Maggert ends struggles with season finale win at Charles Schwab Cup Championship
November 10, 2019
By Jim McCabe, PGATOUR.COM
- November 10, 2019
Jeff Maggert's interview after winning Charles Schwab Cup
PHOENIX – Had Jeff Maggert let his emotions get the better of him, he might not have had the tools of his trade at his at disposal to tee it up in the season-ending Charles Schwab Cup Championship here at Phoenix Country Club.
“I was ready to drive my clubs over with my car in the driveway,” Maggert conceded earlier in the week, his disgust a byproduct of poor play for 13 tournaments over five months. “Just not having a lot of fun.”
Instead, Maggert found another way to work out his frustrations. He put on a ball-striking clinic and ran over the field for the better part of four rounds, then survived a significant speedbump named Retief Goosen with the ultimate exclamation point in a warm Sunday dusk.
The 55-year-old Maggert holed a wedge from 124 yards on the third playoff hole, the par-4 17th, to win the $2.5m season-ending tournament. Fitting that such a stunning shot – the definitive walk-off in a sport that rarely has them – would carry such enormous repercussions. Beyond assuring Maggert his sixth PGA TOUR Champions win, and first since 2015, the victory enabled Scott McCarron to win the coveted $1m season-long Charles Schwab Cup.
“There’s my favorite guy,” said McCarron, after sweating out the playoff. He entered the week as the overall leader but played poorly (T-27 in the 34-player field) and needed help to hold off Goosen, a PGA TOUR Champions rookie, from passing him. Unfortunately for McCarron, things were out of his control, as he watched the late fourth-round action unfold from the dining area. Fortunately for McCarron, Maggert delivered the heroics in a finish that was wildly entertaining.
Having made 19 birdies against three bogeys over the first three days, Maggert was in wearing the look of a wire-to-wire winner. He led by one after Thursday, by four halfway through, and took a one-shot lead into Sunday. He made his share of birdies in a bogey-free fourth round, only they started falling more rapidly for the 50-year-old South African who was one group ahead.
“I made five birdies, then I need another birdie and an eagle in the playoffs just to beat him,” marveled Maggert of Goosen, who made five birdies on a torrid back nine. “He was a tough guy to beat.”
It wasn’t until the 72nd hole, when Goosen two-putted for birdie, that Maggert was not in at least a share of the lead for the first time since early in Round 1. When he signed for 7-under 64, Goosen was in the clubhouse at 21-under. Maggert, meanwhile, was in a greenside bunker in two at the par-5 18th, by which time he realized he trailed by one.
“I hadn’t been making many putts, so I said, ‘I’ve got to make this, just to get in a playoff,’ “ said Maggert, who splashed his bunker shot to 8 feet and then punched the air when his putt fell to tie.
Having dangled on 18 in regulation, Maggert did so again minutes later, on the first hole of the playoff. He missed his birdie try from just inside of 10 feet, then stood back and could only watch Goosen putt from about 3 feet. He had misread his eagle try minutes earlier and now, with the Schwab Cup virtually in his hands, he did it again.
“It was disappointing,” said Goosen.
Each birdied the 18th on the second playoff hole, then at the par-4 17th, Goosen seemingly gained a huge advantage with a brilliant shot out of a fairway bunker. “Looked like about 5 feet to put the pressure on him,” said Goosen, and even Maggert was impressed.
“I’m thinking, ‘All right, this is a chance here,’ “ said Maggert, confirming that he thought Goosen faced trouble with that bunker shot. “Then he hit an unbelievable shot out (so) I was just trying to get my wedge somewhere on the green inside of 10 feet.”
It was inside of 10 feet, all right. It was in the cup and rich storylines had been written for Maggert ($440,000 tournament prize) and McCarron in improbable fashion – by a guy who a few weeks ago wasn’t even sure he wanted to play.
“You know,” said Maggert, shaking his head. “I can’t explain it.”
The only explanation is, it’s golf.
Jeff Maggert's hole-out eagle approach in his 3rd playoff hole at Charles Schwab Cup