By: Fred Albers, PGA TOUR.COM Correspondent
SAN MARTIN, Calif. -- Jonas Blixt won the tournament with his putting. He had putting rounds of 25-28-27-25, for a tournament-best total of 105. Blixt finished first in strokes gained-putting and was ranked third in SGP coming into the week. He did not have a three-putt all week. Blixt says his Yes! putter is like a “nuclear weapon.”
Fan club: Blixt had a half-dozen fans walk the round with him wearing Swedish yellow ribbons, with “Jonas” written on white T-shirts. They repeatedly shouted out “Yoonas” throughout the round and showered Blixt with champagne following his win. His brother had planned to miss the final round because he had tickets to the 49ers game but opted to support Jonas instead.
Inconsistent: John Mallinger made a wonderful charge on the final nine holes but was too inconsistent to win. He had just two pars on the front nine and one of those was a chip-in. Mallinger battled back to within one shot of the lead but laid up at the drivable par-4 17th and missed a nine-foot putt.
Setup: The par 3s were a handful in the final round. There were three that measured more than 200 yards and the 11th as a meaty 249. The course was much faster on Sunday with greens rejecting approaches that were not struck squarely.
Colorful: You had no problem picking out Blixt in the fairway. He wore bright orange shoes, belt and shirt. It was “hunters orange" and resembled a fly-fishing strike indicator while walking the fairways.
Learning curve: CordeValle is a difficult course to learn. It sits down in a valley and there are several “sideboards” on the green complexes that will funnel a ball to the cup, but it takes time to learn. All putts break toward the valley floor, however that goes against some of the reads players and caddies studied.
Spiked: Tim Petrovic thought he had made it. He thought his 28-foot birdie putt was going into the cup on the 18th hole. Just three feet from the center, the ball caught a spike mark and spun off line, catching the edge of the cup instead of the center. A birdie would have gotten Petrovic into a playoff.
Gutsy: Blixt’s most impressive shot of the day came at 17. His drive went over the green and was sitting on a downhill lie in deep rough. He committed to making a full swing with his sand wedge and the ball floated out of the rough, then ran seven feet below the cup. Blixt made the putt to take the lead. It’s a gutsy play to take a full swing with a sand wedge coming out of the rough to a green that runs downhill and with water looming over the green. Very gutsy.
Attack: Blixt said he had one thought on the golf course: Attack. He came out and did exactly that, hitting it inside of three feet on the first two holes. That aggression also led to bogeys at the third and fourth, but the philosophy served him well all the way through the 18th.
Fred Albers is a course reporter for SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio. For more information on SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio, click here .