The US PGA Tour’s sudden-death-playoff streak continued at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, but this one didn’t spill over to Monday, or even into a second hole. Gary Woodland’s par on the 18th at TPC Scottsdale was good enough to defeat Chez Reavie, who holed a 21-footer for birdie on the 72nd hole to join Woodland at 18-under 266.
Here were the concluding stages:
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) February 4, 2018
For Woodland, it’s his third career US Tour title, and his first since 2013. It comes less than a year after he and his wife Gabby experienced tragedy when one of their twins was lost in a miscarriage. An emotional Woodland couldn’t help but smile as he held Jaxson Lynn, who survived the pregnancy, after holing the final putt.
“He’s a miracle, puts this in perspective really good,” said the 33-year-old. “It was obviously a long year for us, but I’m very happy to be holding him and to be where I’m at right now.”
Woodland fired the low round of the day, a seven-under 64 that included birdies on three of his last four holes and a five-under 30 on his opening nine. It’s his first victory since the 2013 Barracuda Championship, although he’s given himself opportunities since, finishing runner-up seven times, including twice last season.
“I put a lot of work in this off-season. I mean, obviously, I knew what’s been going on the past couple years, short game needed some adjustment. I spent some time with Pete Cowen. He really got me to where I have confidence in my short game. That allowed me to be more aggressive and let Butch and I do what we do and play aggressive off the tee, play aggressive with the irons and attack from there. It’s been a good day.”
Woodland, who made a field-leading 26 birdies thanks to that aggressive nature, hopes there’s more where this came from.
“We’re just building, we’re going to keep growing, keep getting better. I still got some work to do, I still got to get more comfortable with the little things that I’m working on, but I’m excited about where were at.”
Reavie’s final-round five-under 66 ultimately wasn’t enough, but he was still pleased with the state of his game.
“I played great all week, hit the ball really well and made a lot of putts. Unfortunately, I made a bogey on the playoff hole, but I didn’t make many bogeys this week,” he said.
The runner-up finish is the best of Reavie’s career at TPC Scottsdale.
If not for Woodland, the round of the day would have belonged to Ollie Schniederjans, who carded a bogey-free six-under 65 to finish in a tie for third at 15-under 269. The former No.1-ranked amateur in the world has now registered seven top-10s in just 49 starts on the US Tour. He was joined at 15-under by Brendan Steele, who shot a four-under 67. It’s the fourth time Steele has finished inside the top-six at the Phoenix Open.
Four players tied for fifth at 14-under 270, including Phil Mickelson, who nearly mounted a late charge with three straight birdies at the 15th, 16th and 17th holes. It would have taken a miracle at the par-4 18th to earn a spot in the playoff, and the five-time Major champion didn’t get one, finishing with a double-bogey 6 to shoot a two-under 69. It’s his second top-five finish of the season, the first coming in October at the Safeway Open (T-3).
Also at 14-under were Chesson Hadley (68), Matt Kuchar (67) and Bryson DeChambeau (70).
Unfortunately for Rickie Fowler, he leaves the desert empty-handed once again after struggling in the final round and posting a two-over 73 to finish at 12-under 272. Fowler held the lead entering Sunday, the sixth time he’s had the 54-hole lead in a US PGA Tour event. But only once has he been able to close out the win.
It was another lacklustre week in Arizona for the Australasian brigade. Aaron Baddeley’s T-26 was the best result, 10 shots shy of the playoff score.
Kiwi Danny Lee (73-69) missed the cut by a single shot.