WGC-Cadillac Championship 2014: Daily Leaderboard Analysis, Highlights and More

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistMarch 7, 2014

WGC-Cadillac Championship 2014: Daily Leaderboard Analysis, Highlights and More

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    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    Patrick Reed held off Bubba Watson and Jamie Donaldson to win the 2014 WGC-Cadillac Championship at Trump National Doral.

    Reed shot even par on Sunday to win the tournament by one stroke over Watson and Donaldson, both of whom were charging hard for the title in the final round. He became the youngest golfer to ever win a WGC championship event. 

    Tiger Woods was the defending champion, and he appeared to be in position to defend his title, entering Sunday's round just three strokes off the lead.

    But as has happened a number of times in recent events, Woods' back acted up again. He shot a 78 in the final round to finish in a tie for 25th place, along with Rory McIlroy, who struggled all weekend long. 

    With 550 FedEx Cup points and a purse of $9 million up for grabs, all the stars were out at Doral. Those are fairly high stakes this early into the year, and the action was worthy of such pomp.

    Keep reading to see how all four rounds unfolded. 

Round 4 Recap

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    Wilfredo Lee/Associated Press

    Patrick Reed did just enough to survive Sunday at Doral, finishing with a score of four under par to win the tournament by one stroke over Welshman Jamie Donaldson and the hard-charging Bubba Watson, who shot four under par in the final round.

    This trio managed to finish as the only players to shoot under par this weekend, as the Blue Monster at Doral bared its teeth throughout the course of the four-day no-cut event. 

    Here's a look at the final leaderboard:

    Pos.GolferScoresTo Par
    1Patrick Reed68-75-69-72-4
    T2Bubba Watson73-72-72-68-3
    T2Jamie Donaldson74-70-71-70-3
    T4Richard Sterne74-73-70-71E
    T4Dustin Johnson69-74-73-72E
    T6Thongchai Jaidee73-74-74-681
    T6Stephen Gallacher75-75-70-691
    T6Bill Haas73-76-69-711
    T9Charl Schwartzel70-76-76-682
    T9Graeme McDowell73-71-73-732
    T9Hunter Mahan69-74-71-762
    T9Jason Dufner69-77-68-762

    Note: For a full look at the entire leaderboard, visit WorldGolfChampionships.com.

    Reed carried a two-shot lead into Sunday's action, and he needed both of them.

    After opening up with three birdies in his first four holes to start the round (the other being a bogey on No. 2), the eventual champion couldn't scrounge another red number in the final 14 holes. 

    Thankfully, his top challengers from the first three rounds couldn't make a final-round charge up the board, and even par turned out to be good enough for the victory.

    Afterward, Reed made a bold statement about his status amongst the world's top golfers, as relayed by golf pro Luke Elvy on Twitter"I'm 1 of the top 5 players in the world. To come out in a field like this & go wire to wire, I feel like I've proven myself."

    There will surely be plenty of people who discount his statement, but after winning at Doral, Reed vaulted up into the No. 3 spot in the FedEx World Standings, as noted by Scott Rabalais of The Advocate. Furthermore, as pointed out by ESPN Stats & Info, his three career wins is second only to Rory McIlroy among players under 25 years of age. 

    Watson and Donaldson both had shots to take Reed down on Sunday, but both fell just short of the goal.

    Watson's 68 matched the second-lowest score posted in the final round, and he was razor sharp with zero blemishes on his scorecard. But after failing to post a score under par in the first three rounds, he didn't have quite enough ammunition to win the tournament. 

    Donaldson had gotten hot down the stretch with three birdies between No. 10 and 17, but an unfortunate bogey on the final hole kept him from forcing a playoff. 

    Tiger Woods entered Sunday's action within striking distance of Reed, just three shots behind at one under par. But as has been the case for much of the season, his ailing back gave him trouble early on, leading to a final-round score of 78.

    Even before the round, Woods made it clear his back was still an issue. He told Steve DiMeglio of USA Today, "I was pretty sore last night, but my therapists are doing a fantastic job of getting me out here and playing."

    Unfortunately his body didn't cooperate, and his final score of five over par dropped him into a tie for 25th place. This series of physical problems for Woods caused John Strege of Golf Digest to comment, "The Tiger that once was seemingly infallible and always imposing no longer is either."

    Woods wasn't the only top golfer to struggle at Doral, though. McIlroy also finished at five over par, and many of the world's top players were brutalized by the tough course at Doral. 

Round 3 Recap

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    Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    Through three days at Doral, only five players managed to shoot under par heading into Sunday's final round. And after struggling through his first two rounds, Tiger Woods is a surprising member of this elite group of golfers.

    Patrick Reed leads the field with a score of four under par after shooting a 69 on Saturday. 

    Woods is just three shots back after lighting up the course with a six-under 66 on Saturday, which is the lowest score of any player through three days of play.  

    Here's a look at the leaderboard heading into Sunday:

    Pos.PlayerScoresTo Par
    1Patrick Reed 68-75-69 -4 
    T2 Jason Dufner 69-77-68 -2
    T2Hunter Mahan 69-74-71-2
    T4Tiger Woods76-73-66-1
    T4Jamie Donaldson74-70-71-1
    T6 Miguel Angel Jimenez 70-77-69 E
    T6 Zach Johnson 70-75-71 
    T6Dustin Johnson69-74-73E
    T9Jimmy Walker73-77-67 
    T9 Richard Sterne 74-73-70 
    T9 Bubba Watson 73-72-72 
    T9 Graeme McDowell 73-71-73 
    T9 Matt Kuchar 69-74-74 

    Note: Please visit WorldGolfChampionships.com for a full look at the leaderboard.

    While he's not leading, Woods' charge on moving day at Doral is the biggest story of the extended weekend. After failing to break par in his first two rounds, the No. 1 player in the world roared to life on Saturday.

    As CBS Sports' Doug Gottlieb put it: "Remember when Tiger was 'Done' …that was yesterday— 1 shot out today ….grrrrrr."

    Woods was not surprisingly happy about his performance.

    "The most complete round (this year)? Yeah. Absolutely," he said at the end of the day, via GC Tiger Tracker

    With just three strokes between him and the leaders, Woods is in striking distance to win this tournament. 

    He's not the only player who put up low numbers on Saturday, though.

    Jimmy Walker shot a 67 to pull to within five shots of the lead, and Jason Dufner shot a 68 to position himself in a second-place tie with Hunter Mahan, just two shots back of Reed heading into the final round.

    Reed is the leader after firing a three-under 69 on Saturday. However, there are currently 12 players within five shots of Reed, and it will require plenty of fortitude and shot-making for him to stay atop the leaderboard when the tournament is over. 

    With so many top golfers still in position to win, the final round at the Blue Monster is sure to be packed full of drama.

    If Woods manages to pull off the victory and defend his title—despite the fact that he's been dealing with back pain all weekend long—you can be sure the hype surrounding him as The Masters approaches will build to a fevered pitch. 

Round 2 Recap

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    Lynne Sladky/Associated Press

    A blustery, brutal Friday that saw wind gusts hovering around 30 mph in the second round of the WGC-Cadillac Championship ended with a mere two players under par.

    Combine that with plenty of water, some added length to Trump National Doral for this year’s event and new, ridiculously firm greens, and it was borderline impossible to score well during the second round.

    Dustin Johnson’s bulleting low ball flight, immense power and crafty short game work kept him out in front for a significant span, but three bogeys in his final six holes dropped him to two over for the round. He fell to -1 overall, in a tie for the lead with Matt Kuchar, Patrick Reed and Hunter Mahan.

    Here is a look at the top performers from this world-class field through 36 holes:

    Pos.NameScoresTo Par
    T1Dustin Johnson69-74-1
    T1 Matt Kuchar69-74-1
    T1 Hunter Mahan 69-74-1
    T1 Patrick Reed 68-75-1
    T5Rory McIlroy70-74E
    T5Graeme McDowell73-71E
    T5 Jamie Donaldson74-70E
    T5Francesco Molinari69-75E
    T9 Bubba Watson73-72+1
    T9Zach Johnson70-75+1
    T11Jason Dufner69-77+2
    T11Brandt Snedeker73-73+2

    Longer par and bogey putts were more common than birdie opportunities. The scoring average for Friday was above four-over 76, which gives an indication of just how tough the course was playing in Miami.

    Golf Channel’s Jason Sobel reported what Bubba Watson (+1) had to say after he finished with a 72.

    “There's just nowhere soft to land the ball on this course. Well, I guess the water. That's soft,” said Watson.

    Kuchar’s approach to the par-four 18 stopped just a foot short of the cup, leading to an easy tap-in birdie on such an intimidating closing hole. Johnson blasted a 350-yard drive into the right fairway bunkers but went long with his approach to the short side, and failed to get up-and-down.

    An impressive plethora of players stand at level par, headlined by Rory McIlroy. The young superstar went out in four-over 40 but finished with a flourish to post 73 and inch close to the lead. Northern Irish compatriot Graeme McDowell thrived in the adverse conditions, carding two birdies and just one bogey en route to a 71.

    Tiger Woods is at least within striking distance after a roller coaster round of 73. The good news is that there’s no cut in this event, so the world No. 1 will get some more competitive reps on the weekend and perhaps even make a charge from six shots off the pace.

    If golf fans wanted a preview of how the major championships might go, this was a great early test, and an appropriate tune-up for some of the players as well—even if it seemed unfair at times. When Mother Nature turns at the Open Championship, scores look like they did on Friday in Miami. The climate in which par is a good score is most often reserved for a U.S. Open, and Doral is giving that type of feel to this tournament.

Round 1 Recap

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    Chris Trotman/Getty Images

    Rain cut short first-round play at Trump National Doral. A weather delay meant play was suspended before many golfers were able to finish their rounds. The conclusion of Round 1 will tee off on Friday at 8:45 a.m., per the tournament's Twitter account.

    Harris English is one of five golfers tied for the lead at three under. He was, however, the only one in the five who finished his round. After he went into the clubhouse, English told Jason Sobel of GolfChannel.com how much he was racing against time to get the round in:

    “We were pretty much running to the tee on 9,” he said of his final hole. “It was getting really dark, very quickly, but I wanted to finish the hole, because it really changes the way you approach the day. Waking up and playing one hole at 8:00 in the morning and then waiting around for three or four hours for your tee time is tough to do. That way in the morning, we can have a normal day just like today.”

    With English already done for Round 1, all he can do is sit back and hope that he remains in a tie for the lead. Jason Dufner and Hunter Mahan are among the five right there with English, and they still have time to make a move.

    Here's a look at the top 10 in Miami. You can see the full leaderboard on WorldGolfChampionships.com.

    Pos.NameScoreRound 1
    T1Harris English-3 69
    T1 Jason Dufner -3 Thru 16 
    T1 Hunter Mahan -3 Thru 14 
    T1 Francesco Molinari -3 Thru 13 
    T1 Patrick Reed -3 Thru 11 
    T6 Russell Henley -2Thru 15 
    T6 Charl Schwartzel -2 Thru 15 
    T6 Dustin Johnson -2 Thru 15 
    T6 Matt Kuchar-2 Thru 15 
    T6Louis Oosthuizen-2Thru 13
    T6Zach Johnson-2Thru 11
    T6Adam Scott-2Thru 10

    One of the golfers to watch on Friday will be Rory McIlroy. At one-under through 14 holes, he's in a great position to either grab a share of the lead heading into Round 2, or at the very least close some of the ground between him and the leaders.

    With McIlroy's fourth-round collapse at the Honda Classic, he should be itching to set the record straight and pick up his first win of 2014.

    Phil Mickelson is in a tie for 20th at even par through 14 holes. You can never completely count out Lefty this early into a tournament, but his start to 2014 has left a lot to be desired. Mickelson needs to show a lot of improvement on Friday to have a real shot at the title.

    Tiger Woods, last year's champion, is in the midst of yet another bad round. Through 10 holes, he's at two over and in a tie for 47th.

    Putting was his biggest problem on Thursday. Brian Wacker of PGATour.com highlighted the eighth hole. Woods reached the green in two, which opened the door for the eagle and surely meant a birdie. He would three-putt the hole and finish with a par.

    According to Sobel, Tiger took 100 putts during the entirety of last year's WGC-Cadillac Championship. With Thursday's performance, he's already a fifth of the way there (21).