Rory McIlroy won when he least expected it and, in the process, collected his third Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow Club.
His one-shot victory was his first in 18 months and only after he won, did he reveal a neck injury he sustained in a practice session that nearly caused him to withdraw from the tournament prior to starting his road to victory on Thursday.
He seized control Sunday afternoon with back-to-back birdies from the bunker down the stretch on holes 14 and 15. He admitted he did get ahead of himself thinking how cool it would be to see his wife and 8-month-old daughter waiting to celebrate with him on their first Mother’s Day.
However, the finishing stretch at Quail Hollow snapped him back to reality. With a two-shot lead, he hit a 7-iron safely over the water on the 17th.
But on 18, his drive went left of the winding stream into a deep hole of shaggy grass near the water. He started to try to gouge it out toward the fairway when his caddie Harry Diamond stepped in to offer a few alternatives. Diamond wisely talked him into taking a penalty drop from a dangerous lie in a hazard on the closing hole. He two-putted from 45 feet for bogey, a 3-under 68 and a one-shot victory with a 10-under par 274 total.
“This is one of my favorite places in the world,” said McIlroy, who picked up his first PGA TOUR title at Quail Hollow in 2010. “To break the drought and win here, it’s awesome.”
It was McIlroy’s 19th PGA TOUR career victory and 27th overall. He remains the only multiple winner of the Wells Fargo Championship. Abraham Ancer finished second at 9-under 275. It marked the fourth runner-up finish for the young, winless Mexican star.
Max Homa, a talented player who had hit the depths of professional golf, showed a lot of mettle Sunday at the 17th Wells Fargo Championship by closing with a 4-under 67 to pull away from the field and win his first tournament on the PGA TOUR.
Homa began the back nine with two birdies to build a four-shot lead and didn’t make any mistakes while Joel Dahmen saved par with a tough chip over the creek on the final hole at Quail Hollow Club for a 70 and finished three shots behind.
There was a lot of firepower chasing Homa on Sunday. Justin Rose finished alone in third with a final-round 68. Sergio Garcia (68), Rickie Fowler (68), Paul Casey (69) and Jason Dufner (73) all were tied for fourth. Two-time Wells Fargo Championship winner Rory McIlroy was tied for 8th.
Homa, who won the NCAA title at Cal in 2013, won for the first time in his 68th start as a pro. The victory earned him a spot into the PGA Championship two weeks after Charlotte at Bethpage Black and an invitation to the Masters Tournament next April.
The first week in May was quite the turnaround for the 28-year-old Californian.
Homa was at No. 829 in the world when he got his third crack at the PGA TOUR in October. Two seasons ago, he made only two cuts in 17 tournaments, missing the 54-hole cut in one of them and finishing last at an opposite-field event in the other. But he made six of seven cuts coming into the Wells Fargo Championship and played like he belonged.
“Confidence takes a lot of anxiety away,” he said Saturday night as he prepared to play in the final group for the first time.
Homa never flinched, effectively sealing it with a long shot up the hill and onto the green at the par-5 15th for a two-putt birdie, saving par to keep a three-shot lead going to the final hole and drilling his tee shot down the fairway. He wrapped it up with a 10-foot par putt to finish at 15-under 269.
“Over the moon, man,” he said before going to sign his card. “It means a lot to do it under pressure, and job security is great. I haven’t had that.”
The victory was worth $1,422,000 — about $454,000 more than he had made in his previous 67 starts — and gave him a two-year exemption. Homa became the fifth player to make the Wells Fargo Championship his first PGA TOUR victory, joining Anthony Kim (2008), McIlroy (2010), Rickie Fowler (2012) and Derek Ernst (2013).
The 16th edition of the Wells Fargo Championship marked the return to Charlotte, NC and Quail Hollow Club.
It also was a positive step in the resurgence of former world No. 1 Jason Day. After a winless 2017, his win here was his second of the season and moved him from world No. 14 to No. 7. Although, he enjoyed a two-stroke cushion on the final hole and eventually won by that margin over 21-year-old South African Aaron Wise and five-time TOUR winner Nick Watney, it was not easy.
Heading into the final round, Day held a two-stroke lead but a majority of his Sunday round was a struggle. He missed more than half the fairways, hit only eight greens in regulation and made four bogeys.
After squandering a three-shot lead on the back nine and experiencing some self-doubt, Day toughed it out on the Green Mile, gathering inspiration from Lebron James’ buzzer-beater shot the night before against the Toronto Raptors in the NBA Playoffs. The 30-year-old rolled in a 20-foot birdie putt on the 16th hole and then effectively won the tournament when his 7-iron tee shot on the 230-yard, par-three 17th hole bounced four times before hitting the flagstick and settling 3 feet away. He was the only player to make birdie on No. 17 at Quail Hollow in the final round, and his two-stroke margin returned.
“Things like that are what you need to win tournaments,” Day said. “That is what I am most happy about. When you are called on to do something good and you pull it off, to be clutch like that, with a lot of heart… I’m glad I watched Lebron James make that shot.”
He would finish the final round with a 2-under 69 and a 12-under 272. He also became only the second player in tournament history to record four sub-70 rounds, joining 2011 champion Lucas Glover.
“It was one of the best wins I have ever had,” Day would say later. “I felt like I went 10 rounds out there just fighting against myself.”
It was Day’s 12th career victory on the PGA TOUR and his 11th win since he last competed here in 2012.
Wise, a PGA Tour rookie, saved par on his last two holes for a 68 and the best finish of his career so far. Watney made a 59-foot birdie putt on the last hole for a 69 and his best finish in three years.
Meanwhile, Phil Mickelson made noise again on the weekend only to come up short in his bid to win the Wells Fargo Championship in his 15th attempt. With rounds of 72-72-64-69 for a T5 finish, Mickelson recorded his eighth top-five finish and 11th top-ten finish, the most for any player in tournament history. Mickelson also improved his career earnings at the Wells Fargo Championship to $3,310,223 keeping his spot at 2nd in all-time tournament money behind Rory McIlroy, who has earned $3,484,117.
With Day’s victory, the Wells Fargo Championship now has seven champions of its own who have also won major championships, including David Toms, Vijay Singh, Jim Furyk, Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Lucas Glover. Count the two victories here by McIlroy and 8 of the 16 winners of this tournament through the years are also major championship winners.
Day earned $1,386,000 and 500 FedExCup points with his victory. Perhaps more importantly, he took another step towards reaching his goal of being world No. 1 again.
“When you’re walking around and there’s so many golfers in this world and you know that there’s no one better than you, that’s a pretty awesome feeling,” Day said. “I know the feeling and what it felt like to be No. 1 and I know what I had to do to get there. This is a good kick in the right direction, having two wins this kind of early in the season. My next step is to try to win a major this year.”
With World No.1 Dustin Johnson and Pat Perez sitting in the clubhouse tied for the lead, Georgia’s Brian Harman put on a show during his final two holes that will likely be remembered for decades in the coastal town of Wilmington, NC.
For the first time since 1971 the PGA TOUR returned to the eastern part of the state and the 5-foot-7 Harman, born on the coast in Savannah, electrified a sellout crowd at Eagle Point Golf Club on a brilliant Carolina Sunday afternoon.
Trailing by one shot with two holes to play, Harman birdied the 17th hole to reach 9-under-par for the tournament and move into a tie with the two clubhouse leaders.
On the par-five 18th hole, Harman decided to go for the green on his second shot and get into a position for either eagle or birdie to take the lead and likely win the tournament. His shot landed wide-left of the green near a live oak tree. His third shot was a tough one.
“Well, I didn’t hit a great chip, but I didn’t hit a horrible chip, either,” he explained later. “I had some tree limbs. I needed to go vertical with it. I had a good lie to go vertical with it and it would have been no problem, but I couldn’t keep it up underneath those limbs, so I was kind of caught in between. If you get something that’s too low, it’s going to run through, which I wasn’t too afraid of that because I at least had an uphill putt coming back. But I did my best there and it didn’t turn out very good, but I guess it was right where it was supposed to be.”
Harman, along with several other players from the Sea Island area, had made a trip to Eagle Point Golf Club two weeks prior to the tournament. He fell in love with the course and knew coming in that he could do well.
As he stood over his ball for a 28-foot birdie putt, he also knew what he had to do to win. As his putt started downhill toward the hole and the crowd stood on its feet and started to cheer, Harman felt like he had a great chance for his second victory on the PGA TOUR. When the ball went straight into the cup, emotions took over.
With the Wilmington crowd cheering wildly, Harman screamed and threw his arm into the air multiple times in celebration.
“I blacked out, I don’t know what happened” he said. “I can’t wait to watch it. I mean, I have no idea what happened. I don’t know what I did after the ball went into the hole.”
Winning on the PGA TOUR is never easy. Johnson was making it seem that way. After opening with rounds of 70-75, the top player in the world, who grew up in nearby Columbia SC and attended Coastal Carolina just down the road from Wilmington, appeared to be human. But on the weekend, his pair of 67s moved him into a chance to win his fourth consecutive tournament.
In the end, he was one shot shy.
“He’s a tough cookie, man,” said Harman. “Whatever he shot, 3 over in the second round and then the weekend he shoots 5 under and 5 under. He’s tough.”
But also in the end Harman did it his way.
“Yeah, it’s surreal,” he said. “Just, you know, I three-putted that 15th hole. Knew it was going to be tough to birdie those last couple, but I stuck to my game plan and just did it, did the best I could.
“It’s a lot of emotion, for sure. I’ve been fighting really hard. I thought I had a good chance a couple weeks ago at Harbour Town, really wanted that one. Yeah, I’ve been working really hard. This feels really good.
“I think just having a little more belief in myself and just trusting that I’m pretty good at what I do and just trying to stay in the moment and do the best that I can.”
|T8||Billy Hurley III||-6||70||69||72||71||282|
|T8||Byeong Hun An||-6||72||70||69||71||282|
After finishing 9-under par through 72 holes, Hahn was tied with Roberto Castro forcing the seventh playoff in the tournament’s history. It took one hole for Hahn to win his second career TOUR victory. Playing the 18th hole, Castro hit his drive into the creek along the left-side of the fairway and Hahn hit “one of the best drives of my career.”
After taking a drop, Castro then hit his third shot over the green, hitting a spectator but managed to make bogey. Hahn’s second shot rested 24 feet from the hole and he two-putted for the victory.
“The mind is a powerful thing and it was going bad for a while,” Hahn said. “I just didn’t have the confidence, didn’t believe in myself. I felt like I was putting in the work but wasn’t getting any reward for it, so it made me not want to put in as much work because it’s not gratifying.”
“You’re playing bad and you’re missing cuts and there’s nothing funny about that. So (Urbanek his caddie) and I, we just kind of had a talk that, hey, look, you just have to keep believing in yourself, keep grinding because it’s not always going to be like this.”
Rory McIlroy, the No.1 player in the world, had the best performance in Wells Fargo Championship history on his way to becoming the first repeat champion with his victory in 2015.
The 26-year-old Irishman, whose maiden PGA TOUR victory occurred at Quail Hollow Club in 2010, broke numerous records during his four-rounds in Charlotte under sunny and warm conditions. Perhaps the most important was the 18-hole masterpiece he played on Saturday when he took hopes of winning away from the rest of the contenders that included Charlotte’s Webb Simpson, Phil Mickelson and young guns Patrick Rodgers and Justin Thomas. In the third round he shot a blistering 11-under-par 61 to break his old 18-hole record of 62 and built a four-stroke lead that would never be challenged on Sunday.
By the time the final round was over, McIlroy not only had his 11th PGA TOUR title, but he had broken the 72-hole tournament scoring record by five strokes but won by seven strokes, the most in tournament history.
“I am obviously delighted to get the win. You know, the way I played yesterday (Saturday) really set me up to go out there today,” said McIlroy after his second victory in three weeks of play. “I was in control of the golf tournament and I just needed to shoot a solid round and that was going to get me over the line”.
“I accomplished a lot of things this week or the last few weeks”.
On his 71st hole of the Wells Fargo Championship, J.B. Holmes sank a 9-foot par putt that proved to be necessary and critical in securing a personal comeback and a victory that will long be remembered.
It was a beautiful day for golf and the thousands of fans who lined the fairway. And, it was an even better day for a wonderful story of perseverance and for one of the most popular players in the game.
It has been a long road back for the Kentucky native. Since his last victory in 2008, Holmes has endured two brain surgeries, a broken ankle that kept him away from competitive golf for a year and surgery for tennis elbow.
“He worked so hard,” said Holmes’s wife Erica. “There were days he had to go to rehab twice, then to acupuncture, then to his workout. He’s worked so hard to get to where he is.”
The par putt provided the margin he needed as he stood over a 3-foot putt for bogey on the final hole in the fading sun. He made the putt and earned a one-stroke victory over past champion Jim Furyk and his first win on the PGA TOUR since 2008.
Holmes said he felt confident over the putt at 17, a left-to-right breaker he faced after chipping short.
“Yeah, that was huge,” said Holmes, who collected his third PGA Tour win. “It gave me a two shot lead going into the last hole, and then that was big. So I felt comfortable over that putt. I felt like I was going to make it, and I had a good stroke and it went in.”
But on Sunday, Holmes built a healthy enough margin over the first 15 holes to weather a pair of bogeys over the last three, a brutal finishing stretch known collectively as the Green Mile. Holmes finished with 71 for a 14-under-par total of 274, 1 shot better than Jim Furyk’s 13-under 275.
On this Sunday with large crowds and beautiful weather, Furyk provided much of the spark. He started the day 7 shots back but fired a 7-under-par 65 to become the clubhouse leader at 13-under-par and gain the attention of players in contention and still on the golf course.
|T6||Brendon de Jonge||-9||80||62||68||69||279|
In only his ninth PGA TOUR start, Derek Ernst emerged late Sunday from a leaderboard full of proven winners to win his first career title at this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.
In doing so, Ernst just 11 days shy of his 23rd birthday, became the third youngest winner of the tournament behind Rory McIlroy and Anthony Kim. Prior to winning, the Las Vegas native had earned just over $28,000 on TOUR and a year ago had accumulated five tournament victories while playing for UNLV. But on this Sunday, this rookie’s professional life would change as he earned $1,206 million and a two-year exemption on the PGA TOUR.
It would take a playoff for Ernst to get his hands on the trophy, though. Upon completion of play on a cold and rainy final round, Ernst and David Lynn had survived the conditions with 72-hole scores of 8-under-par 280. So, they both returned to the 18th hole and Lynn, a 39-year veteran and winner on the European Tour, opened the door for Ernst quickly when he drove his tee shot left near a hazard and needed four shots to reach the green. Ernst only needed to two-putt for par to claim victory.
“This is unbelievable,” Ernst would repeat many times after earning the win. Asked when he first thought about winning, he replied, “Never.”
|T6||Bo Van Pelt||-5||74||70||68||71||283|
|T10||Charles Howell III||-4||72||72||69||71||284|
The 10th anniversary of the Wells Fargo Championship produced the same drama and caliber of champion in its previous nine years. And once again Sunday was a special day.
Rickie Fowler, seeking his first win on the PGA TOUR, discovered something with in himself and earned a victory that became instantly popular among his peers.
In a three-way playoff that featured the tournament’s 2010 champion and the 2011 U.S. Open champion Rory McIlroy, the 23-year-old Fowler selected a 51-degree wedge that had to be perfect on the 18th hole at Quail Hollow that had allowed only four birdies on a beautiful Sunday in Charlotte.
Hitting second from the fairway, Fowler stuffed his approach shot within 4 feet for a birdie on the first extra hole to beat McIlroy and D.A. Points for the victory. It was his first PGA TOUR win in his 67th start as a pro and at the age of 23 years, 4 months and 23 days, became the third player to make the Wells Fargo Championship his first PGA TOUR win (Anthony Kim/2008, Rory McIlroy/2010).
He is also the third-youngest winner of the event, behind McIlroy (20 years, 11 months, 28 days) and Kim (22/10/15).
“I didn’t want to play it safe,” Fowler said. “I had a good number (133 yards), and I was aiming right of the hole with the wind coming out of the right, and if I hit a perfect shot, it comes down right on the stick. … I hit a perfect shot at the right time, and I was going for it.”
McIlroy, who returned to No. 1 in the world thanks to his runner up finish Sunday, also used Quail Hollow as a launching pad toward stardom when he won here two years ago.
“I’m looking forward to playing with Rory for a long time,” said Fowler, who closed with a 3-under 69. “It’s awesome. It’s a long wait, but well worth it.”
he ninth Wells Fargo Championship had plenty of local flavor from Thursday through Sunday afternoon at Quail Hollow Club.
For the fourth time in tournament history, a playoff was needed to decide a champion. This time it came down to two former Clemson teammates and friends Jonathan Byrd and Lucas Glover. Glover would be the winner in a one-hole duel, capping off a brilliant week of putting and a comeback on Sunday that was peppered with drama after a wild day of leaderboard movement.
Glover’s victory meant many things. He became the first player in tournament history to record all four rounds in the 60s (67-68-69-69). His opening-round 67 is the lowest start by a champion. Glover led the field in a new TOUR statisticâ€”strokes gained puttingâ€”by gaining 10.506 strokes on the field. He also became the fifth champion of the Wells Fargo Championship, who also has a major championship victory on his resume.
The 31-year-old Glover, who was born in Greenville, SC, had not won on TOUR since the 2009 U.S. Open, when he came from three strokes back early in the final round. Glover did the same at the Wells Fargo Championship as he entered the final round three behind Byrd, the 54-hole leader.
Getting the title was an adventure for Glover. He and Byrd finished 15-under-par, one stroke shy of the tournament record.
But ahead of them several players were creating a buzz throughout the grounds of Quail Hollow Club. Phil Mickelson and Padraig Harrington made early moves and Pat Perez, who trailed by one heading into the final round, hung around until a double-bogey at No.7 sent him in another direction.
Also, first round leader and Charlotte native Bill Haas resurfaced. He nearly made a hole-in-one at the par-three 17th and after making his short birdie putt there pulled within striking distance before a bogey at 18 left him two strokes out of the playoff.
Rory Sabbatini also provided fireworks ahead of the final groups. He posted a final round 65 and finished 14-under-par to give the others a number to chase if they were going to win on this Mother’s Day Sunday.
Byrd and Glover would get the job done. But both came home in different fashion.
When Glover birdied the par-5, 15th hole he took a one-stroke lead with his 15-under total. Meanwhile, Byrd bounced back from a bogey on 14 with a birdie on 15 to get within one. Ahead of him, Glover was making impressive par putts and getting out of trouble to do so.
On the 18th, hole Glover hooked his tee shot left of the creek with his ball landing near a spectator’s back. From a tough sidehill lie, Glover took his position to hit the ball but it rolled down the slope. He had not grounded his club and hit his second shot from the better position. His approach did go over the green. However, a chip shot from the fringe and a 6-foot par putt saved the par and made him the new leader in the clubhouse.
Byrd made par from the trees at 16, then a par at 17. On the 18th, he made a dramatic birdie for the tie and the Clemson faithful were alive. Byrd’s birdie on the 18th was one of only three recorded by the field on Sunday. And, for the ninth straight year, the par-four was the toughest hole on the course all week.
In the playoff, the two once again visited the 18th hole. Byrd’s tee shot found a left-side bunker and his 5-iron approach went left over the creek causing a bogey. Glover, on the other hand, was able to find the middle of the fairway this time and a two-putt par was good enough.
Rory McIlroy, already a celebrated young Irishman on the European Tour, manufactured one of the greatest performances in tournament history to become the eighth champion of the Wells Fargo Championship. His final-round 62 included six consecutive threes on his scorecard over the final six holes as he shattered the course record by two strokes and won by four shots over Masters Champion Phil Mickelson.
The 20-year-old, two days before his birthday, became the youngest winner on Tour since Tiger Woods in 1996 to capture a championship. He also became the third straight player in his 20s to win the Wells Fargo Championship and the youngest winner in tournament history.
“To win this tournament as my first is something quite special,” said McIlroy. “I received so much support all day and this crowd is quite special. It feels quite Augusta-like here. It’s such a great tournament.”
McIlroy made the weekend special at Quail Hollow Club. He needed an eagle on the par-five 7th (his 16th hole of the day) to make the 36-hole cut on the number with a one-over-par total. His six-foot eagle putt gave him a chance on the weekend. He was nine strokes behind the leader.
The first two rounds created several storylines.
Tiger Woods was making his second start of the season and after opening with a 74, he struggled Friday to a 79 for his worst-ever 36-hole score and only the sixth missed cut as a pro.
On the flip-side, there was Billy Mayfair – a past multiple champion on the TOUR who had to qualify Monday afternoon to get into the field because he is not exempt this year for the first time since 1988. He earned a spot in the field with birdies on the final three holes and did not stop there.
By the weekend, Mayfair was the 36-hole leader at 8-under-par and heading into Sunday he had a two-stroke lead. Lurking behind him, however, were three major championship winners – Davis Love, III, Angel Cabrera and Phil Mickelson.
McIlroy, meanwhile, made a decent Saturday move himself. A six-under 66 moved him into a tie for seventh and only four strokes behind Mayfair.
Then the fireworks began.
On Sunday, McIlroy birdied the final three holes on the front-nine to post a 32 and followed with birdie at No.11 to tie Cabrera for the lead at 10-under-par. He sank an 8-foot birdie putt at 14 after nearly driving the hole. At 15, he hit a 5-iron from 207 yards to four feet for an eagle on the 566-yard, par-5 and the roars were just beginning. From a fairway bunker on the 16th, his 7-iron shot from 170 yards rolled to within five feet and he made the putt to move to 14-under-par.
On the par-three 17th, McIlroy, after nearly holing out a long putt from the other side of the green, tapped in for his fifth consecutive three and headed to the 18th hole with tremendous fan support and the look of a champion. But he was not finished. After hitting his second shot safely on the final green, McIlroy made an improbable 43-foot birdie putt that sent the Quail Hollow faithful into a frenzy.
Meanwhile, Mayfair and Love were struggling and would eventually each shoot 76 and Cabrera struggled to make putts. Mickelson could not mount a strong enough charge, though he did finish second.
“He was in a total zone,” said 2008 champion Anthony Kim, who was McIlroy’s playing partner on Sunday.
|4||Brendon de Jonge||-9||70||73||70||66||279|
|5||Bo Van Pelt||-8||65||76||71||68||280|
With his victory at the Wells Fargo Championship, 26-year-old Sean O’Hair became one of only three players on the PGA TOUR under the age of 30 with at least three wins, joining Sergio Garcia and Adam Scott.
During the Wednesday Pro-Am, O’Hair may have seen a glimpse of things to come by week’s end. He shot a 64 and announced to his coach that his game was ready. A first-round 69 placed O’Hair among the top 20 on the leader board. He followed with a 72 on Friday but remained within striking distance heading into the weekend.
On Saturday, O’Hair moved back into the lead pack with a 67 that left him tied for fifth and three strokes behind 54-hole leader Zach Johnson. His 67 matched the low round of the day and the West Chester, Pennsylvania residence was in perfect position as the stage was set for a Sunday shootout at Quail Hollow Club.
At one point Sunday, six players had at least a share of the lead but it was O’Hair who was the only player in the final six pairings to break 70. O’Hair was four strokes back after a bogey on the fourth hole. However, he played the next 12 holes in 6-under. The key stretch started at the 12th, where a birdie tied him at 11-under with Bubba Watson and Lucas Glover. O’Hair two-putted for birdie at the par-5, 15th and then he hit a brilliant 8-iron to 8 feet to birdie the 16th and take a two-stroke lead.
Down the stretch, Watson bogeyed 16 and Glover bogeyed 17 to give a little cushion for O’Hair.
Meanwhile, Woods recorded ten consecutive pars to finish at 9-under. But as many champions before him have done, O’Hair bogeyed the final two holes for a 69 and had to wait for Glover’s birdie attempt on 18 for the tie. Glover failed to make the putt and O’Hair became the second consecutive player under 30 to win the Wells Fargo Championship.
At the age of 22, Anthony Kim became not only the youngest champion of the Wells Fargo Championship, he became the youngest first-time champion on TOUR since 2001.
On Saturday, the Los Angeles native broke from the pack with a flawless six-under-par 66, giving him a four-shot lead heading into the final round. The highlight of the round came on Quail Hollow’s toughest hole, the 478-yard, par-four finishing hole. Kim pounded a 324-yard drive down the fairway, then stuck a pitching wedge to six feet and made the putt for birdie. His playing partner Jason Bohn called the round, “almost Tigeresque.”
What followed on Sunday was one of the most dominating performances in the tournament’s six-year history. Kim needed only 11 putts as he recorded four birdies on the first nine holes and pushed his lead to seven shots. On the par-4 9th hole he found a fairway bunker off the tee and had to lay up. However, his approach shot hit the flagstick and he saved par.
Coming home on the back-nine, he did record two bogeys on the final three holes as several champions of the Wells Fargo Championship have done so before. However, he still finished five shots ahead of former British Open champion Ben Curtis and broke Tiger Wood’s tournament record with a 16-under 272 score.
Tiger Woods week began with a pro-am pairing with friend and basketball legend Michael Jordan. Four days later, it ended with a trophy he was more than satisfied to embrace.
Woods opened with a two-under-par 70 at Quail Hollow Club. On Friday, his 4-under 68 moved him to the top of the leaderboard with 2005 Wells Fargo Champion Vijay Singh. The third round produced one of the finest days of golf on the 2007 PGA TOUR schedule. Roars were heard throughout the pines as the leaders produced hole-out shots from fairways and bunkers and long birdie putts to create lead changes and drama. When the dust was settled, Woods was 10-under and trailed South African Rory Sabbatini by one stroke.
On Sunday, Woods produced an eagle-birdie-birdie run and shot a 31 on the front nine. Sabbatini and others on the leaderboard began to falter. Woods had a bumpy ride on the inward nine that included a double-bogey on 13. Steve Stricker did manage to tie Woods, but a double-bogey of his own, gave the edge back to Woods.
The world’s No. 1, following a bogey on the par-three 17th, scrambled for par on the final hole for his 57th PGA TOUR victory, his third of 2007 and his ninth title in 12 starts.
Jim Furyk entered the final round at Quail Hollow Club with a one-shot lead. However, South African Trevor Immelman shot a 33 on the outward nine and by the 13th hole he held a two-stroke lead over Furyk and Retief Goosen.
Furyk, however, began to make his move. A birdie at the par-4 14th came after his eight-iron approach left him with a four-foot putt. He was within one stroke. Both he and Immelman then birdied the 15th and 30 minutes later they stood on the 18th teeing ground.
Furyk, trailing by one on the 72nd hole, watched Immelman three-putt from 50 feet. After a long, hard look, Furyk then rolled in an 8 footer to force the playoff.
On the first hole of extra play, both players returned to the 18th tee. And the result on the green was nearly the same. This time Furyk made a five-foot putt to secure his first victory of the 2006 season and the 11th of his career.
|T6||Bo Van Pelt||-6||70||64||73||75||282|
No matter the circumstance, Vijay Singh seems to always be there on Sunday. Despite trailing 54-hole leader Sergio Garcia by six strokes heading into Championship Sunday, Singh found a way to take this year’s edition to extra holes.
With a final-round 66 and some help from Garcia’s closing 72 and Jim Furyk’s 72nd hole birdie for another Sunday 66, Singh worked his way into a three-man playoff.
Singh survived the four-hole playoff in which Garcia was eliminated with a three-putt bogey on the first extra hole and Furyk found the creek at 18, which they were playing for the third time that day. The playoff schedule was 18-16-17-18.
It marked Singh’s third TOUR victory of the year and the 12th of his 28 total in just the last year and a half.
“A playoff is like a coin toss,” said Singh. “Straightaway, it’s match play. Whoever gets one up, that’s it.”
Joey Sindelar, one of the most popular players on the PGA TOUR, enjoyed a rebirth of his career at the 2004 Wells Fargo Championship.
He arrived at Quail Hollow Club with 370 starts since his last victory at the 1990 Hardee’s Golf Classic. Moreover, the 22-year veteran was ranked 222nd at the start of the tournament and jumped to 74th by week’s end. Add a winner’s check of $1,008,000 and the week made Sindelar’s victory one of the most well received among TOUR players during the 2004 season.
When Sindelar, at the age of 45, beat the likes of hard-charging Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson and then defeated 29-year-New Arron Oberholser in a playoff, he became the Newest winner on the PGA TOUR in 2004. Earlier that season, he tied an all-time record when he recorded four eagles in one round at the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic to prove he remains a fierce competitor.
“I never did give up hope. I’ve understood my swing for 12 or 14 years now, so when the lug nuts get loose, I am able to tighten them up pretty quickly,” said Sindelar. “The problem is the competition out here has gotten so good. It’s different than when I was in my hey-day. They come out here so good, so well rehearsed. So, the competition thing gets scary, and that’s why I badly wanted to win. I don’t have any other skills. I have to keep plugging.”
Sindelar won 10 collegiate titles at Ohio State University, including a win at the 1981 Big Ten Championship by 12 strokes. He is a member of the Ohio State University Athletic Hall of Fame.
|T5||Notah Begay III||-9||67||70||69||73||279|
As he approached the 18th tee of the final round, Toms held a six-stroke lead over several players, including Vijay Singh, Robert Gamez and Brent Geiberger.
However, an errant tee shot which traveled 50 to 60 yards offline into the trees on the right-side of the hole, started a loss of concentration. Seven shots later the ball finally dropped in the hole and Toms threw up his arms in relief with a two-stroke victory.
With his 1-over-par 73 on Sunday, Toms was the first player to shoot over par and win in a PGA TOUR event since Tiger Woods’ 2-over-par 72 at the 2002 U.S. Open. His total also matched Justin Leonard’s 73 in the final round in winning the 2002 MCI Heritage Classic.
“I know everybody will want to talk about that final hole, but I would rather talk about how I dominated the golf tournament for 71 holes,” Toms said. “It will be a week I will remember for a long time, just because of the way I played golf. I really feel like this week, I played as well as I have ever played a TOUR event.”
|T7||Charles Howell III||-6||70||69||72||71||282|
|T7||Tom Pernice Jr.||-6||73||67||74||38||282|