March 18 2012
PALM HARBOR, Fla. -- The final round of the Transitions Championship is complete with Luke Donald winning on the first hole of sudden death. See below for updates, news and notes from the Copperhead Course at Innisbrook throughout the day. Leave your comments below.
PLAYOFF UPDATES (All times ET): DONALD WINS
6:35 p.m.: With Jim Furyk 40-plus feet from the hole, he went first and did well to hit it within a few feet, but it wasn’t enough. Sang-Moon Bae went next, missing from just outside 18 feet. Robert Garrigus, who was slightly farther than Luke Donald, slid his just past the hole to open the door for Donald. The Brit took advantage, too, sinking the 6 1/2 footer for birdie to win. Donald never missed from inside 10 feet all day and with the win goes back to No. 1.
6:25 p.m.: Only two of the four hit the fairway off the tee on 18 -- Robert Garrigus was the longest at 313 yards, a good 30 yards past everyone else -- but Luke Donald, the shortest off the tee, hit what may end up being the best shot, sticking his shot from 157 yards out of the rough to just 6 1/2 feet. Bae hit what looked to be a good shot, but it spun back to 18 feet from the hole. Furyk followed by hitting his approach from the rough to 42 feet, while Garrigus stuck his wedge shot to 7 feet. Advantage Donald and Garrigus.
6:15 p.m.: Here’s a look at how all four players have played the 18th hole, the first hole of this four-way playoff, this week: Robert Garrigus (even par with two pars, one birdie, one bogey), Luke Donald (even with four pars), Sang-Moon Bae (even with four pars), Jim Furyk (1 over with a bogey and three pars). Bae will hit first, followed by Donald, Furyk and Garrigus. Of the four, only Furyk has won in extra holes on the PGA TOUR.
LIVE UPDATES (All times ET)
6:05 p.m.: We’re headed to a four-man playoff with Jim Furyk, who parred the 18th, Sang-Moon Bae, Luke Donald and Robert Garrigus. The last four-man playoff on the PGA TOUR was at the 2007 Honda Classic.
5:55 p.m.: Should we go to a playoff here, it would be the first in Transitions Championship history. The playoff holes would be Nos. 18, 16, 17 and 18.
5:45 p.m.: Ernie Els, who led most of the day, is now done. He finished bogey-bogey to come crashing in at 12 under after missing a 4-footer on the 18th hole to eliminate any chance of winning with two others already in at 13 under. Afterward, Els was understandably despondent. “I pulled my second shot left [on 18] , didn’t have a great lie on my third and pulled my putt,” Els told NBC afterward.
5:40 p.m.: Add Luke Donald’s name to the clubhouse lead with Robert Garrigus. Donald made five birdies, no bogeys and parred his last seven holes to shoot a 66 to get to finish at 13 under. Now he’ll await his fate while everyone else finishes. “I’m hoping it’s enough for a playoff,” Donald told NBC. “I gave myself a chance. I’m happy with my position.”
5:25 p.m.: There’s now a six-way tie for the lead -- Robert Garrigus, Luke Donald, Ernie Els, Ken Duke, Sang-Moon Bae and Jim Furyk -- at 13 under after Els missed the green right on the par-3 17th then missed a 25-footer to save par. Furyk has the longest to go with three holes to go as he was in the last group.
5:10 p.m.: Another hole, another missed opportunity for Ernie Els, who missed left on a 4 1/2-foot putt for birdie that would have moved him to 15 under and two shots clear. Fortunately for Els, he still leads by one but Luke Donald, Sang-Moon Bae, Ken Duke and Jim Furyk are all right behind him.
4:50 p.m.: Ernie Els left himself 18 feet for birdie on the par-5 14th after a poor chip shot, and he missed the putt to stay at 14 under, while Jim Furyk dropped a shot with a bogey on the par-3 13th. Els failed to birdie either par-5 on the back nine and you have to wonder if that will cost him. Meanwhile, Luke Donald is still stuck on 13 under and running out of holes with only three left. Earlier, Scott Piercy said he thought 15 under would probably win the tournament, and he might be right.
4:35 p.m.: Ernie Els is trying to win for the first time in two years, while Jim Furyk is trying to win here for the second time in three years. Both are tied for the lead at 14 under, but Luke Donald and Sang-Moon Bae are both just one back. Robert Garrigus is also the new clubhouse leader at 13 under after a birdie on the 18th. That means Scott Piercy, who shot 62 this morning, is alread on his way home after finishing his week at 12 under.
3:55 p.m.: As well as Ernie Els has played -- 5 under through his first 11 holes -- he made a mistake on the par-5 11th, where he left his second shot with an iron in a greenside bunker, pitched out to 8 feet and missed the birdie putt. Els still has a share of the lead at 13 under, but there’s company with Luke Donald, Sang-Moon Bae and Jim Furyk all at the number right now. Another five players are within three shots and still out on the golf course.
3:40 p.m.: It’s been a wild day of scoring and now Ernie Els and Jim Furyk are tied for the lead at 13 under after Els rolled in a 14-footer on No. 10 for his third straight birdie. Els is not yet in the field for the Masters and a win here would certainly take care of that. Meanwhile, Jeff Overton and Luke Donald are 5 and 4 under on their respective rounds and only a shot back as a result. Should Donald win, he would move back to No. 1 in the world. As for overnight co-leader Retief Goosen, he faded right from the start. Goosen, who is playing with a bad back, hit his opening tee shot into the trees right on the par-5 first and went on to make double bogey. He’s since added two more bogeys and has tumbled into a tie for 24th.
2:50 p.m.: It didn’t take long for someone to surpass Scott Piercy’s clubhouse lead. Sang-Moon Bae, who is a rookie on the PGA TOUR after securing his card via q-school last December, is now one shot clear at 13 under after a birdie on the par-5 fifth. It was Bae’s third birdie of the round, and he’s owned the first five holes here playing them in a collective 9 under this week with 10 birdies and just one bogey. Jim Furyk got to 13 under earlier after an eagle on the par-5 first, but he gave a stroke back with a bogey on No. 2, where it took him three strokes to get down from 50 feet left of the flag.
2:05 p.m.: It's unusual to be talking about a clubhouse leader before Sunday's final group walks off the first green but Scott Piercy's closing 9-under 62 was anything but ordinary. At 12 under, he's alone atop the Transitions Championship leaderboard. Piercy, who picked up his maiden PGA TOUR victory at last year's Reno-Tahoe Open, had seven birdies on the front nine at Innisbrook, turning in 29. He added two more birdies on the home stretch without giving a shot away to reach the clubhouse in the lead.
1:40 p.m.: So much for that. Scott Piercy just took the lead by himself, making his ninth birdie of the day, this time on the par-4 16th -- the hardest hole on the course -- where he rolled in a 19-footer to get to 12 under for the week and one shot clear of Retief Goosen and Jim Furyk. Webb Simpson is also in contention at 10 under after birdies on his first three holes.
1:30 p.m.: Retief Goosen and Jim Furyk have yet to tee off, but they already have company atop the leaderboard. Scott Piercy just made his eighth birdie of the day, this one on the par-5 14th to get to 11 under and even with Furyk and Goosen. It’s not the first time someone has gone low here this week. In the opening round, Padraig Harrington set a course record with a 10-under 61.
1 p.m.: Scott Piercy threatened the lead when he went out in 29 to move to 10 under and within one of co-leaders Retief Goosen and Jim Furyk, but he’s been stuck on that number ever since. Piercy opened his back nine with four straight pars, never really coming close to making a birdie save for the par-5 11th, where he missed a 14-footer. He’s not the only player to move up, though. Chris DiMarco birdied his first two holes to get to 9 under and within two of the lead. Ditto Webb Simpson.