Facile victory raises questions again
Clements causes a Czech surprise
Having fired a course record 61 in round four at Olympia Fields to win the BMW Championship the week before, Viktor Hovland began the FedEx Cup deciding Tour Championship trailing Scottie Scheffler by just two strokes and trading at around 6.86/1 and it was soon obvious that he wasn't about to cool off.
Hovland was tied for the lead after rounds one and two and he cruised to a six-stroke lead after three rounds that he never really looked like relinquishing.
Rain stopped play after he and his closest pursuer, Xander Schauffele, had both birdied the opening hole on Sunday and there was a chance that we might see a two-shot swing when they returned to the course.
Hovland had left himself 15 feet for par after finding sand off the tee on the par three second and Schauffele's tee-shot had given him a birdie chance from just 12 feet but Viktor drained the par save and Xander missed and it was very much a damp squib after that.
Although Schauffele hung on to Hovland's coattails with birdies at three, four and six, three straight birdies by the leader from the fourth effectively killed off the event.
It was yet another boring finish to the Tour Championship, but we witnessed anything but a dull finish at the Czech Masters...
Friends secure back-to-back wins
A week after witnessing his friend, Daniel Brown, getting off the mark on the DP World Tour, pre-event 700.0699/1 chance, Todd Clements, who had never previously finished inside the top-10 on the DP World Tour, shot a scintillating nine-under-par 63 on Sunday to win the Czech Masters. And he parred the last five holes!
Clements came into the event with form figures reading MC-MC-MC-62-MC and his only top-20 finish on the DP World Tour was his off-the pace tied 11th at the Open de Portugal back in September 2020.
Trailing the two frontrunners, Matt Wallace and Sami Valimaki, by three with a round to go, Clements was a 50.049/1 chance on Sunday morning but with birdies at his first three holes, the 27-year-old Englishman had bridged the gap before the leaders had began their final rounds.
Another three birdies in-a-row came at holes six, seven and eight to see him hit the front and he kicked three clear of the field with three more at 11, 12 and 13.
To his credit, Wallace battled on bravely and he gave himself a great chance to tie the leader on the 72nd hole but his birdie put from inside nine feet just slipped by the hole and that was that.
Nicolai Hojgaard finished alone in third, four strokes behind Clements, with Ryder Cup hopefuls, Robert MacIntyre, and Ludvig Aberg, finishing the week in tied fourth.
They all now head to Switzerland for the Omega European Masters, which I've previewed here, for the last chance to impress European captain, Luke Donald.
Trend cemented at the Tour Championship
With Hovland winning both the BMW Championship and the Tour Championship, someone has now won two FedEx Cup Playoff events in nine of the last 11 years, and on a staggering 12 occasions in total so that's definitely something to consider next year, whatever the format is.
They may well decide to keep the same system in place going forward but there's no doubt it created a bit of a boring tournament this year.
Having someone so far clear with a round to go is certainly not ideal but the front two would have been clear of everyone else if it wasn't a handicap anyway, so I've no idea what the answer is but there are some interesting suggestions in the replies to Michael Kim's tweet yesterday.
Clements another first time Czech winner
When Jamie Donaldson won the inaugural edition of the Czech Masters in 2014, he was winning on the DP World Tour for the third time and Haydn Porteous had won the Joburg Open in his native South Africa a few months before he won here but Thomas Pieters, Paul Peterson, Andrea Pavan, Johannes Veerman, Max Kieffer and now, Clements, all won their first DP World Tour titles in this event.
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