Daly wins Insperity Invitational in dramatic fashion
Claims first PGA TOUR Champions victory one year after making his debut
May 07, 2017
By Bryan Mullen , PGATOUR.COM
- May 07, 2017
- John Daly is known for his distance, but his putting was the key during his victory at The Woodlands CC. (Darren Carroll/Getty Images)
THE WOODLANDS, Texas – One year ago, John Daly made his PGA TOUR Champions debut. And it came at the Insperity Invitational.
He celebrated the one-year anniversary with his first victory.
Daly shot a final-round 3-under 69 and finished 14 under on the week to win by one shot over Tommy Armour III and Kenny Perry at The Woodlands Country Club.
“It’s just awesome," said Daly, who wore pants in the style of the American flag on Sunday. "I want to let all my sponsors know that I love them and thank them for everything.”
Daly entered Sunday with a 1-shot lead over Perry but quickly built on it. He eagled the first hole, then added a birdie on No. 3 to extend his lead to 3 shots. But before Daly made the turn, Tommy Armour III went on a tear and grabbed part of the lead at 13 under overall.
Daly later made bogeys on Nos. 16 and 17, but Armour and Perry couldn't apply much pressure.
“Nothing happened for me down the stretch," Armour III said. "I bogeyed Nos. 17 and 18. Hit it in the water at 17 and hit it in the trees on 18 and made those two bogeys. What can I do. I kind of threw away the tournament.”
Daly was able to play the tough finishing hole conservatively to secure the win.
“These finishing holes are so hard," Daly said. "I didn’t hit the irons very good these last two days. I drove the ball tremendously with my Vertical Groove driver. And I putted so good. I just kind of hung in there and did the best I could. It wasn’t pretty at the end, but I got it done. That’s all that matters.”
As he strolled up the 18th fairway with a likely victory in the books, Daly bent down and kissed a huge Arnold Palmer umbrella that tournament workers painted on the grass.
"Some guys come out here and win right off the bat, get the monkey off their back, but now I can say I'm a champion on the PGA TOUR Champions," Daly said. "It's really cool and hopefully I can keep this confidence going."
After the winning putt dropped, fellow competitor Esteban Toledo was one of those who showered Daly with champagne.
"I look at these guys, a lot of these guys ‑‑ we're all friends out here," Daly said. "We're big competitors, but we like to have a good time. I look at this Tour kind of an older European Tour. The guys do that in Europe as well. I've got a lot of great friends out here. We've played a lot of golf over the years together, and we love hanging out and playing golf.
"This Tour, they'll go out and have a beer with you or they will go to dinner with you, and it won't just be one or two families, it will be six or seven. We all stick together. There is a lot of love and friendship on this Tour."
Daly’s previous victory came at the 2004 Buick Invitational where he defeated Luke Donald and Chris Riley in a playoff. The last time he held the sole possession of the lead entering a final round was at the 2005 WGC-American Express Championship, but he lost in a playoff to Tiger Woods.
This time, however, he held off the field and provided a widely popular victory for the crowds.
Entering this week, Daly’s best finish on PGA TOUR Champions was a T11 at last year’s DICK’S Sporting Goods Open.
Daly is a 5-time PGA TOUR winner and two-time major champion. He claimed the PGA Championship in 1991 and The Open Championship in 1995.
John Daly wins at Insperity in dramatic fashion
John Daly, 68-65-69 – 202 (-14)
• Wins his first victory on PGA TOUR Champions and it comes in his 22nd start on Tour.
• Claims a victory in a PGA TOUR event for the first time since winning the Buick Invitational in 2004, a span of 13 years, 2 months and 22 days.
• Earns a first-place check for $322,500 which moves him into eighth place in the season-long Charles Schwab Cup race.
• Earns a two-year exemption to the Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai, the season-opening event.
• With his win, he becomes the 12th member of PGA TOUR Champions to have won on all three Tours.
• He becomes the sixth player to gain his first victory on PGA TOUR Champions here, joining the previous two winners – Jesper Parnevik (2016) and Ian Woosnam (2015). Other first-time winners here include Bernhard Langer (2007), Brad Faxon (2011) and Esteban Toledo (2013).
• Made his debut at this event on May 6th a year ago, shooting a 2-under-par 70 and eventually finishing T17.
• Had four top-10 finishes in 15 starts at the Shell Houston Open including a second-place finish in 2005 when he lost in a playoff with Vijay Singh.
• Resides in Dardanelle, Arkansas.
• Kevin Sutherland made it nine straight top-10 finishes dating back to last year when he finished fourth today. He rebounded from an opening-round even-par 72 with rounds of 66-67 on the weekend.
• Tommy Armour III enjoyed his best finish (T2) since he was second here six years ago in the rain-shortened Insperity Championship, an event won by Brad Faxon.
• This marked the second time in the last three years that Kenny Perry finished as a runner-up. He was T2 in 2015 when he lost in a playoff along with Tom Lehman to Ian Woosnam.
• The Insperity Invitational has now had a first-time winner in each of the last three years. Ian Woosnam (2015) and Jesper Parnevik (2016) were the others along with John Daly.
• Bernhard Langer, the current Charles Schwab Cup leader, remained in the lead with $779,651 with Fred Couples second with $631,233, a margin of $148,418.
• Defending champion Jesper Parnevik finished T22 in defense of his 2016 title.
• Scott Parel’s streak of consecutive holes without a three-putt ended at 268 when he three-putted on No. 8. That is the longest streak on Tour this year.
• Bob Tway’s T7 finish was his best effort since he was T6 at the 2014 Senior Open Championship.
• John Daly and Tommy Armour III led all players with 17 birdies.
• Jay Haas’ fifth-place finish was his third top-10 finish in his last four starts.
• The field scoring average was 71.967 for the event, the lowest scoring average for the event since 2012 when the field averaged 71.941. Sunday’s average was 71.818, the lowest final-round average in tournament annals.
• The most difficult hole for the tournament was No. 17 with an average score of 4.201 (+.201). Nos. 14 and 18 ranked second overall.
• Willie Wood withdrew prior to the start of the round with the flu.