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Gay comes from 6 back to win Humana Challenge

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“It’s hard to win out here.”

Brian Gay’s simple and telling comment after winning the Humana Classic might have been spoken by any number of runners-up on Sunday. Two additional golfers joined him in a playoff and two more finished one stroke out at 24-under par.

Gay’s highly-touted putter missed a fairly short birdie effort on the 72nd hole to win in regulation, but it was up to the task in overtime. Gay and Charles Howell III birdied the first playoff hole, while Web.Com Tour graduate David Lingmerth found Lake Hope on the left and made bogey. Lingmerth had closed with a 10-under 62 to make up seven strokes and join the playoff, but was unable to duplicate his final-hole birdie on the 73rd, tugging a 4-iron approach from a slight sidehill lie into the wet stuff.

“It was quite a bit above my feet, so I knew it was probably going to want to go left,” Lingmerth said. “And I naturally like to hit a little fade, so off of that lie, it just felt awkward for me. And I didn’t get comfortable and obviously put a bad swing on it.”

Howell was the only player in the top five to make a bogey during regulation. The Oklahoma State alum made two of them, yet persevered to post 10 birdies over the other 16 holes and reserve a spot in the post-round cotillion. Much like Gay, Howell was unable to birdie the 18th in regulation for the win. Unfortunately for Howell, his approach to the second playoff hole (the 10th) found a greenside bunker. After a mediocre bunker shot, he missed his 10 footer for putt that gave Brian Gay two putts for the win.

For Howell, close may not bring the symbolic cigar, but it does substantiate his rededication to the game.

“I like the work that I’m doing,” Howell said after the round. “I’ve made more of a commitment to work on my short game. It’s up to me to stick to the plan that I’ve laid out throughout the whole year, as opposed to having a couple good weeks and then focusing a little bit more on something else.”

Kevin Chappell gave an early hint that the Humana tradition of low final rounds would continue. The former UCLA player got to eleven-under par through the 8th hole, after beginning his day on the back nine. Knowing that a final-hole birdie would take him to 60 on the day and minus-24 for the week, Chappell nearly made his long effort. A mental lapse led to a three-putt, but still earned him a top-10 finish.

“I hit a good putt,” Chappell said. “Unfortunately missed the comeback putt, but all in all, it was a good day. I said to my caddie walking up 18, this is a lot better than where I was end of last year, fighting to keep my card.  It’s good to get those nerves going again and a nice way to break off the rust.”

Scott Stallings, the tournament leader at dawn on day four, gave the impression that he would follow up his Saturday 63 with another low round on Sunday. Birdies on holes Nos. 2 through 4 increased his overnight lead to six strokes. A bogey hiccup on No. 7 reduced the lead, as the hard-charging field gave notice that it would not concede victory.

Stallings opened the back nine with a pair of birdies to establish a lead once again, but was unable to make another birdie over the final six holes. Bogeys on Nos. 16 and 18 snatched defeat from the jaws of victory for the 2012 True South Classic champion. Despite the near-miss, Stallings remained optimistic about the experience.

“You’re going to have your good days and your bad days, but if you live and die with every shot out there, you’re going to have a ?? your career is not going to last very long out there,” Stalling said. “You got to learn from your mistakes and know what you got to do to get better.  And I’ve got a great team around me and I got to get better in certain situations and got to handle myself better and understanding where I’m going to miss it in the circumstances when they dictate themselves, like 18.”

Among the also-rans, Phil Mickelson’s final-hole bogey cost him a top-30 finish, but his third consecutive round in the 60s (67 on Friday and twin 66s on the weekend) revealed that Lefty is in top early-season form as he heads to San Diego and Torrey Pines next week. Only a Thursday 72 kept Mickelson from contending.

James Hahn, a tour rookie, had six birdies and two eagles (including one on No. 18) in a final-round 62. He finished in a 4th-place tie with Stallings, one stroke out of the playoff. Hahn had played on the Gateway, Canadian and Nationwide tours before earning a promotion to the PGA Tour in 2013. Hahn led this week after opening with 63-67. A third-round 72 derailed the train a bit, but he showed more than pluck in closing with the low round of the week.

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Ronald Montesano writes for GolfWRX.com from western New York. He dabbles in coaching golf and teaching Spanish, in addition to scribbling columns on all aspects of golf, from apparel to architecture, from equipment to travel. Follow Ronald on Twitter at @buffalogolfer.

2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Ronald Montesano

    Jan 21, 2013 at 3:07 pm

    As we know, it depends on the course. Certain courses are more receptive to low scores (a la Palmer Private) while others defend par vigorously. I suspect that greenkeepers could cut flags on PP in very challenging places and speed up greens into the teens and voila, US Open conditions. They don’t want that at the Humana, so we get 62s.

  2. Troy Vayanos

    Jan 21, 2013 at 2:18 pm

    It’s hard to know what is a comfortable lead any longer on tour.

    Scott Stallings had a 5 shot lead with one round to go and shot 2 under 70 and still came up short. The players today on some of these golf courses are able to go so low no lead is comfortable.

    Three players shot 62 on the final day and tore apart the PGA West (Palmer Course).

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WATCH: Tiger Woods on Facebook Live with Bridgestone Golf

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Tiger Woods just appeared in a Bridgestone Golf Facebook Live video. While the audio isn’t the greatest (sounds like there’s some mowers rolling by), we’ve got to pass it along.

Check out the video below.

Woods initially discusses his wedges, before moving on to sharing some insights about how he hits his patented stinger–covering the ball, starting it farther right, and keeping his follow through short.

On his ball, the Bridgestone Tour B XS, which he presents as a softer ball well-suited to his swing, Woods says

“I need spin. I don’t spin the ball a lot. My swing has never produced a lot of spin. I’ve always been able to take spin off the golf ball–I grew up in an era where we played balata. What separated a lot of guys was the ability to take spin off the golf ball…to keep it below the tree line. There was a lot more movement in the golf ball.”

“My swing has naturally evolved. I’ve had different swings throughout the years, but each swing didn’t spin the ball a lot. So, when I get up to my long irons with a harder ball that most people would launch…I don’t. It falls out of the sky because it has so little spin.”

Woods mentioned that he hasn’t played Shinnecock since the course’s pre-U.S. Open makeover, but that he expects the course will be particularly difficult: an old-school U.S. Open with minimal graduated rough where it will be difficult to shoot under par.

Responding to comments, Woods sings Hazeltine’s praises and mentions he’d love to be able to wear shorts during PGA Tour events

“We play some of the hottest places on the planets and it would be nice to wear shorts…even with my little chicken legs,” Woods says.

Woods tells amateurs looking for more spin around the greens that they need a soft golf ball, mentioning that solid contact, maintaining loft, and allowing to club to do its job are key. Woods mentions that he has “a couple extra shots around the greens” thanks to the softness of his golf ball.”

We’ll next see the 14-time major champion in action at next week’s Memorial Tournament (which he discusses to wrap up the video).

 

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10 interesting photos from Tuesday at the Fort Worth Invitational

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GolfWRX is on the ground at Marvin Leonard’s famed pet project, Colonial Country Club, peeking into players bags and taking in the action on the driving range.

While you’ll want to take a trip through the buffet line, we’ve made you a plate of some of the tastiest morsels.

Absolutely savage new putter cover for Jon “Rahmbo” Rahm. Just killer.

Prettier than a new penny.

Spotted: Aldila Rogue Silver 130 MSI

Everything here is excellent. Just excellent.

More like Garsen Murray. Am I right?

If you were Aaron Wise standing over the winning putt at last week’s Byron Nelson, this is what it’d have looked like (of course, you’d have had a ball and the putter would be soled on the green, but you get the point…)

Abraham Ancer’s new Artisan wedges are simply incredible… All of this: Artisan star stellar stuff.

Rickie Fowler has gone grape.

You can’t fool me. You’re not Adam Hadwin, you’re a golf bag.

Is Patrick Cantlay considering a switch to a Cameron Napa?

Check out all our photos from the 2018 Forth Worth Invitational below.

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Tuesday’s Photos from the 2018 Fort Worth Invitational at Colonial

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GolfWRX is live this week from the 2018 Forth Worth Invitational at Colonial Country Club (par 70; 7,209 yards). The event has now been hosted here for 73 straight years.

Headlining the field this week are Jordan Spieth, who’s currently ranked No. 3 in the Official World Golf Rankings, Jon Rahm (No. 4), Justin Rose (No. 5) and Rickie Fowler (No. 6). Joining them are notables Webb Simpson, who’s coming off his win at The 2018 Players, as well as Wesley Bryan, Jason Dufner, Bryson DeChambeau, Jim Furyk, Zach Johnson, Matt Kuchar, Brooks Koepka, Louis Oosthuizen, Pat Perez, Adam Scott, Charl Schwartzel, Jimmy Walker, and last week’s champion, Aaron Wise.

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Last year, Kevin Kisner captured the second PGA Tour victory of his career after shooting a final-round, 4-under 66.

Check out our photos from the 2018 Forth Worth Invitational below.

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Discussion: See what GolfWRX members are saying about the photos in our forums

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