By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- It was a different par-3 -- the 13th -- that cost Paul Goydos this time at THE PLAYERS Championship.
Goydos bogeyed the 149-yard hole, three-putting from 45 1/2 feet on his way to a 3-under 69 Sunday to finish third in a tournament he nearly won three years ago until dumping his tee shot on the par-3 17th in the water during a playoff with Sergio Garcia.
If it’s any consolation, Goydos didn’t lose this tournament, K.J. Choi won it. The 40-year-old Korean finished regulation two strokes ahead of Goydos before beating David Toms in a playoff.
“I'm actually quite pleased with the way I played today,” Goydos said. “Quite frankly, it's a tough course.
“The 13th hole really was a good number. I hit a perfect distance, and just, you know, maybe gunned it a little right to avoid the water, and it just didn't catch the wind there.”
Goydos bounced back with a birdie on the par-5 16th and it looked like he might get some revenge on the diabolical 17th when he hit his tee shot to just inside 12 feet. The ball never took the slope, however, and Goydos missed the birdie putt.
“Has any ball ever stopped on that hill? Ever, ever?,” Goydos said. “I only nudged the ball and it rolled right down into the hole. So it was pretty funky.”
Goydos had little else to be disappointed with this week.
He tied for first in fairways hit and was second in greens in regulation and recorded his best finish of the season.
Goydos also felt a lot more comfortable coming down the stretch this time around. In 2008, he mis-clubbed, using a wedge on the 17th hole, and came up short to lose to Garcia. This time he hit a near-perfect 9-iron.
That experience in 2008 also aided him here this week.
“It did [feel similar to 2008] from a how‑I‑hit‑it standpoint, absolutely,” Goydos said. “I really drove the ball well this week. I hit the ball well. I was really happy with how I hit it. I made a couple of putts, which is something I haven't been doing all year.”