Ireland have landed the second edition of the GolfSixes and Jason Day has won the Wells Fargo Championship on the PGA Tour. Our man looks back at the two events with his customary review here...
“Day was matched at just [1.15] as he looked like sauntering to the title but it all changed very quickly when he dropped shots at 13 and 14 and he failed to birdie the par five 15th. He briefly touched even money and it looked like he may just throw it away but he stepped up to the plate like the major champion he is.”
The final wildcard entrants into the GolfSixes, Paul Dunne and Gavin Moynihan of Ireland, who were matched at a high of [24.0] but were generally [20.0] shots before the off, impressively won the final 2-0 against the French, who had been the only side to beat them in the group stage on Saturday.
The Irish played well throughout the weekend and the closest they came to defeat on Sunday was in their semi-final against the South Koreans but they squeezed in to the final at the first extra-hole with this sublime chip-in by Moynihan.
Jason Day, who began the week as a [23.0] chance, had gone into the weekend trailing by a stroke but trading at around [3.7] and when he lead by two with a round to go, the 30-year-old Australian, touched odds on. He started round four well enough with a birdie at the second and after back-to-back bogeys on five and six, he looked as though he'd taken back control with birdies at seven, eight and ten.
Day was matched at just [1.15] as he looked like sauntering to the title but it all changed very quickly when he dropped shots at 13 and 14 and he failed to birdie the par five 15th. He briefly touched even money and it looked like he may just throw it away but he stepped up to the plate like the major champion he is.
Back-to-back birdies at the tough 16th and 17th holes put the tournament to bed and it was impossible not to be impressed by the manor of his victory. Having won the Farmers Insurance Open for a second time in February, this was Day's second PGA Tour victory of the year and his 12th in total. It elevates him from 14th to seventh in the Official World Rankings and he could be one to keep in the right side of.
When Day won the first of his two Farmers titles, in 2015, he didn't win again until he won the Canadian Open in July but he then went on to win a further six titles in the space of ten months and that included the US PGA Championship (to date his only major), two FedEx Cup playoff events, a WGC event and the Players Championship.
The way in which he won yesterday's event suggested he's going to win again and soon as he didn't even play well off the tee.
Dustin Johnson's position at the top of the world standings looks a precarious one. It's looked for a while like Justin Thomas or Jon Rahm might pass him soon and hit the number one spot but if Day kicks on again like he did three years ago, it might not be long before he returns to the top of the standings.
My sole involvement in the GolfSixes was a small each-way play on the Koreans at 16/1 so that event proved to be profitable but it was a frustrating week all round.
I thought the Koreans were slightly unfortunate to go out in the semis and the way they pulverised the Aussies in the third-place playoff suggested that they may well have beaten the French in the final and it was a case of close but no cigar at the Wells Fargo...
Pre-event pick. Patrick Reed, finished eighth and Bryson DeChambeau, also backed before the off, was fourth and I didn't profit from him or my in-play pick, Peter Malnati, and perhaps I should have with hindsight.
DeChambeau, who was backed at [65.0], hit a low of [5.0] and Malnati, who I backed at [140.0] after round one, was matched at just [10.0] after he birdied his first hole in round three when leading.
What Have We Learned This Week?
The GolfSixes must be treated as a fun event, and it's not one to get stuck into to but there were opportunities this year.
Opposing the European Captain's team worked out well. Neither Thomas Bjørn or Catriona Matthew had been in any sort of form coming into the event and the only team to fare as poorly as them was Scotland. Both teams drew just one of their three group ties.
If there's a similar type of pairing in next year's renewal that'll be an angle in again, but taking on the ladies won't be a way forward. The exact opposite in fact. The women proved they can match the men, with both teams progressing to the knockout stage, and both the European Women and the England Women's team were too big this week. With four places up for grabs, the Europeans were a crazy price at 80/1 given they only needed to finish in the top two of four in the group and win one knockout match to provide a bumper pay-out.
I'll believe what I've seen next year. I wrote in the In-Play Blog on Sunday morning that "the Irish impressed me yesterday" but I didn't back them at around the [7.0] mark on the exchange.
Watching the action on day one and making a move after the group stages, or during the group stages even, may well be the best way to play the tournament. The defending champs and the Spanish were well-fancied before the off (first and second favourites) but they were never at the races and whilst the England Men's team of Eddie Pepperell and Matt Wallace, who were the third best in the market before the off, did progress, they hadn't impressed in the group matches and they lost in the quarter-finals to France.
The Danes played brilliantly to win 12 months ago and the Irish were superb this year. As already mentioned, I felt slightly aggrieved that the Irish beat the Koreans but they began the final birdie-birdie-eagle (albeit the eagle was a concession) so it's hard to fault them and it's probably fair to say the best team has won the first two renewals of the event. That may sound a bit daft but six-hole match play must be considered a bit of a lottery and yet the two winners have fully deserved to win, and hard luck stories are few and far between.
The European Tour moves on to Sicily this week for the Rocco Forte Open and we've got a belter of a tournament on the PGA Tour as we're back to Sawgrass for the Players Championship. I'll be back today or tomorrow with my previews.
*You can follow me on Twitter @SteveThePunter