The top three finishers in the 2018 PGA Championship Long Drive Competition were Bryson DeChambeau (331 yards), Peter Uihlein (328 yards) and Tony Finau (324 yards). The DeChambeau-Uihlein-Finau triumvirate combined to hit their drives more than a half mile (2,949 feet) despite Tuesday’s wet conditions at Bellerive.
DeChambeau joins Jason Kokrak (321 yards/Quail Hollow), Byeong Hun An (2016/Baltusrol, 347 yards), Anirban Lahiri (2015/Whistling Straits, 327 yards) and Louis Oosthuizen (2014/Valhalla, 340 yards) as winners of the PGA Championship Long Drive Competition since it was re-launched in 2014. The top three finishers will be granted charitable donations of $25,000, $15,000, and $10,000, respectively, to their designated USA based 501(c)(3) charities of choice.
|Bryson DeChambeau||331 yards|
|Peter Uihlein||328 yards|
|Tony Finau||324 yards|
|Jon Rahm||320 yards|
|Xander Schauffele||313 yards|
One of the major storylines of this 100th PGA Championship will focus on Jordan Spieth’s second attempt at completing the career grand slam. His first pursuit came last year at Quail Hollow Club, where he finished T-28. Only five players have achieved the career grand slam to date: Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan, Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus, and Tiger Woods.
If Spieth were able to finish off his Slam this week, he’d also make history as the first player to complete the grand slam at the PGA Championship. It is also worth noting that Player completed his career grand slam upon winning the 1965 U.S. Open here at Bellerive, so there is some historical precedent in play this week.
Davis Love III will be playing in the 100th major championship of his terrific career when he tees off for Thursday’s first round of the 100th PGA Championship at Bellerive Country Club. Love will become the 15th player to reach triple-digits for majors played. A closer look at the complete list, with totals reflecting this week’s play:
|Rank||Player||No. of starts||Rank||Player||No. of starts|
|1||Nicklaus, Jack||164||8||Sarazen, Gene||112|
|2||Player, Gary||150||T9||O'Meara, Mark||110|
|3||Watson, Tom||145||T9||Kite, Tom||109|
|4||Palmer, Arnold||142||11||Langer, Bernhard||106|
|5||Floyd, Raymond||127||12||Mickelson, Phil||104|
|6||Snead, Sam||119||13||Els, Ernie||102|
|7||Crenshaw, Ben||118||14||Faldo, Nick||100|
|15||Davis Love III||100|
Davis Love III may not be the only player celebrating 100 this week at Bellerive. If Phil Mickelson is able to make the cut and finish all four rounds, he will join seven others who have played in at least 100 PGA Championship rounds: Jack Nicklaus (128); Arnold Palmer (121); Raymond Floyd (116); Tom Watson (116); Tom Kite (102); Jay Haas (102); and Hale Irwin (100).
At 7,316 yards, Bellerive Country Club will play as the third-shortest course in the past 15 PGA Championships. Only Southern Hills (7,121; 2007) and Oak Hill (7,200; 2013) measured less.
There have been two previous PGA Championships contested in the state of Missouri. They were won by Ben Hogan in 1948 at Norwood Hills Country Club (match play), and Nick Price at Bellerive (stroke play) in 1992. Both Hogan and Price were eventually inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame, thanks in part to their PGA Championship victories captured in St. Louis.
As defending champion, Justin Thomas will have the tall task of besting the other 155 players in the field this week at Bellerive. He has, however, successfully defended a title before. Thomas won consecutive CIMB Classics in Malaysia in 2015 and 2016.
Since Tiger Woods won back-to-back PGA Championships in 2006 and ’07, the PGA Championship’s defending champion has posted four top 10s (Padraig Harrington/T-10 in 2009; Keegan Bradley/T-3 in 2012; Rory McIlroy/T-8 in 2013; Jason Day/second in 2016); a 17th-place finish (McIlroy in 2015 in his first event after returning from an ankle injury); and four missed cuts (Y.E. Yang in 2010; Martin Kaymer in 2011; Jason Dufner in 2014; Jimmy Walker in 2017). Due to injury, Woods wasn’t able to defend his two straight PGA Championships in 2008 at Oakland Hills.
PGA Club Professional Bob Sowards, the PGA Director of Golf at Kinsale Golf and Fitness Club in Powell, Ohio, is teeing it up in his 10th PGA Championship this week. By finishing T-2 in the June’s PGA Professional Championship at Bayonet Black Horse in Seaside, California, Sowards punched his ticket to Bellerive and became only the eighth player to reach double-digits in PGA Championship appearances as a PGA Club Professional. Sowards joins Steve Schneiter (12), Darrell Kestner (11), Larry Gilbert (11), Jay Overton (11), Mike Small (10), Bob Ford (10) and Bob Boyd (10) on the short list.
By winning the Barracuda Championship on Sunday, Andrew Putnam captured the first PGA Tour victory of his career and seized the final exemption into the 100th PGA Championship. Putnam’s will make his PGA Championship debut this week and play in just his second career major – his first since the 2010 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach.
Of the past 10 PGA Champions, only three players were ranked inside the Official World Golf Ranking’s top 10 at the time of their victory: Jason Day (No. 5, 2015), Rory McIlroy (No. 3, 2012; No. 1, 2014), and Padraig Harrington (No. 3, 2008).
The others: Justin Thomas (No. 14, 2017); Jimmy Walker (No. 48, 2016); Jason Dufner (No. 21, 2013); Keegan Bradley (No. 108, 2011); Martin Kaymer (No. 13, 2010); and Y.E. Yang (No. 110, 2009).
More than 600 girls and boys enjoyed PGA Jr. League Day festivities at the 100th PGA Championship at Bellerive Country Club Tuesday. Both the kids—who represented 113 facilities across the Gateway PGA Section in Missouri and Illinois—and the players had a blast. As 2018 Open Champion Francesco Molinari rolled golf balls to kids near the 18th Green, Tony Finau took selfies and gave running high fives. Two-time PGA Champion Rory McIlroy and Rickie Fowler both signed autographs on the course, while Justin Rose tweeted a photo of a sea of happy children: “Great to see so many kids out here during practice at the @PGAChampionship PGA Jr. League looking strong!!”
Sophie Campie, 10, of Kirksville, Missouri, summed up the day, “It was cool being able to interact with the players and being that close to a professional golfer…I hope I can do it again. It was so exciting!”
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