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Haas rallies, wins the Northern Trust Open

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By Seth Kerr

GolfWRX Staff Writer

Bill Haas won in a playoff against Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley at the Northern Trust Open when for most of the day it appeared no one would take control of the tournament.

It looked like Haas would win in regulation after hitting a towering three wood from 292 yards and knocking in the putt for eagle on the par five 17th hole. On No. 18, Haas hit his approach short of the green but got up and down to finish at 7-under with a one-stroke lead.

Mickelson and Bradley came to No. 18 needing birdie to tie Haas. The 475-yard par 4 had only relented 30 birdies the entire week and six birdies on Sunday, but someone forgot to tell Mickelson and Bradley.

Mickelson putted first, jarring one in the heart of the hole from more than 25 feet to tie Haas. Amid the roars from the crowd, and after fist bumping Mickelson, Bradley poured in a 12 footer to join them in the playoff.

The players returned to No. 18 for the first playoff hole and tied with par. Bradley had the best chance for victory, just missing his 15-foot putt for birdie.

All three players found trouble on the second playoff hole, No. 10, a short but difficult 312-yard hole. After hitting their drives, Mickelson and Bradley were short sided on the right, while Haas found the rough on the left. Neither Mickelson nor Bradley could keep their approach shots on the green while Haas had to leave his shot well short of the pin to keep from rolling off the back.

Haas, playing first, rolled in his right to left 45-foot birdie putt, while Mickelson couldn’t hole out from the sand and Bradley missed from just off the green, giving Hass his first victory of the year and fourth of his career.

“I never expected to make a 40-footer, especially in that situation,” Haas said. “A little luck was involved. I guess it was meant to be.”

Of course, Haas is no stranger to miraculous shots in a playoff after his up and down from the water hazard at last year’s season ending Tour Championship.

“A part of me was saying, ‘I’ve done this once, let’s do it again,'” Haas said. “Another part of me was saying, don’t screw this up.'”

Mickelson will be lamenting what could have been, never getting it going after his opening round 66. Mickelson struggled all day after making two early birdies, missing three straight putts from inside 10 feet on the back nine.

Bradley could do no better, bogeying five holes and looking more fidgety and nervous than normal. Bradley, known for his quirks on the course, backed off a number of shots and never looked comfortable.

Sergio Garcia had the round of the day shooting a 64, three better than the next best round. Garcia started on the back nine shooting 6-under with two eagles, before slowing down with a 1-under front nine.

The first World Golf Championship of the year starts Wednesday at the Accenture Match Play Championship, while the PGA Tour heads to Mexico for the Mayakoba Golf Classic.

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Seth is an avid golfer playing year round in Florida.

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Tour Photo Galleries

10 interesting photos from Tuesday at the Zurich Classic

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GolfWRX is live from the 2018 Zurich Classic at TPC Louisiana, where, among other things, a giant three-legged crocodile roams.

Now in it’s second year, the tournament’s unique two-man team format has attracted a wealth of top talent, including 10 of the top 14 golfers in the OWGR. We’re on the scene snapping bag pictures and have five galleries from TPC Louisiana’s range Tuesday. We also have a look inside Ryan Ruffels bag, a peek at Jimmy Walker’s putter, a look in Brooks Koepka’s bag, and more!

Let’s dig in.

Well, this certainly is interesting, Xinjun Zhang. Not sure about the context, but not something you traditionally see on a PGA Tour driving range…

Hard not to love Ryan Ruffels’ 009M

Look’s like Michael Greller is enjoying some well-earned relaxation

Ryan Palmer boldly going where few Tour pros dare to: serif font

Roman numeral loft stamping? Savage grind? We like your style, Bud Cauley

Is this a new Wilson Staff PMP wedge prototype or a one-off thing for Ricky Barnes?

Finally, Whitney comes to a wedge

Ham & egg!

Jimmy Walker’s silver Spider

Our Tour Photographer risking the wrath of Bubba (we assume he had permission)

 

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Detroit could be getting a PGA Tour event

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As a business based in the Detroit metro area, GolfWRX is happy to hear this: the Motor City could be getting a PGA Tour event.

With the PGA Tour’s 2019-2020 schedule expected in the weeks ahead, the Detroit News reports the Tour could announce (Detroit-based) Quicken Loans will sponsor an event at Detroit Golf Club. The company ceased sponsorship of the former Quicken Loans National in Washington, D.C. last year.

The Detroit News quotes a source with knowledge of the Tour’s scheduling discussions as saying an official announcement is near.

While the Tour, Quicken Loans, and Detroit Golf Club are mum on the matter, Quicken Loans’ statement to the paper last year made clear the company’s intention to bring a tournament to the city.

“As we look to the future, we remain interested in exploring ways to highlight the energy and revitalization taking place in Detroit…A prime golf event, featuring the world’s best players, is certainly something we would be interested in pursuing as a way to showcase our great American city.”

If the Detroit tournament takes the calendar spot of the The National, it would be contested in late June/early July. Additionally, with the PGA Championship’s move to may next year, there’s some speculation the Detroit event could be contested in August.

As mentioned, we know the PGA Championship is moving to May in 2019. Additionally, The Players will move to March, TPC Southwind will take over  WGC hosting duties from Firestone Country Club, and the FedEx Cup Playoffs will wrap before start of football season.

We’ll have to wait (eagerly) for official word on the Detroit event.

 

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Tuesday’s Photos from the 2018 Zurich Classic

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GolfWRX is live from the 2018 Zurich Classic at TPC Louisiana (par 72; 7,425 yards), designed by Pete Dye with consultants Steve Elkington and Kelly Gibson.

The Zurich Classic is a unique event on the PGA Tour because it’s not an individual stroke-play event. Instead, the format consists of two-man teams playing best-ball on Thursday and Saturday, and alternate-shot on Friday and Sunday.

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Last year, Cameron Smith and Jonas Blixt won the event after four playoff holes against Kevin Kisner and Scott Brown. The Smith/Blixt duo will be back to defend their title, and the Kisner/Brown pairing will be back avenging their loss.

Other notable pairings in the field include Daniel Berger/Gary Woodland, Wesley Bryan/Jon Rahm, Patrick Reed/Patrick Cantlay, John Daly/Rory Sabbatini, Jason Day/Ryan Ruffels, David Duval/Jim Furyk, Tony Finau/Daniel Summerhays, Sergio Garcia/Rafa Cabrera Bello, J.B. Holmes/Brand Snedeker, Matt Kuchar/Bubba Watson, Louis Oosthuizen/Charl Schwartzel, Sean O’Hair/Jimmy Walker, Pat Perez/Jason Dufner, Justin Rose/Henrik Stenson, Jordan Spieth/Ryan Palmer, Justin Thomas/Bud Cauley and more!

Check out our photos from the event below!

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