Toms' clutch putting carries him to U.S. Senior Open title
July 01, 2018
By Associated Press
- July 01, 2018
- David Toms' win at the U.S. Senior Open is his first PGA TOUR Champions victory. (Robert Laberge/Getty Images)
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) -- Sooner or later, somebody was bound to make a long putt at the Broadmoor.
Maybe two, even.
David Toms did just that Sunday -- and not too much afterward was hoisting the trophy for the U.S. Senior Open.
On a course where the greens perplexed the entire field for four straight days, Toms rolled in a 15-footer for a go-ahead birdie on No. 16, then coaxed in a downhill, 20-foot slider to save par after driving into a fairway bunker on the 530-yard, par-4 17th.
Those were two of the 26 putts he needed to get the win -- best in the field over the final round. The three runners-up had more typical numbers: 29, 31 and 31
"This week, the putting was so difficult that I got into every single putt," Toms said. "I didn't get frustrated because I knew everyone was struggling."
He shot even-par 70 and finished at 3-under 277 to win for the first time on either the senior or regular tours in more than seven years. Toms finished a shot ahead of Miguel Angel Jimenez, Tim Petrovic and Jerry Kelly in an all-day dog fight; five players, including Paul Goydos, were tied for the lead when Toms and Kelly teed off on the 14th hole.
All had their chances.
Petrovic (70) hit an approach to 4 feet on 18 to make birdie and get to 2 under. His approach shot that hit the 15th green, but rolled off and 30 yards down the hill, cost him a bogey that could've been the difference. Asked if he ever figured out the poa annua greens that consistently break away from the Will Rogers Shrine that towers above the course on Cheyenne Mountain, Petrovic answered, simply: "That would be `No.'"
Jimenez (69) made his first long putt of the week -- a 16-footer -- to also birdie No. 18. Hours earlier, though, he hit his tee shot above the hole on the par-3 eighth and needed four to get down for double-bogey.
"Normally, I can read the lines, but I don't know what happened this week," Jimenez said. "I didn't hole anything all week."
Kelly, who led after each of the first three rounds, struggled with the wind and his distance control all week but stayed in it until the last shot. He shot 72 and didn't make a putt of over 12 feet over the entire tournament.
"It always comes down to those putts," Kelly said. "David, he makes birdie on 16 and that par putt on 17, I had a front-row seat. I rose my putter up (to celebrate with Toms). That was just a pure putt and that's -- he's a major champion.
The way Toms locked up this major looked a lot like the way he did it for his other one -- the 2001 PGA Championship. It was at Atlanta Athletic Club where his smart layup and par save on the 72nd hole helped him preserve a one-shot win over Phil Mickelson.
This time, Toms found trouble on the 71st hole.
Moments after his go-ahead birdie, his tee shot rolled to the front edge of a fairway bunker, just beneath an upcropping of grass. Toms chose to lay up, steadying his left foot on the grass, his right foot in the bunker and popping the ball out to 98 yards from the pin. His third shot landed past the cup and did not spin -- leaving him the tricky downhill 20-footer that he put into the back of the cup.
"The PGA was the first thing that popped into my mind," he said.
Protecting the one-shot lead, Toms reached the 18th green safely in two. But his birdie putt rolled about 2 feet past the cup, forcing him to make a knee-knocker to save par and secure the win.
"I think if it was 3 feet, it wouldn't have gone in, but it was only 2 feet, and I'm here," Toms said. "I'm shaking. It's so hard. I know you hear people talk about it all the time, but when you haven't done it in a while, it's brutal."
Next, one of the champion's biggest decisions will be how to split the caddieing payout. His son, Carter, had to take the bag Thursday and Friday after his regular caddie, Scott Gneiser, was rushed to the hospital with chest pains. Gneiser was fine and returned for the weekend. Carter, an LSU player, can hang onto his day job.
"He did unbelievable job," Toms said about his son. "I struggled on Friday. I was 3 over at one time. And he was so positive. It was like me talking to him when he's going to play. I just have to figure out now what percentage each one of them gets."
David Toms, 70-71-66-70—277 (-3)
• In his 35th start on PGA TOUR Champions and second U.S. Senior Open start, David Toms became the 39th U.S. Senior Open champion. When Jerry Kelly bogeyed No. 11, Toms worked a par to tie for the lead at 3-under-par. Toms made a 15-foot putt on No. 16 to take the solo lead. Come No. 17, Toms hit his drive into the bunker, but with the help of a 17-foot putt managed to save par to hold the lead. He two-putted on No. 18 to finish with a par and capture his first Champions Tour win.
• The last player whose first win was a major was Gene Sauers when he won the 2016 U.S. Senior Open.
• Toms owns 13 wins on the PGA TOUR, with his latest coming in 2011 at the 2011 Fort Worth Invitational at the Colonial Country Club. His only major win was the 2001 PGA Championship where he found a 10-foot putt on No. 18 to prevail over Phil Mickelson. Toms competed in 19 U.S. Opens, finishing in the top-five three times (T4 2012, T5 2003 & 2007).
• In the last 10 years, Tom becomes the seventh player to come from behind to claim the title, including defending champion, Kenny Perry (one back), Allen Doyle (five strokes), Gene Sauers (one back), Colin Montgomerie (four back/playoff), Kenny Perry (two back), Roger Chapman (four back), and Brad Bryant (five back).
• Toms failed to make the cut in his 2017 U.S. Senior Open debut, this year he becomes the first player since Jeff Maggert (2015) to win in his second start.
• At 51 years, 5 months and 27 days, Toms is just under the average age of winners (52) at the U.S. Senior Open. Five players on PGA TOUR Champions 51 years old or younger have won this year.
• His paycheck of $720,000 is the largest of his professional career since 2011 (THE PLAYERS Championship, Crowne Plaza).
• Toms will have an exemption into the 2019 U.S. Open Championship at Pebble Beach.
• With the win, Toms has eight top-10s and moved to No. 1 in the Charles Schwab Cup for the second time this season.
Miguel Angel Jimenez, 68-68-73-69—278 (-2)
• Miguel Angel Jimenez made a 20-foot putt for birdie on the final hole to enter a four-way tie for the lead. It was the only time he had led/co-lead throughout the championship. Winner David Toms, two groups behind Jimenez, birdied No. 16, to push Jimenez down the leaderboard for T2.
• This is Jimenez’s eighth runner-up finish on PGA TOUR Champions. The Spaniard owns five victories, with one major victory coming this year at the Regions Tradition.
• With the finish, Jimenez moves up three places in the Charles Schwab Cup into the top-three.
Jerry Kelly, 66-69-71-72—278 (-2)
• Jerry Kelly entered the final round of his second U.S. Senior Open in the lead by one stroke over David Toms. With back-to-back bogeys on Nos. 11 and 12, Kelly finished Sunday with a 2-over-par 72 for a 2-under-par 278 total finish.
• His runner-up finish is his best in a major on Champions Tour. He now owns back-to-back runner-up finishes in the last two weeks, and four this season.
• Kelly led the championship in driving accuracy hitting 48/56 fairways.
• He has three titles on PGA TOUR Champions, including this year’s Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai.
Tim Petrovic, 72-65-71-70—278 (-2)
• Making his U.S. Senior Open debut, Tim Petrovic worked a birdie on the final hole to card a final-round even-par 70 for a 2-under-278. Petrovic finished runner-up for the third time this season on PGA TOUR Champions.
• His highest major championship finish came this season at the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship where he finished runner-up to Paul Broadhurst.
• Petrovic qualified with a 67 at Briarwood Golf Club in Ankeny, Iowa, to earn one of three spots into the 2018 U.S. Senior Open.
• Paul Goydos led/co-led during the final round on two different occasions, but with back-to-back bogeys on the final two holes, finished at 1-under-par for T5. This is Goydos’ third top-five finish this season on PGA TOUR Champions.
• The 2016 U.S. Senior Open champion, Paul Broadhurst carded a pair of 69s over the weekend to finish at 1-under-par 279 for T5. This is the 10thtime he has finished in the top-10 on PGA TOUR Champions.
• Brandt Jobe opened the final round with a birdie but finished at even-par 70 for a 1-under-par total (T5). In his last three appearances at the U.S. Senior Open, Jobe has finished in the top-five each time.
• The low amateur in the field was Jeff Wilson. He carded a final round 3-over-par 73 for a 10-over-par total finish (T31).
• Two-time Champions Tour winner, Duffy Waldorf had the lowest round of the final round with a 2-under-par 68. He finished T31.
• Five past U.S. Senior Open champions were in the field over the weekend:
o Bernhard Langer (2010): 72-76-66-72—286 (+6), T16
o Gene Sauers (2016): 73-71-70-73—287 (+7), T21
o Colin Montgomerie (2014): 71-73-67-80—291 (+11), T38
o Kenny Perry (2013, 2017): 71-74-71-71—292 (+12), T40
o Jeff Maggert (2015): 74-71-72-77—294 (+14), T49
• The top-15 earned a spot in next year’s U.S. Senior Open at the university of Notre Dame, in Norte Dame, Ind., played on campus at the Warren Golf Course.
• After the week off, the next two tournaments on PGA TOUR Champions will finish out the major stretch with the Constellation SENIOR PLAYERS Championship, where Scott McCarron is the defending champion, and the Senior Open Championship presented by Rolex, where Bernhard Langer is the defending champion.