Potter Jr holds off Johnson to claim first win in five years
Ted Potter Jr defeated an all-star cast to claim only his second PGA Tour win at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.
It’s a dream come true, says Potter Jr
Ted Potter Jr had only one previous win on Tour, the Greenbrier Classic six years ago but he stared down world number one Dustin Johnson in impressive style to take his second victory. Johnson was consistently outdriving him but Potter Jr won by three strokes from a four-strong group that included Johnson, Jason Day, Phil Mickelson and Chez Reavie, the latter finishing second on Tour for the second straight week.
“It’s just an unbelievable feeling, the last few years have been tough but I’ve never lost belief that I could win again,” said Potter Jr, after ending his 2,044 day wait for a victory. “I had a two shot lead into the back nine but I was putting well and just playing smart golf. Dustin is a world class player and the world number one for a reason and he pushed me all the way. My first Tour win changed my life but this feels so good right now and hopefully it’s a new chapter again. It’s a dream come true to be going back to the Masters and hopefully I can win the par-three contest again too. It’s all quite hard to take in right now.” The victory will move him into the world’s top 80, the highest mark of his career and a huge leap after starting the week the 246th-ranked player in the world.
Spieth shows impressive reflexes
Champion Golfer Jordan Spieth had to show his best reflexes at the Pebble Beach Pro-Am. Spieth won the tournament last year but finished in a tie for 20th on Sunday, nine shots off the winner, after missing the cut in Phoenix the previous week. However, his third round was nearly cut short when the three-time major champion came within a whisker of being felled by an errant shot from Everybody Loves Raymond star Ray Romano. Romano, a 17-handicapper, yelled ‘fore’ after thinning a bunker shot at the fourth hole while Spieth teed up at the fifth. But he didn’t find out till later just how close he came to hitting the Champion Golfer of the Year.
Mickelson on form
Phil Mickelson is on a roll. After a solid performance in Phoenix, he looked on sharp form at Pebble Beach, in a tournament he has won four times. He has not won since lifting the Claret Jug at Muirfield in 2013 but his final round showed the old brilliance is still there, 11 of 14 fairways hit and a six birdie 67 surging him up the leaderboard.
Aphibarnrat wins the hard way in Perth
Who said practice makes perfect? Kiradech Aphibarnrat arrived at the ISPS HANDA World Super 6 in Perth just days after entering and didn’t have time to look at the course before starting his challenge. The Thai golfer came through four play-off holes to secure a spot in the 24 man Sunday matchplay finale. He beat Ben Eccles, Yusaku Miyazato, Sean Crocker and Lucas Herbert to make the final, where he edged out Australian James Nitties 2&1 for his fourth European Tour title.
"I'm working so hard. The last few months I've been getting really close and finally I've done it,” he said, after moving back into the world’s top 50. Aphibarnrat has appeared at The Open on four occasions, most recently at Royal Troon two years ago.
Chasing the Tiger’s schedule
There is much speculation about where Tiger Woods will fine-hone his game in advance of his return to the Masters for the first time in three years. The 14-time major winner will not be eligible for either World Golf Championship events before Augusta because of his low world ranking. He is expected to play in the Arnold Palmer Invitational, where he's won eight times but the rest of his schedule is the subject of intense debate. His name was on a list of possible golfers for the Valspar Championship in Tampa, an event he’s never played in its 17-year history. “I stay in constant contact with his agent and we are still on the possibility list. At least we are not a no,” tournament director Tracy West told the Tampa Bay Times.