David Toms wins The Galleri Classic by four shots
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Earns second PGA TOUR Champions title of 2023 in decisive fashion at Mission Hills CC
Written by Bob McClellan @ChampionsTour
David Toms picked up his second win of the 2023 PGA TOUR Champions season by going wire-to-wire at The Galleri Classic at Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, California.
Toms burst from the gate Friday with a 7-under 65 for a one-shot lead, still led by one after a second-round 70, and he closed it out Sunday with another 65 to finish 16 under and win by four strokes over Steven Alker.
Toms, 56, becomes the first player to win twice this season and takes the lead in the Charles Schwab Cup standings, just ahead of Steve Stricker. It is his second win in his past three starts and the first time in his PGA TOUR Champions career that he has won twice in a season.
“I've just enjoyed playing good golf right now, off to a good start,” Toms said. "I haven't really been part of the Charles Schwab Cup at the end, haven't even been close, so that's kind of my goal this year is to try to get close, give myself a chance late in the season.”
Toms finished first in driving accuracy for the week and tied for second in putting average.
David Toms cruises to victory at Galleri Classic
“It was a really good test, you had to keep the ball in the fairway, which was very difficult,” Toms said about the Champions Tour’s inaugural visit to Mission Hills. “Just enough rough to make you think. The greens got firm, so you really need to be in the fairway. Fortunate for me, I kept it in the fairway for the most part. If not, I always had a shot where I had an open green or something, and the putter felt really good the last few days.”
Toms’ victory didn’t come without some peril. Retief Goosen, 54, birdied nine of his first 12 holes on Sunday to stake himself to a healthy three-shot lead over Toms. But the unflappable Louisiana native played the final 10 holes in 6 under, while the South African played the final six holes in 2 over.
Still, it was Goosen’s best finish since he won the 2022 Hoag Classic. He tied for third at 11 under with Paul Stankowski.
“I haven't made any putts for two weeks and then finally today I started making a few early on,” Goosen said. “Yeah, got it going nicely. It's disappointing about the finish.
“When I was driving to the course this morning I was thinking if I could shoot 10 under, I've got a pretty good chance. I could have shot 10 under if I didn't mess up coming in.”
Like Toms, Goosen had high marks for The Galleri Classic in its first year.
“The breaks on the greens here are tricky,” Goosen said. “These mountains around you, a lot of them break a lot more than you think and a lot of them, you know, it looks like it's going to go and it doesn't go. So the greens are very tricky to read.
“Overall it's a great golf course, a great event, and we're very pleased about Galleri coming in for this new event this year. I'll be back next year.”