2022 has so far been an appetizing year for the crowds as PGA Tour is back with a handful of nail-biting tournaments manifesting some shocking results as well. Although it was not much of a surprise when World No.2 Cameron Smith bagged the Sentry Tournament of Champions in Hawaii, the first PGA Tour event of the year. However, he did hit the record books as he won the tournament by 34 under par, surpassing the previously set record of 31 under par by Ernie Els in the history of PGA Tour events. Now, let us take a quick look at the other events that introduced the underdogs as surprising champions.
Matt Fitzpatrick Bagging His First Major Win
The four major championships of the year have already come to an end. Although Scottie Scheffler, Justin Thomas, and Cameron Smith are celebrated names in the world of golf, England’s Matt Fitzpatrick experienced a surprise triumph in the highly decorated 2022 U.S. Open. Fitzpatrick overturned the game in the final two rounds of the tournament, which also happens to be his first PGA Tour win. He finished the 70-par tournament with a score of 6-under-par 274, beating the world no.1 Scottie Scheffler and Will Zalatoris by just one less stroke.
The third Englishman in 52 years to clinch the U.S. Open title, the Brookline Country Club also saw Fitzpatrick lift the U.S. Amateur 9 years back, at the same venue. The final day experienced a tight game till the 13th hole when Fitzpatrick dropped a 48-foot birdie putt to draw level with Zalatoris, eventually leading him at the 15th with a 19-foot putt. Fitzpatrick maintained his one-stroke lead against Zalatoris to the 18th hole. The situation got tricky when Fitzpatrick blasted his final tee shot to a fairway bunker but he kept his composure to finish the final round with 2-under-par, requiring Zalatoris a birdie to force a playoff, which he eventually missed.
Scottie Scheffler Earns His No. 1 Spot
2022 has to be the breakthrough year for Scottie Scheffler as he bags his fourth PGA Tour win with a major, the 2022 Masters Tournament. The Arnold Palmer International, WM Phoenix Open as well as the WGC-Dell Technologies had been lifted by Scheffler early this year before he appeared for the major as one of its favourites.
The Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia experienced his mastery when he finished a five-under-par second round to take the lead and defended it from then on. Although Cameron Smith was on Scheffler’s heels till the 3rd round, Rory Mcllroy hit an 8-under-par final round to finish second, three strokes behind Scheffler who scored 10-under-par 278.
The Other Firsts
The PGA Tour events of 2022 featured several maiden wins that have announced the potential of a bunch of professional golfers.
The Farmers Insurance Open, organized in San Diego, California early this year, was Luke List’s first PGA Tour win. His 6-under-par 66 helped him to come from behind in the final round and finish the game ahead of Will Zalatoris, with a final score of 15-under-par 273.
The A&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, held annually in California, featured Tom Hoge as the 2022 Champion. This was Hoge’s first PGA tour win in his long professional career of 11 years, and his third overall. He defeated Jordan Spieth in the tournament by a margin of two strokes, with a score of 19-under-par 268.
Sepp Straka became the first Austrian to win a PGA Tour event when he bagged The Honda Classic in Florida, defeating Shane Lowry by just one stroke. He finished the game with a 10-under-par 270.
The Puerto Rico Open and the Corales Puntacana Championship, held in Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic respectively, featured Ryan Brehm and Chad Ramey as the winner.
The 2022 Valero Texas Open announced the rise of J.J. Spaun as a professional golfer, where he defeated Matt Jones and Matt Kuchar by 2 points, scoring a 13-under-par 275.
Trey Mullinax emerged victorious in the Barbasol Championship organized in Kentucky.
Last but not the least, Kim Joo-hyung won the Wyndham Championship of North Carolina, becoming the first Korean to do so.
Something More in Hand
Although the 2021-2022 PGA Tour is almost over, we still have three tournaments left to get off the ground. There is always a chance of an unknown name coming up to catch the limelight in these upcoming events. While small tournaments are not always featured by the best golfers around the world, they prove to be important steppingstones for future stars.