November 17 2013
By Fred Albers, PGATOUR.COM Correspondent
PLAYA DEL CARMEN, Mexico -- When you post a four-shot win, I don’t know if there is a single turning point in a tournament but Harris English’s birdie putt on the 11th green was huge on Sunday afternoon.
Everything seemed to be in Robert Karlsson's favor. He chipped in for eagle at the fifth hole and then chipped in for birdie at the eighth.
Those could have been huge momentum swings but English remained patient. He racked up birdies at 3-5-7-8-10 and then rolled home a 40-footer at the 11th.
That birdie was huge, not just because it gave English the lead but because Karlsson was suddenly the chaser.
All week long he had held onto the lead and suddenly Karlsson was the one doing the chasing. His body language immediately changed and so did the quality of his shots.
Karlsson bogeyed the 12th then hit drives into hazards at both the 13th and 14th. It happened so quickly; from leader to chaser.
That birdie putt on the 11th hole did more than just give English the lead; it determined the winner.
Old friend: English did not really need a new putter. He could putt well with a broomstick, but English made a change this week to what he called "an old friend." He switched back to a Ping Hohum putter he had used in college, a mallet version. English was 14th on the PGA TOUR in strokes gained-putting in 2013 so this should not come as a surprise, but he one-putted six of seven greens between the seventh and 13th holes. That stretch took him from two shots out of the lead into a four-stroke advantage. Old friends are the best friends.
Routine: Karlsson’s problems have been so well-documented that there is not need to hash out the injuries and mental fatigue that led to his withdraw from the 2012 British Open with a case of the full-game yips. Karlsson seemed to be in full recovery mode for most of the week and said he had sped up his pre-shot routine eliminating his "paralysis by analysis." He was a speedy golfer in the final round until losing the lead, then noticeably slowed. It was not a complete meltdown. Karlsson actually hit two bad shots with his drives into lateral hazards at both the 13th and 14th holes. Those loose shots resulted in a bogey and double bogey while English played the holes in one under.
Tough hole: The 16th hole was one mean par 4 the entire week but it was venomous on Sunday. With a back-hole location that brought water into play, The 482-yard hole gave up just a single birdie in the final round. Kevin Na was the only player to conquer the 16th. When the best players in the world record just a single birdie, you know it’s a tough hole.
Fred Albers is a course reporter for SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio. For more information on SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio, click here