By Paul Myers
When you think of the top young names in the world of professional golf, there are a few that likely come to mind right off the bat. Jordan Spieth, obviously, as well as Hideki Matsuyama and others. However, you need to quickly make way on that list for Justin Thomas, as the 23-year-old has already claimed his third title on the PGA Tour. His latest win, the title at the SBS Tournament of Champions, came against a quality field in the first event of the calendar year.
As if it isn’t impressive enough to win any event on the PGA Tour, Thomas’ win was particularly notable because of the player he held off at the end. Hideki Matsuyama has been as hot as any golfer in the world in recent months, with a stunning record in his last six tournaments. His second place finish at the SBS Tournament of Champions was actually his worst finish in his last six starts! In that time, Matsuyama has four wins and two seconds – an incredible run, to be sure. As the 2017 golf season starts to pick up steam in the weeks ahead, Matsuyama is clearly a player to watch carefully.
As you have to win a tournament during the previous season to even be eligible for the event, the SBS Tournament of Champions always can boast one of the top fields of the year. That story was the same in 2017, as plenty of the top names in the game were present at Kapalua. Two Ryder Cup team members, Jordan Spieth and Ryan Moore, tied for third with a total of 16-under-par. Only a shot behind were two more Ryder Cuppers, Dustin Johnson and Patrick Reed. Clearly, all of these players are hitting the ground running in 2017, setting the stage for some exciting golf to be played throughout the rest of the winter and spring leading up to Augusta. Some of the other top names in the field included Bubba Watson finishing at six-under-par, Jason Dufner at nine-under, and Jason Day at a solid thirteen-under.
Many of the same players who teed it up at Kapalua will be in action again this coming week at the Sony Open in Hawaii. Waialae Country Club is the long-standing host for this event, which will be the first full-field competition of the 2017 calendar year. Justin Thomas will be going right back to work in this tournament, as will Jordan Spieth, Pat Perez, Hideki Matsuyama, and many more. For golf fans who are stuck in a long winter in a cold part of the world, watching the action from warm and sunny Hawaii is always a nice break. Once the Sony Open has wrapped up, the Tour will head to the mainland to being the West Coast Swing in at the CareerBuilder Challenge in La Quinta, CA.