The 2018 PGA Tour season is officially off and running now that the Sentry Tournament of Champions is in the books. Next, the world’s best hop islands to Oahu for the Sony Open in Hawaii — but before we put Maui in the rear-view mirror, it’s time to take a look at the aces, bogeys and worse from the week that was at Kapalua.
It didn’t take long for Dustin Johnson to collect his first win of the 2018 PGA Tour season and extend his impressive streak of consecutive seasons with victory to 11.
The win was also his second triumph at the Tournament of Champions. Johnson’s first came in 2013 by four shots over Steve Stricker.
This year, DJ used an incredible performance off the tee to punish the field — and the course — winning by eight shots over John Rahm. And, a whopping 37 shots over last place finisher Brooks Koepka.
While DJ roared and Koepka stumbled, there were plenty of players who found themselves somewhere in between. Here’s a look at who made the most of their time on Maui and those who are happy to be saying aloha!
Dustin Johnson — There’s not much left to be said about Dustin Johnson’s week on Maui that hasn’t already been said, but I’ll take a stab at it. Aside from hitting what is already a shot of the year candidate on Sunday — the 432 1/2 yard rive on the 433-yard par-4 12th hole at the Plantation Course — Johnson also shot a final round 65. That’s 8-under to close out the tournament. For anyone getting worried about DJ following his mini-collapse late in 2017 at the WGC-HSBC Champions, don’t be. The World No. 1 showed again over the weekend why he’s still the best in the business.
John Rahm — After authoring one of the best rookie seasons on record, John Rahm enters 2018 as one of the guys with the most to prove. He took a giant leap towards proving the 2017 campaign was no fluke by finishing solo second at the Senty Tournament of Champions. After starting the week with rounds of 71 and 70, Rahm turned it on over the weekend, firing a 66 on Saturday and closing with a 69 on Sunday. In case you were unsure, the young Spaniard is certainly a fantasy stalwart for the 2018 season and should be managed as such.
Marc Leishman — One of my favorites week in and week out, Marc Leishman finds himself on this portion of the list thanks to one poor rounds. If it weren’t for the Saturday 76 — yes, 76 — sandwiched between rounds of 6-under 67, 4-under 69 and 6-under 67, it might’ve been Leishman dueling with Rahm and Harman for runner-up — because, lets face it: No one was catching Dustin Johnson on Kapalua.
Justin Thomas — After rolling through the Hawaii swing last year, Justin Thomas entered last week as the odds on favorite to win again at the Plantation Course. Unfortunately for fantasy owners like me, a repeat was not in order. Instead, Thomas put up very pedestrian numbers, book-ending rounds of 2-over 75 on Friday and Saturday with sub-par rounds of 71 on Thursday and a dazzling 67 on Sunday. All told, the 4-under total for the week was good for a T-22 showing and fantasy disappointment.
Brooks Koepka — If there’s one thing that Brooks Koepka struggles with, it’s consistency. Perhaps it’s the fact that he was in Maui and enjoyed the sights and sounds a touch more than planned or maybe it was just an off week — but it the reigning U.S. Open champ’s week at the Plantation Course at Kapalua was a nightmare. After four straight rounds over par, Koepka finished dead last at +13 for the week. All that said, he’s still one of the better fantasy choices in the coming weeks — but you may need to consider sitting him until we get to Phoenix.