Ten Notes to know: March 25th

March 25, 2019
Justin Ray

1. Sunday, Paul Casey became the first player to successfully defend his Valspar Championship title. Casey is the first European player to win the same PGA Tour event in back-to-back years since Padraig Harrington won consecutive Open Championships in 2007 and 2008.

2. Casey made it victories in three straight weeks for European players on the PGA Tour, following Francesco Molinari at Bay Hill and Rory McIlroy at TPC Sawgrass. The last time that happened was in 2012, also during the Florida Swing: McIlroy won The Honda Classic, Justin Rose won at Doral, and Luke Donald won Valspar in three straight weeks.

3. Louis Oosthuizen picked up his eighth career runner-up finish on the PGA Tour Sunday. Oosthuizen is one of just seven players in history to finish runner-up in all four of the modern majors, along with Jack Nicklaus, Greg Norman, Tom Watson, Arnold Palmer, Craig Wood and Phil Mickelson.

4. Oosthuizen shot 2-under-par on Sunday despite only hitting six greens in regulation. He is the only player in the last decade to shoot 2-under or better at Innisbrook while hitting six or fewer greens.

5. Dustin Johnson began the final round as the betting favorite, one stroke behind Casey, but failed to make a single birdie in the final round. It was the first time he had a PGA Tour round without a birdie or eagle since the 2017 WGC-HSBC Champions in China, when DJ lost a six-stroke 54-hole lead.

6. How uncharacteristic was DJ’s performance on Sunday? Before yesterday, he had entered the final round of a PGA Tour event either leading or in 2nd place six times since the beginning of 2018. Dustin was a combined 23-under-par in those six final rounds. Sunday, he was 3-over.

7. Jin Young Ko made 15 birdies and no bogeys over her last 36 holes to win the LPGA’s Bank of Hope Founders Cup. Ko is familiar with going low to win – in her five worldwide wins since the beginning of 2017, she is a combined 84 strokes under par.

8. Bubba Watson finished tied for fourth at Innisbrook, and now heads to Austin to defend his WGC Match Play title. The only player to win that tournament in back-to-back years was Tiger Woods in 2002 and 2003.

9. DJ and Justin Rose will be the top two overall seeds at Match Play. Since the new format took hold in 2015, top-two overall seeds have a staggering match record of 32-7-1.

10. At the Maybank Championship, Ernie Els recorded the 300th official top-ten finish of his career worldwide. Since the inception of the Official World Golf Ranking in 1986, Els is the only player to reach that milestone.