texas. Sometimes you have to just shrug your shoulders and move on.”

Chris Wood set the tone for his day at Wentworth yesterday with an approach shot on the first to within inches of the hole and he went on to fire a six-under-par 29 on the front nine. Generally a 70.069/1 shot before the off, the Bristolian scrambled home a bit, with three bogeys over the last five holes and it was bizarre to read afterwards that he didn't know how he stood as he played the 18th.

"I didn't look at a leaderboard all day but when you are making lots of birdies on a tricky day you know you are there or thereabouts.

"On the 18th I had 196 yards to the front and I immediately thought six iron, but my caddie said 'Do you want to know the situation?'

"I said I'll put it in your hands and he said I'd like you to lay up. It seems silly hitting sand wedge, sand wedge into 18 but as soon as he told me to lay up, I knew probably five was enough. I can rest easy now and enjoy it now."

In contrast to Wood, pre-event favourite and third round leader, Jordan Spieth, started his final round really slowly and he was matched in running at over 7.06/1 on the front nine, having begun the day at just a shade over evens. It looked as though there was a chance he might just tamely drift out of contention, as he'd done last Sunday at the AT&T Byron Nelson, but he sparked into life after a brilliant par save from 32 feet on the eighth hole.

He then went on to make a couple of 20 foot putts, a 13 footer and just as it looked as though the event might get interesting again, he chipped in on the 17th for birdie from behind the green and just for good measure, he holed another bomb from over 30 feet for birdie at the last! It was yet another incredible short game display and I don't think I've ever seen anyone scramble and putt like Jordan does.

This was his first win in his home state of Texas but it his eighth victory on the PGA Tour and that's one more than Tiger Woods achieved before he reached 23. Jordan reaches that milestone in July.


My Bets

I perhaps should have backed Chris Wood from the start and I definitely should have backed him before the final round. He was my each-way selection 12 months ago at 125/1, when he finished fourth, and I wrote this yesterday morning in the In-Play Blog. "Of those trailing Hend by just three strokes, I quite like Chris Wood but he's not quite big enough at 16.5 for me to take the plunge."

With the benefit of hindsight, backing Danny Willett back after laying him at 2.01/1 on Friday wasn't the smartest of moves either and my plethora of off the pace wagers before round four were all a disappointment at Wentworth.

Having missed out on Wood I decided to modestly back both Harris English and Jason Dufner in Texas at 15.014/1 and 20.019/1 respectively but that just led to yet more frustration. English did absolutely nothing wrong and not only did he lead by two on the back nine, he twice dipped below 2.56/4 (hitting a low of 2.226/5) but I'm sorry to say on both occasions I failed to lay any of my small bet back.

It's been a miserable week all round really and I've definitely traded poorly but I'm not going to beat myself up about it. Maybe Chris Wood's finish showed why I was reluctant to play at 16.5 and English was beaten by pure brilliance in Texas. Sometimes you have to just shrug your shoulders and move on.


Off The Pace Plays Worth Persevering With At Wentworth

It was soon apparent that the players I backed to win from four and five off the pace yesterday weren't going to cut it at Wentworth. They all started poorly and Romain Wattel was the only one not to shoot at least a two-over 74. The Frenchman managed a two-under par 70 but he lost by the three strokes he dropped at holes two and three so he was never in with a chance either. Rikard Karlberg had a chance to win though...

The 29 year-old Swede had begun the final day fully eight strokes adrift of third round leader, Scott Hend, and he was matched at 1000.0 in-running but he'll look back and rue his bogey at the 16th hole as he finished up losing by one having been matched at just 7.87/1.


Take On The Early Odds-On Shots

As the course dries out, Wentworth becomes tough over the weekend but it's still incredible that Danny Willett was 12-under-par after just nine holes on Friday, given Wood won with a nine-under-par total. The Masters champ was matched at just 1.855/6 after only 27 holes but he was the third player in three years to get matched at odds-on before Sunday and lose.

Francesco Molinari hit a low of 1.68/13 during round three last year and Thomas Bjorn touched odds-on during the third round on Saturday in 2014 when he raced clear of the field before collapsing on Sunday.


Form Is Temporary

A few of us digested the result with the usual postmortem on Twitter last night and for me, nobody summed the Spieth win up better than Bryan Nicholson (@NicksPicks) when he tweeted, "I thought he could miss the cut at Colonial given the set up (after watching Byron Nelson). Now I think he will win US Open."

I too felt it was that dramatic a turnaround. His tee-to-green game was so poor at the Byron Nelson that it even fed into his brilliant short game I certainly didn't envisage him winning so soon after playing so poorly.

I do wonder what would have happened if he hadn't recorded his eighth consecutive par with that very lengthy save at the eighth hole and that most certainly kick-started what was an incredible run but you have to admire his sheer will to win and his utter brilliance on the greens.

We're off to Sweden for the Nordea Masters on the European Tour this week and Muirfield plays host to the Memorial Tournament on the PGA Tour. I'll be back later today with my previews.


*You can follow me on Twitter @SteveThePunter

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