Brian Harman Holes Magical Putt to Claim Second PGA Tour Victory
Post by Sports Writer Derek Clements
SOMETHING strange happened at the Wells Fargo Championship - Dustin Johnson did not win a golf tournament. Looking for his fourth successive victory, the World No1 gave it his best shot on his return from the injury that ruled him out of The Masters last month, but Brian Harman holed a 30-foot birdie putt on the final hole to pip Johnson by a single shot.
Johnson barely made the cut, but a pair of 67s on Saturday and Sunday saw him leap up the leaderboard and he seemed certain to be heading for a playoff with Harman and Pat Perez. But Harman had other ideas and birdied the 17th and 18th holes to win for the first time since 2014.
Harman went long with his second shot to the 18th and needed relief from behind a corporate tent. He struck a poor chip but then drained his birdie putt to begin a wild celebration that saw him pumping his fists before leaping into the air and hugging his caddie, Scott Tway.
Harman closed with a four-under 68 for his second PGA Tour victory.
"It's surreal," Harman said. "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."
Johnson was playing for the first time in six weeks and it was like he had never been away. He holed a 15-foot birdie putt on the 18th that gave him a share of the lead. He then found himself in front on his own as Perez recorded a double-bogey on the 14th and Harman three=putted the 15th. Overnight leader Patrick Reed saw his chances disappear with four bogeys in six holes on the back nine.
Perez bounced back with birdies on the 16th and 18th, where he holed a four-feet putt for a 68.
Jon Rahm of Spain, one of five players who had at least a share of the lead on the back nine, was the last player with a chance. He required an eagle on the 18th but cleared the green with his second and then hit a poor chip. He closed with a par for a 71 to finish alone in fourth.
Reed shot 40 on the back nine for a 75 and fell out of the top 10. He played in the final group with Alex Noren of Sweden, who finished with a 77.
Harman's only other victory was the John Deere Classic in 2014.
Johnson was delighted with his performance. "I didn't really know what to expect this week because I didn't really get to practice leading into this tournament," he said. "Not much has changed. The first couple days I didn't play that great, but really played nicely on Saturday and Sunday and so I'm happy with where the game is going into next week."
Johnson had three birdies in six holes and two more on the 12th and 13th. His second shot on the par-five 12th hit the front of the green and was rolling back towards the water, stopping inches away. He got up-and-down for birdie.
Something else happened in America that hasn't happened for a long time. John Daly won the Insperity Invtiational on the Champions Tour. The former Open champion shot a final round of 69 for a 14-under-par winning total, beating Kenny Perry and Tommy Armour III by a shot. It was the Wild Thing's first victory anywhere in 13 years and it comes 12 months after he made his debut on the Champions Tour. His previous best finish was a tie for 11th.
He eagled the first and birdied the third hole and was never under pressure all day.
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