Sunday at Firestone Country Club was one for the record books — at least for one, Hideki Matsuyma.
Already the greatest Japanese-born player in PGA Tour history at the age of 25, Matsuyama added to his prolific resume with a course-record tying 61 on Sunday to snatch the win away from a field of the world’s best. The win was his third of season and his second World Golf Championship title of the campaign.
While it was surely a feast for Matsuyama, there was also plenty of famine to go around in Akron last week. As always, the cut-less event led to plenty of carnage for some of the Tour’s best.
With that in mind, here’s a look at those who made the most of their time on course this week — and those looking for a do-over:
Hideki Matsuyama — What else is there to say that I haven’t already said about Hideki Matsuyama and his sparkling performance on Sunday at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. What was already going to be a good week for the Japanese standout turned into a record-tying one with his Sunday 61. For fantasy players, it should be taken as a sign of things to come — Matsuyama tends to run streaky and with the season’s final major on the horizon, it’s time to pay close attention.
Zach Johnson — After a difficult middle part of the season, Zach Johnson has rounded back into the form that has made him a two-time major champion and a fantasy stalwart in the recent past. His solo second at the WGC-Bridgestone is certainly a positive step and one that should land him on a short list of contenders for the PGA Championship next week at Quail Hollow. While part of me is still skeptical on ZJ, it’s hard to ignore the trend or his pedigree heading into the season’s final major.
Charley Hoffman — Ho hum, another week, another Charley Hoffman top-3 finish. Seriously, if you’re not booking Hoffman into your staring line up every week at this point, you’re leaving valuable fantasy points on the table. It appears to be only a matter of time before Hoffman gets back in the winner circle — and it may even be next week in the PGA Championship. I, for one, hope that’s the case. For Hoffman, 2017 has already been a great season — next week could make it one for the career.
Jordan Spieth — The most popular fantasy choice coming into the week at Firestone County Club was, obviously, Jordan Spieth. The World’s No. 1 golfer had strung together finishes of first and first in his previous two stars entering the week, and after a Thursday 68, he looked poised to strike again. Unfortunately, two lack luster rounds on Friday and Saturday kept his fantasy production at standstill. Don’t panic — Spieth will once again be a fantasy favorite next week at Quail Hollow.
Dustin Johnson — The WGC- Bridgestone Invitational’s defending champion did little to strike fear into the hearts of his opponents last week in Akron. Johnson, who has cooled significantly since his early season run of three wins in a row, played great in the three of the four rounds of the week, but mustered only a 5-over 75 on Friday, essentially taking him out of contention for the week.
Jason Day — Jason Day’s week in Akron, Ohio was a microcosm of his entire year. While Day, who bounced up and down the middle of the pack all week at the WGC-Bridgestone, is still one of the best players in the world, his 2017 season has been a roller coaster. His week of 71-66-70-71 looked a lot like his year — back and forth, up and down, chasing the bad with good and mediocre. As much as I’d like to, I can’t, in good faith, recommend Day until he turns out a few weeks of consistence performance.
Billy Horschel — While Matusyama was busy dusting the field with that brilliant 61, Billy Horschel and Danny Willett were battling to avoid the unwanted distinction of last place finisher. For Horschel, he certainly picked the right time for his best round of the week, firing a 68 to vault himself out of last and into a tie for 74th. As Horschel appears to be descending into the depths of one of his slumps, it’s time to avoid him at all costs.
Danny Willett — Unfortunately, for Danny Willett, he came up on the short end of the battle for last place at the WGC-Bridgestone. For Willett, however, the news isn’t all bad. I know that sounds ridiculous, but the 2016 Masters champion has been battling the injury bug, withdrawing from two of his last three starts due to injury. Finishing the week, albeit a minor one, was a bit of a victory for Willett. That said, the Englishman is a no-go from a fantasy standpoint for the foreseeable future.