Big putt serves as springboard for Scott
February 28, 2016
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
- Adam Scott earned his first TOUR title in nearly two years Sunday at PGA National. (Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. -- A few observations following the final round of The Honda Classic, where Adam Scott shot even-par 70 to finish at 9 under and win by one over Sergio Garcia. For more on all the action, click here to read the Daily Wrap-Up.
Scott’s putter comes through early. The putt was just 15 feet, and it came on the first hole of the final round. It was as big as any that Adam Scott made all day.
The opening birdie gave the Aussie a one-stroke lead, but it provided something even bigger.
“It’s a good feeling to just hit a putt, see it go in the hole,” he said. “I got off to a dream start.
“I think it's just a calming thing, to go out and birdie the first hole of the day is a huge, calming factor. To see a putt go in is all you want to see early in the round, especially Sunday, when you're leading. You just want to know that the hole's there and it's possible to make one. That was a nice putt there, and I got a good read off Sergio, because he had charged it by. I knew it was quick and I just dropped it in the front, and that set me up for a really nice start.”
And an even better finish. Sunday’s victory was his first since May 2014 at Colonial.
It was also his first with a short putter since 2010.
“Probably good for everybody who likes talking about it, absolutely, and therefore, good for me,” Scott said when asked if the latter was a relief since the anchoring ban that went into effect Jan. 1 of this year. “Good for me because maybe we don't have to go over it too much anymore.
“Again, it just reassures me, I'm on the right track with the things I'm doing on the greens obviously and I'm just going to try and get better every week. And I think it's in a great spot at the moment. If I can get better and better, then I like what's to come."
For the week, Scott ranked 23rd in strokes gained: putting.
Shot of the Day
Adam Scott's fantastic bunker shot is the Shot of the Day
Sergio’s stumbles. Sergio Garcia opened with 10 straight pars Sunday before a sloppy bogey on the par-4 11th, where he missed a 5-foot par putt.
Still, Garcia, one of the best ball-strikers in the game, had a chance to win standing in the 16th fairway when he inexplicably left his approach from 160 yards well short of the green. Then he blasted the chip 20 feet past the hole.
“I hit a bad shot and you know, obviously it's a tough chip,” he said. “I have to make sure that I hit it hard enough because if not, it comes back pretty much at my feet. Obviously I got a little quick but when you don't feel like you're swinging that great, in key moments, it's tough.”
Garcia’s par putt didn’t come close to going in, either, and he made another bogey on the next hole to fall two back. He birdied the par-5 18th to shoot 71.
It was his sixth runner-up since his last victory on TOUR four years ago.
McDowell moving on to Miami. A 1-under 69 in the final round wasn’t what Graeme McDowell wanted, but the big picture was mission accomplished.
The 36-year-old Northern Irishman’s fifth-place finish at PGA National kept him inside the top 10 in the FedExCup standings and therefore guaranteed him a spot in the field for next week’s World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship.
At one point last year, McDowell dipped to 80th in the Official World Golf Ranking and was on the outside looking in for many of golf’s biggest tournaments, including this year’s Masters and the first WGC of 2016. Then he won in Mexico, finished third at Sea Island and with this week’s result is headed back to Trump Doral.
“In this game, we talk about process a lot, but we need results to back up the processes to tell us we're on the right path,” McDowell said. “I've been hitting it unbelievably in practice, and it's nice to take it on to the course and get some reward out of it.
“You need that little bit of legitimization of what you're doing to keep you working harder, as well. Like I say, really happy with a lot of things I've got going on. I feel like I can really have a big year from here.”
Thomas takes step in right direction. At 45th in the U.S. Ryder Cup standings, Justin Thomas didn’t get an invite to Jack Nicklaus’ house for a dinner the Golden Bear hosted at his nearby home for captain Davis Love III and a number of potential U.S. players.
Was it a source of motivation for the 22-year-old, who already has a win under his belt this season in Malaysia?
“You could look at it like that, but I wanted to start playing better for me,” said Thomas, who was just two strokes off the lead late on Sunday until a double bogey on the par-3 17th. “The result is getting points. To be on that team is a big goal for me. This is a big step in the right direction.
“I had a really good chance to win. If I birdied 17 and 18 I could’ve been in a playoff. It’s an unfortunate to finish the way I did but I have to take the positives more so than what happened on 17.”
Indeed. In his last six starts prior to this week, Thomas had two missed cuts and just one top 25.
Fowler’s ballstriking woes. Rickie Fowler picked up his fifth finish in the top 6 in his last six starts. What kept the 27-year-old from getting his second win of the year? Ball-striking.
Over the first two rounds, Fowler hit 10 approach shots inside 15 feet. Over the last two, he had zero.
“It's a fine line between playing well on this golf course and it eating you alive,” said Fowler, who shot 71 Sunday with four bogeys and three birdies. “Swing still feels really good. Made a great swing on the 18th there. I made some good swings coming in, a couple poor ones, but more of it's just kind of commitment and feeling comfortable over the shot. I've been swinging really well. Obviously did the first two days. Not far off when I have missed them.”
QUOTE OF THE DAYNo, no, he's put that in a good spot, I'm sure. Hopefully the museum.
BEST OF TWITTER
Congrats to my buddy Scotty!Tried as hard as I could but he was a bit better than me this week.Happy with my week and the way I fought!— Sergio Garcia (@TheSergioGarcia) February 29, 2016
Fun week at @TheHondaClassic.. Never like finishing poorly but nice being in the hunt again. Congrats to Adam on a great win, well deserved!— Justin Thomas (@JustinThomas34) February 28, 2016
"I think it's just getting tougher and tougher to win out here. That was a great win today."— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) February 29, 2016
-Adam Scott pic.twitter.com/OMn6CgsfMx