Luke List ranked first in driving distance at the Humana Challenge, averaging 321.8 yards on eight measured drives. (Petersen/Getty Images)
|Category||Winner: Brian Gay
|Driving Distance||279.9 (75th)||Luke List (321.8 yards)||T65|
|Driving Accuracy||81.48% (T2)||Kevin Stadler (83.33%)||T27
|Strokes Gained-Putting||.899 (25th)||Bryce Molder (3.383)
|Greens in Regulation||83.33% (T4)||Jerry Kelly (87.50%)||T47|
|Proximity to Hole||31' 3" (42nd)||Tag Ridings (21' 7")||T56|
|Scrambling||83.33% (4th)||Carl Pettersson (89.47%)||T47|
WEEKLY PERFORMANCE STATS ARCHIVE
Week 2: Sony Open in Hawaii
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
LA QUINTA, Calif. -- All he needed to do was cover the 83 feet between his ball mark and the cup in two putts rather than three.
If Charles Howell III had been able to make that birdie rather than take three putts for par at the 72nd hole he would have ended a five-year victory drought at the Humana Challenge in partnership with the Clinton Foundation.
Instead, Howell found himself in a playoff with Brian Gay and David Lingmerth. He matched Gay's birdie on the first extra hole but saw his chances all but evaporate when his approach at the second landed in the back greenside bunker.
Howell blasted out to 12 feet and proceeded to miss the putt for par. Gay, though, only had 5 feet for birdie and the win, and he did it in style.
Still, Howell couldn't be too disappointed. He didn't even think he had a chance to win until he hit his second shot at the 18th hole. Not when he went into the final round tied for second and trailing Scott Stallings by five strokes.
"Quite honestly, going into the day, I didn't really think that anybody had a chance apart from Scott," Howell said. "He's won before, he hits it long enough to take advantage of the par 5s. At 22 under, I figured if he shoots 6, 7 under, he's really not catchable.
"So then to have a chance there in regulation, that's where I really would like that one back, that three-putt there. But it happens and once you get a playoff, anything can happen. So here we are."
The runner-up finish was the 14th of Howell's career. It follows a tie for third at the Sony Open in Hawaii, though, so Howell feels like the attention he's put on his short game during the offseason may be paying dividends.
"I'm thrilled with the start of the season," he said. "I would have taken that for a Christmas present wrapped up nicely and had it."
At the same time, Howell knows there is work to be done. He has to figure out a better way to close out a tournament. He needs to make the crucial putt or come up with the clutch shot to get the over the hump.
"I mean, like last week, Russell Henley shooting 24 under, I never saw that out there at all and I finished third," Howell said. "I didn't really ever have a chance to win that tournament. But here, having had a good chance there, if you just two-putt the last hole, yeah, I just need to keep working and keep doing a better job of closing those out."
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
LA QUINTA, Calif. -- Even with a five-stroke lead, Scott Stallings didn't feel comfortable. He knew PGA West would surrender low scores in the final round of the Humana Challenge in partnership with the Clinton Foundation, and he was right.
Stallings withstood the pressure, though. That is, until he aimed that 6-iron toward the flagstick at No. 18, then watched disconsolately as the ball veered left toward the rocks beside the green and trickled into the water.
At the time, Stallings was tied for the lead with Brian Gay, David Lingmerth and Charles Howell III. All was not lost. He took his drop beside the green but to add insult to injury the ball landed in some unwelcome deposits left by migrating Canada geese. Still, Stallings wouldn't make excuses.
"I shouldn't have been there in the first place," he said. "I know that. Everyone knows that."
So Stallings chipped onto the green about 9 feet past the hole. He still had a chance to make the playoff if he could hole the putt -- but it wasn't to be, and Stallings knew he had only himself to blame.
"Coming down the stretch on the 72nd hole, you can't make mistakes like that," he said. "And it stinks, but it's something that I'll definitely learn from."
Looking back, Stallings didn't see a turning point exactly. He wasn't nervous, and he never lost the lead until the final hole. The Palmer Course can be generous, though, and it seemed like everyone but Stallings, who shot 70, was taking advantage.
"Anyone who thinks they're going to run away with it is fooling themselves," Stallings said. "I never ever once said I was running away with it. I was very fortunate to have a very big lead, but it is what it is.
"I played good for three days and it's kind of weird in this kind of marathon, low-round tournament, you're going to kind of catch a skid here and there. And the person that survives the best, wins. And unfortunately, I just hit a bad shot."
Even so, Stallings saw positives. He and his new caddy, Frank Williams, working together for just the seventh event, have formed a bond. He's never before played well on the West Coast, either, so this week in the Coachella Valley was a momentum-builder.
"It's disappointing, but the fact that at the end of the day, I get to play this game for a living," Stallings said. "You're going to have your good days and your bad days, but if you live and die with every shot out there, your career is not going to last very long out there."
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
LA QUINTA, Calif. -- Phil Mickelson was disappointed that he didn't have a chance to win the Humana Challenge in partnership with the Clinton Foundation for the third time on Sunday.
Shoot, he had to battle just to survive the 54-hole cut -- making birdie on two of his last three holes Saturday to assure himself of a tee time in the final round. At the same time, though, Mickelson did see the kind of steady improvement that sent him back home to San Diego for the Farmers Insurance Open in a positive frame of mind.
"I was rusty starting the year, and I had a great four days here where I can work on my game with perfect weather and wonderful golf courses, where I could build some momentum," Mickelson said. "... I feel a lot more confident in my game. I feel like I'm starting to play well, hit some putts on line. ...
"So hopefully I'll be able to make a run on the weekend here next week, because that's what's exciting, is having a chance to win. Although I played well, I played better as the week wore on, not having an opportunity on Sunday, that's not fun.'
Mickelson opened his 2013 campaign with a 72 on a day when he called his putting "atrocious." But he rebounded with a 67 Friday and threw out a pair of 66s on the weekend -- the latter of which he called a "pretty easy round of 6 under.
"I hit the ball well and didn't have too many big misses," Mickelson said. "I feel like I had pretty good control of my ball off the tee, distance control with the irons. Hit a lot of good, solid putts, but left a lot of shots out there still. And I'll have to work on that heading into the next two weeks."
Mickelson tends to set the tone for his season on the West Coast each year. He has won 21 of his 40 titles before the PGA TOUR heads to the Florida -- and defends the last of those in two weeks at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.
To continue to prosper, though, Mickelson says he needs to get into more of a "scoring" mode. He doesn't want to let shots slip away like he did on several occasions this week.
"I can't be three-putting putts for eagle, which I did three or four times this week,' Mickelson said. "I can't be not getting up and down shots that are pretty easy to get up and down. Little strokes here and there I can't be throwing those away if I want to be in contention. But the game itself feels really good."
After a pair of weekend 66s, Phil Mickelson is building confidence. (Dunn/Getty Images)
By Fred Albers, PGA TOUR.COM Correspondent
LA QUINTA, Calif. -- The par-5 closing hole always seems to provide drama and it certainly did on Sunday. With a chance to win the tournament, both Charles Howell III and Brian Gay missed eagle opportunities and then could not make their birdie putts. Scott Stallings yanked a 6-iron into the water to make bogey and miss the playoff. The 18th is a wonderful “risk-reward” hole that can expose a player’s nerve.
Warm up: Scott Stallings has an unusual warm-up routine on the driving range. He never hits the same club twice in a row. Most players will start with the wedge, work their way up to the driver and then finish the warm-up with a few more wedges. Stallings works through his bag as if he’s playing an actual round of golf, hitting at specific targets with specific trajectories. Ben Hogan use to work his way through the bag, hitting clubs in the same order he would during the upcoming round.
Hockey: David Lingmerth showed his Swedish heritage with a little hockey. Before the playoff began, Lingmerth turned an iron upside down and used it like a hockey stick, flipping left-handed wrist shots at his caddie with remarkable accuracy.
Short game: Harvey Penick, the great teacher from Austin, warned students to never believe an opponent with a good short game was lucky to win. There is never anything lucky about a good short game. Penick might have been talking about Brian Gay. Gay was 176th on TOUR in driving distance last season but he was also 6th in strokes gained-putting, second in scrambling and fifth in sand saves. He used that short game to make nine birdies in the first 13 holes to take the lead.
Streaky: Scott Stallings played 60 holes without making a bogey and his first hiccup came on a 23-inch putt. Stallings hit a 188-yard 8-iron into the seventh green and missed his 16-foot birdie putt. He then missed the par putt from inside of two feet for his first bogey of the week. Lee Trevino is the last PGA TOUR player to go bogey-free for an entire tournament and win. The Merry Mex was mistake-free in 1974.
Grip: David Lingmerth has a strong grip and usually flights the ball low with a right-to-left ball flight. All that worked against him in the playoff. A seemingly perfect drive, actually resulted in a sidehill-uphill lie which promotes a hook. The combination of a strong grip and uphill lie led to a big hook and his ball splashed into the water left of 18, essentially ending his chances to win.
All-American: Americans simply dominated at Humana. Of the top 22 players, 21 of them were Americans. David Lingmerth was the only non-American to finish inside the Top 20. Granted, there was a limited presence to begin with as only 39 foreign-born players entered the tournament. That said, Americans still dominated this week.
Contrast: The PGA TOUR is filled with different swings and there were two great examples on Sunday. Brian Gay has very little wrist cock and does not generate much clubhead speed, resulting in limited distance. Scott Stallings sets the club and holds that angle through impact creating lots of lag and consequently clubhead speed. Gay’s average ball speed in 2012 was 156.79. Stallings was 179.63.
Most improved: Phil Mickelson must be full of confidence headed to his hometown of San Diego for The Farmers Insurance Open. He started slowly with a 72 on Thursday then rallied for rounds of 67-66-66. Mickelson made one bogey on the weekend.
Fred Albers is a course reporter for SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio. For more information on SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio, click here.
Brian Gay made up a six-shot deficit in the final round and then beat Charles Howell III and David Lingmerth to win the Humana Challenge in partnership with the Clinton Foundation. It is Gay's fourth career PGA TOUR victory.
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By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
LA QUINTA, Calif. -- Turns out, four rounds wasn't enough to determine the winner of the Humana Challenge in partnership with the Clinton Foundation.
So we're off to a playoff between David Lingmerth, Charles Howell III and Brian Gay. Scott Stallings had started the final 18 holes with a five-stroke advantage but he missed the playoff when he hit his second shot at the par-5 18th hole into the water and wound up making bogey.
Gay missed an 8-footer for birdie at the 18th hole that as it ended up would have given him the lead alone. Howell had an 88-foot eagle putt but ended up three-putting for par to join Gay and Lingmerth at 25 under.
Lingerth birdied the 18th hole for his 62. Gay shot 63 and Howell, who was tied for second at the start of the day, had a 64.
Stallings had a chance to join the playoff even after bouncing off the rocks into the water. He chipped 9 feet by, though, and missed the putt.
"I just hit a bad shot at a bad time," Stallings said.
The playoff starts at the 18th hole and moves to No. 10 and back to the 18th, if necessary.
FIRST PLAYOFF HOLE: No. 18
All three players found the fairway off the tee.
Gay hit first and found the rough beside the green on the par 5.
Howell put his second shot cleanly on the putting surface about 20 feet from the pin.
Lingmerth, playing in just his second PGA TOUR event, hit his second shot well left into the water. He took his drop and came up short of the green.
Gay's third shot settled about 4 feet from the pin. Lingmerth was unable to hole his fifth shot.
Howell's eagle putt stopped about 2 feet short on a similar line to Gay's upcoming effort. Both players make their putts and head to the 10th hole.
SECOND PLAYOFF HOLE: No. 10
Gay finds the fairway off the tee while Howell is in the right rough, just over a pair of fairway bunkers.
Howell's second shot hits the green but goes into the back bunker. Gay's approach, on the other hand, settles 5 feet from the pin.
Howell blasts out about 12 feet past the hole. He misses the par putt, so now Gay has two putts to win.
Gay makes the birdie putt and wins for the first time in four years. The win is the fourth of Gay's career.
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
LA QUINTA, Calif. -- The last time Kevin Chappell had played in a PGA TOUR event he was trying to preserve his playing privileges for the 2013 campaign.
Chappell came into the season-ending Children's Miracle Network Hospitals Classic last fall ranked No. 123rd on the money list. He ended up tying for 34th, dropping two spots and keeping his card by a mere $1,809,
Chappell made his 2013 debut a much more memorable experience when he closed with a career-low 62 at the Humana Challenge in partnership with the Clinton Foundation. He started on the back nine and flirted with the magic 59, making 11 birdies but three-putting his final hole.
Chappell was rewarded with a top-10 finish, his first since he tied for 10th at last year's U.S. Open.
"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," Chappell said. "It's good to get those nerves going again and a nice way to break off the rust."
Chappell, who started the day 10 strokes off the lead, said golf's Holy Grail entered his mind when he came to the 18th hole -- where David Duval made that memorable eagle to shoot 59 in his 1999 victory.
"I hit it on David Duval's plaque on 18," Chappel;l said. "And I said, Well, David Duval made it from here. I said to my caddie, I probably hit it to right where he hit that putt from. The pin's a little bit further left. And then I hit a mediocre eagle putt, but I tapped it in for birdie."
"I knew it would be tough having to make birdie on the ninth hole to shoot 59 or even hole it from the fairway just because it's a tough finishing hole, but it was in there. But it never was the goal. I just wanted to keep hitting good shots and stick to my process and see what it added up to."
Chappell made 11 birdies and the lone bogey at No. 9. His previous low on TOUR was a 65.
LA QUINTA, Calif. -- We now have a four-way tie at the top of the leaderboard after Scott Stallings' bogey at the par-4 16th hole.
Stallings, who started the final round with a five-stroke lead, is deadlocked with David Lingmerth and Brian Gay, who have finished their rounds, and Charles Howell III who is about to tee off on the par-5 18th hole.
Gay, who was on the fringe of the 18th green in two, eventually missed an 8-footer that would have given him sole possession of the lead. He shot 63. Lingmerth birdied the 18th to shoot 62 and get to 25 under.