While snow fell across large portions of the country Sunday, Jordan Spieth was busy soaking in the January sun in Hawaii.
Apparently, that wasn't enough for the world's No. 1 golfer, as he also won the 2016 Hyundai Tournament of Champions title in dominant fashion while he was there. He took over the lead Friday, extended it Saturday and then shot a six-under 67 on Sunday (the Plantation Course at Kapalua is a par 73) on the way to a 30-under for the tournament.
He cleared the rest of the field by eight strokes, and Jason Sobel of ESPN.com pointed to the historical significance of the final score:
Jordan Spieth wins the Hyundai TOC by eight shots. His seventh career win and at -30, becomes just the second player ever to hit that mark.— Jason Sobel (@JasonSobelESPN) January 11, 2016
Patrick Reed threatened with four birdies on the front nine, but Spieth answered with three of his own on the front and put the tournament out of reach with a birdie on the same No. 15 that Reed bogeyed.
Spieth, Reed and the entire leaderboard can be found at PGATour.com. Here is a look at the top 10 finishers as well as the respective prize money for each competitor:
|1||Jordan Spieth||-30||$1.18 million|
As the PGA Tour noted before the fourth round began, Spieth is no stranger to parlaying three-round leads into victories and impressive finishes:
Today is the ninth time Jordan Spieth (5 ahead) enters the final round with the lead/co-lead. The other eight... pic.twitter.com/Vr8IoppUpd— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) January 10, 2016
Spieth looked well on his way to the title with birdies on Nos. 2 and 6, but he stumbled on the par-three eighth hole with a bogey. As if there was any doubt over who would win, the former Texas Longhorns star responded with a birdie on No. 9 and parlayed that momentum after the turn with another birdie on No. 10.
By the rest of the back nine, it was clear Spieth was going to win the tournament, and Sobel noted that he adjusted his strategy accordingly:
Jordan Spieth playing prevent defense now. Fairways and greens.— Jason Sobel (@JasonSobelESPN) January 11, 2016
It's easy to play safe for fairways and greens when your iron play is as smooth as Spieth's, as the PGA Tour captured:
Spieth put the championship on ice with birdies on Nos. 15 and 16, which was almost unfair to Reed, who won the Hyundai Tournament of Champions a year ago. Although Reed tallied four birdies on the front nine, including two on the first two holes, he couldn't make up significant ground, as Brian Wacker of PGATour.com described:
Patrick Reed 3 birdies in first 5 holes....and still four back of Jordan. #PGATOUR— Brian Wacker (@pgatour_brianw) January 10, 2016
Reed finally bogeyed his first hole of the tournament on No. 15, which happened to be another birdie for Spieth. Despite the second-place finish, Sobel praised Reed for his incredible consistency:
Patrick Reed just played 68 holes before making his first bogey of the week. At this pace, he'll make about 27 bogeys all year.— Jason Sobel (@JasonSobelESPN) January 11, 2016
The PGA Tour captured Reed's hopeless acceptance as he watched Spieth birdie his way to the title in Hawaii:
How good has Spieth been? Patrick Reed just made his first bogey of the week and he trails by six. Tip of the cap. pic.twitter.com/rFG7sIrp3E— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) January 11, 2016
Reed ended up closer to third place, where Brandt Snedeker and Brooks Koepka tied at 21 under par. Snedeker was particularly impressive Sunday with a six-under 67, but Koepka missed an opportunity to challenge for a victory with a two-under 71 after he blazed his way to a 63 Saturday.
Doug Ferguson of the Associated Press pointed out that the first seven holes were a roller coaster for Koepka with four birdies and three bogeys:
Seven holes in, Koepka still hasn't made par. 1 under for round. Jordan just mentioned best ball score. That would be 6 under— Doug Ferguson (@dougferguson405) January 11, 2016
A number of other notable names found themselves near the top of the leaderboard but out of Spieth's range.
Rickie Fowler shot a six-under 67 and finished 20 strokes under par for the tournament. He was consistent for most of the round, but he shot up the board near the end with four consecutive birdies from Nos. 13 to 16 and another on No. 18.
It was good enough to earn him a spot in the top five and had some fans wondering where he would finish if there were another round.
Elsewhere, Bubba Watson shot his best round of the tournament with a 67 and finished 15 strokes under par for the event. As always, the lefty turned heads with power off the tee, especially on No. 10, as the PGA Tour highlighted:
Spieth wasn't the only 2015 major winner to make noise in Hawaii. Reigning PGA Championship winner Jason Day shot an eight-under 65 on Sunday to bring his total to 15 strokes under par. He was especially impressive on the green of No. 5, as the PGA Tour passed along:
While Fowler, Day and Watson are always going to make headlines, this tournament belonged to Spieth.
Considering he won the Masters and U.S. Open last year and is No. 1 in the World Golf Ranking entering a new season, Spieth's electrifying performance was a warning to the rest of the PGA Tour. It's only January, and he already shot 30 under par in a tournament.
He also got some practice as the front-runner during the third and fourth rounds after he took the lead and held off a charge from last year's champion, Reed. Since Spieth is arguably the most talented golfer on tour, he will likely have to protect several leads during the 2016 schedule.
He proved again that he is comfortable in that role. Don't be surprised when he does the same at this year's majors.
Spieth even surprised himself with his dominant performance, per Wacker: "I didn't think I'd shoot 30 under...that surprised me."
Spieth is only 22 years old and dominating the PGA Tour, which prompts some comparisons to the great Tiger Woods. Spieth said, "I don’t think there’s any reason to compare. It’s awfully early," when asked about Woods, per Sobel.
Spieth was also asked if he would be back to Hawaii to defend his tournament crown in 2017 and said, per Sobel, "If not... I hope every single one of you calls me and bashes me for it."
It sounds like Spieth will manage to squeeze a trip to Hawaii into his 2017 schedule.