Sunday, February 19, 2012

Thompson Puts It All Together on Sunday

Michael Thompson signs autographs after the third round at the Northern Trust Open
by Roz Roberts III

If you were looking, you could see it coming.  For three rounds at the Northern Trust Open, Michael Thompson had been a shot here or there of posting a low score and threatening the leaderboard.  In each of the first three rounds he had long stretches of bogey free golf and was giving himself scoring opportunities.   On Sunday, he put it all together and posted the third best round of the day:  a three under par 68.  The remarkable round was good enough to vault him up the leaderboard 32 spots into a tie for 17th at one under par.  He was one of only 23 golfers under par for the week and ended up only six shots off the winning score of seven under par. 

It was his second top 20 finish of the year on the PGA Tour but, before the week began, a top 20 finish would have looked a bit improbable.  He had never played Riviera before.  Due to the weather, he was only able to play 27 practice holes before the first tournament round got underway.  The course is notoriously difficult:  small greens that are difficult to read, narrow fairways, and challenging, windy conditions early in the week.  And if all of that wasn't daunting enough, the field was the strongest of the year as a lot of top ranked golfers from around the world used the Northern Trust Open as their first PGA event of the year.

But from the very first round, Michael did more than just hold his own.  He played each of the first two rounds at one over par. He bettered that on Saturday when he played even par and bested that with his three under par round on Sunday.  Beyond the stats though, each of his four rounds showed that Michael was becoming more familiar and maybe a bit more comfortable with the course.

Based on his current form, look for Michael to continue his solid play next week at the Mayakoba Classic in Mexico.  This is an event he's played multiple times and enjoys.  All you fantasy golf geeks have been warned!

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