SAN FRANCISCO: Daniel Berger drilled a 30-foot eagle putt at the 72nd hole to win the US PGA Tour Pebble Beach Pro-Am in dramatic style on Sunday (Monday in Manila).
The 27-year-old American, undaunted by the memory of his double-bogey at the par-five 18th on Saturday, took driver off the tee and reached the green in two, rolling in the eagle putt to beat Maverick McNealy by two strokes.
“I feel like I got a little bit of revenge on the 18th,” Berger said. “I knew it was going to be a tight finish, and I just stepped up there and hit a great drive and hit maybe the best three-wood I’ve ever hit in my life. And the putter was just kind of icing on the cake.”
Berger had drained a 22-foot eagle putt at the second hole and had four more birdies and one bogey in his seven-under 65 for an 18-under total of 270.
McNealy was already in the clubhouse on 16-under, notching five of his eight birdies on the demanding back nine in a six-under par 66.
He was watching when Berger rolled in the winning putt, earning his fourth US Professional Golfers’ Association Tour title.
The victory continues a strong spell for Berger that started with a victory at Colonial in the tour’s first tournament back from its coronavirus pandemic hiatus.
Since then, he had added eight top-10 finishes, climbing to 15th in the world rankings as he finally put a painful wrist injury behind him.
“A lot of it is [being] healthy. A lot of it is playing free,” Berger said. “Once I am able to kind of play every week without any fear, then I played my best golf, and that’s what I’ve been doing.”
Former world No. 1 Jordan Spieth started the day with a two-shot lead but remained in search of his first victory since the 2017 British Open; his two-under par 70 putting him into a tie for third with Patrick Cantlay on 273.
Cantlay, who matched the Pebble Beach course record of 62 on Thursday, closed with a 68. Spieth was lagging after his third bogey of the day at the 14th dropped him to even par for the round and three off the pace. He closed with birdies at 17 and 18 for another encouraging finish after his share of fourth in Phoenix last week.
While he was disappointed with aspects of his round, Spieth said he’d come a long way since missing the cut at Torrey Pines at the end of January.
Hard work and solid results since, Spieth said, have him believing he’ll be adding to his total of 11 PGA Tour titles. Instead of Spieth, it was Nate Lashley putting the pressure on with five birdies in his first 11 holes. He was tied for the lead at 16-under but came unstuck with a triple-bogey seven at the 16th and finished tied with England’s Paul Casey on 274. AFP