Gomez a model of consistency in first TOUR win
June 14, 2015
By Don Wade, Special to PGATOUR.COM
- June 14, 2015
- Fabian Gomez tallied 20 birdies this week at TPC Southwind en route to a four-stroke victory. (Todd Warshaw/Getty Images)
MEMPHIS, Tenn. – One earned his first career PGA TOUR victory and the other was close enough to be disappointed.
The question now, after Argentina’s Fabian Gomez won the FedEx St. Jude Classic by four strokes over England’s Greg Owen, is where do they go from here?
Gomez, 36, shot a 4-under 66 Sunday to finish 13-under and four strokes ahead of Owen, who was even par on Sunday. They began the day tied at 9-under.
Opportunity was waiting for them and Gomez seized it.
“I slept well last night, had a nice barbecue at the hotel,” Gomez said through a translator. “Tried to keep playing the same way I played the last three days. And I tried to keep my mind blank and enjoy the round.”
From Owen’s perspective, playing the last 18 holes with Gomez, it was obvious why Gomez won his first PGA TOUR event.
“He hit every fairway,” Owen said. “He played great. He deserved to win. I played great the first eight holes and then hit some rocky shots. Guys are so good, you can’t play average. I’ve got some work to do.”
For the record, Gomez hit 10 of 14 fairways (71.43 percent), but through four rounds Gomez was a model of consistency. His high score was a 2-under 68 in Friday’s second round and he finished with a bogey avoidance percentage of 9.72. The only player better this weekend? Owen, at 6.94.
Owen is still winless through 214 career starts. Gomez’s first win came in his 70th career start.
“Winning a tournament is a big difference,” Gomez said of how it changes his mindset moving forward. “You have a two-year exemption.”
Owen lost out on that opportunity and Gomez earned the bigger check – the winner received $1.08 million. But when asked if his week was a success, Owen didn’t hesitate.
“Definitely,” he said. “Look at my record this year and last year and the year before and two years before that. Yeah, definitely big success. Disappointed today, but I can relax knowing I’ve still got it.”
Gomez just had "it" a little better.
“To win you’ve got to be special,” Owen said. “Fabian proved that.”
SHOT OF THE DAY
Fabian Gomez's exceptional putt on 72nd hole to win the FedEx St. Jude Classic
CLOSE ENOUGH TO THINK ABOUT WINNING: Phil Mickelson was 6-under going into No. 16 on Sunday and that was close enough to the leaders to turn the heat up. And maybe steal a victory.
“I felt like if I could have hit an eagle putt on 16, I could have gone birdie-birdie and that might have done it,” Mickelson said.
His putt for eagle on 16 stopped at the lip. He waited for it to fall, but it wasn’t meant to be.
So, Mickelson settled for a birdie on 16, got par on 17, and snuck in a birdie putt at 18. Final result: 5-under 65 for the day, 8-under for the tournament and T3 on the leaderboard.
Mickelson was happy with his round and especially his iron shots. His eight birdies were more than he had in Rounds 2 and 3 (six) combined. Thus, he believes he is heading toward the U.S. Open at Chambers Bay next week with some “momentum” and has figured a few fixes in his game.
He needs only a U.S. Open victory to complete the career Grand Slam.
“That’s what I’m working on,” he said.
ONE OF THE TOUR'S BEST COURSES?: Billy Horschel wore a purple shirt and orange belt on Sunday – FedEx colors – and joked, “It brought me some luck today.”
Horschel shot 5-under Sunday to finish at 7-under in the FedEx St. Jude Classic to finish T8. He was hoping for even better.
Horschel closed with an eagle on No. 16 and his sixth birdie or better on No. 18. But bogeys on 10 and 15 kept the round from being in contention.
“I’m a little disappointed because I felt like if I shot 8-under I had a chance to win,” he said.
He believes TPC Southwind is not only one of the five best courses on the PGA TOUR, but a good preparatory test before next week’s U.S. Open at Chambers Bay.
ODDS & ENDS
Fabian Gomez extended his fully-exempt status through the 2016-17 PGA TOUR season and now has spots in the 2015 PGA Championship and 2016 Masters, among others. ...
Gomez became the fifth player from Argentina to win a PGA TOUR event and the first since Angel Cabrera at the 2014 Greenbrier Classic. The others: Roberto De Vicenzo, Jose Coceres and Andres Romero. ...
Last year’s FedEx St. Jude Classic champion, Ben Crane, finished at 2-under and T37. ...
Phil Mickelson’s 65 on Sunday was his best final-round score since posting an 8-under 62 at last year’s World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational (T15).
CALL OF THE DAY
Doug Bell calls Fabian Gomez's closing birdie at No. 18 to win the FedEx St. Jude Classic.
ROUND 4 STATISTICAL LEADERS
Category Leader Statistic Driving distance Patrick Rodgers 324.0 yards Longest drive Steven Bowditch 340 yards Driving accuracy Brian Davis 92.86 (13 of 14 fairways) Greens in regulation Seung-Yul Noh 83.33 percent Proximity to hole Harrison Frazar 21 feet, 9 inches Scrambling Steven Bowditch 100.00 percent Lowest round Billy Horschel, Phil Mickelson, Seung-Yul Noh, Boo Weekley, Will Wilcox 65 Total birdies Phil Mickelson 8 Bogey-free rounds Seung-Yul Noh, Boo Weekley