20 Year Old Matthew Wolff Eagles Last to Deny DeChambeau in Epic
ANOTHER week, and another dramatic and highly unlikely finish on the PGA Tour. Bryson DeChambeau holed a seven-foot putt for an eagle on the final green at the 3M Open, and thought he had done enough to win his sixth PGA Tour title. And why wouldn’t he? Back in the fairway, making only his fourth start on tour and just his third in total as a professional, Matthew Wolff watched. He needed to make a birdie himself to force a playoff and an eagle to win outright. What were the chances?
He struck a five iron across the lake at the par five that finished against the collar, fully 25 feet from the hole. Two putts for a playoff. Except that Wolff had other ideas. The 20 year-old only went and holed it. “It was great playing by Bryson,” said Wolff. "He's obviously one of the best players in the world and he's proven himself. To be able to have a chance against him is awesome. But my mindset was kind of the same with that shot. I knew I was going to go for it. And when he did that, I kind of told myself it would be pretty special to roll in an eagle and finish this deal off on 18. Kind of that little adrenaline boost, I guess kind of motivated me.”
Wolff later admitted he was shaking a little as he surveyed the putt. As he watched its progress he knew he had holed it, stepped forward pumped his fist and yelled “Come on.”
“I've been told so many times before that I was born for moments like these, I live for moments like these,” Wolff said. “It doesn't get better than this. I had a blast out there, and to make that putt was everything. You know, for me it was just kind of staying calm, doing what I do. And not a lot of putts were dropping today. I kind of told myself, you know, this wouldn't be a bad time for one to go my way. It was the most excited I've ever been. I'm usually not an emotional guy at all, but tears definitely came to my eyes when I stepped off and picked that ball up out of the hole.”
Collin Morikawa, Wolff’s long-time friend and playing partner, missed a 25-footer for an eagle of his own that could have forced a playoff. Wolff hugged his caddie, Steve Lohmeyer, burying his face in his caddie’s shoulder, and both men cried.
Wolff’s win secures his card until the end of the 2020-21 season. But how quickly it all changes. The previous week he missed the cut at the Rocket Mortgage Classic and admits that he was beginning to wonder whether he had made a mistake in turning professional so early, especially when he discovered that he had been trolled on Twitter, with somebody implying that Wolff was overrated. “There's always people who are going to go out there and put you down a notch,” he said. “There's always people who will go out there and tell you you're the best player in the world. I think that kind of motivated me a little bit, but at the end of the day it's all talk and what you believe is the most important thing and who you have around you is the most important.”
Wolff’s eagle at the last meant he signed for a 65 and a 72-hole total of 263, 21 under par. He became the youngest winner on the PGA Tour since Jordan Spieth in 2013. Wolff is also only the third player after Tiger Woods and Ben Crenshaw to win an NCAA individual championship and a PGA Tour title in the same year.
DeChambeau and Morikawa ended the week in a tie for second place.
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