Jeff Maggert made one of five birdies at the 18th hole on Sunday at THE PLAYERS.
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- Sergio Garcia wasn't the only player who saw his chance to win THE PLAYERS Championship dissolve at the 17th hole on Sunday afternoon.
Jeff Maggert was tied for the lead at 12 under when he stepped to the tee at the 137-yard par 3. The 49-year-old, whose third and last PGA TOUR win came at the 2006 FedEx St. Jude Classic, chose a 9-iron for the dicey and delicate shot to an island green.
He caught the ball thin, though, and the shot came up short, splashing into the pond that claims 10,000 balls of less significance each year.
"When I hit my shot, I was yelling at it to go, because I thought it had a chance to get up on that little ridge there," Maggert recalled. "I didn't really think the wind was blowing hard enough to keep it short of the green. I didn't take a real aggressive line. I was just trying to hit it right on the top and maybe let it take the slope down.
"... It looked like it was close, but close but no cigar."
Maggert, who was playing in his 20th PLAYERS Championship this week, had stepped to the 17th tee 67 times in competition. So he knew what to expect. He knew what could happen, too.
"You just live with it," he said. "You know it's going to be a test of nerves, and you just go up there and try to hit a good shot. At the end of the tournament when things are on the line, it's the ultimate risk-reward. So you've just got to get up there and try to hit a good shot and get out of there with a par."
Maggert didn't, but he rebounded well. Shaking off the double bogey, he hit a brilliant approach to the 18th hole and rolled in a 3-footer for one of just five birdies made there on Sunday. As a result, Maggert ended up in a tie for second -- his best finish of the season and his first top-10 since he tied for fifth at last year's Humana Challenge in partnership with the Clinton Foundation, a span of 37 events.
No one played better on the weekend than the Texan, who shot 8 under for the final two rounds and closed with a 70 on Sunday. He stayed patient throughout the week, and he hopes to build on this success as he heads back to the Lone Star State to play in the HP Byron Nelson Championship.
"I felt like I executed pretty well, and, yeah, just disappointed to come up short," Maggert said. "But it's a funny thing about this game. You put it behind you, you go to next week, and you get up on the first tee on Thursday and you start all over. If you're worried about what happened four days prior, then you're not going to last very long out here.
"You look forward and look to the next shot, the next hole, and the next tournament."