Stallings' five-stroke lead vanishes
LA QUINTA, Calif.
Brian Gay was the last man standing at the Humana Challenge on Sunday, shooting a final-round 63 to get into a three-man playoff and then winning with birdie on the second playoff hole.
Here are Five Things to take away from Sunday's dramatic round that saw Scott Stallings lose a five-shot lead:
1. Call it a comeback
Brian Gay missed a 3-1/2-foot birdie putt on the final hole of regulation at the Humana Challenge. He earned a second chance, though, after 54-hole leader Scott Stallings made bogey on the final hole, allowing Gay, David Lingmerth and Charles Howell to get into a playoff. They tied at 25-under-par 263. Lingmerth shot a final-round 62, while Howell fired 64 Sunday.
This is Gay’s fourth career PGA Tour victory and first since the 2009 St. Jude Classic.
2. Frustrating finish
This seemed like Scott Stallings’ tournament to win after he started the final round with a five-shot lead. He was tied for the lead when he arrived at the 10th tee, though.
Short putts hurt him on the front nine. He missed putts from inside 3 feet on Nos. 7 and 8. Wayward tee shots were his undoing on the final nine holes. He drove into the canal right of the fairway on the par-5 14th, and had to hole a 10-foot putt to save par. Stallings “flushed” a 4-iron off the tee at No. 16 into a fairway bunker.
Stallings, who was seeking his third PGA Tour victory, had to lay up out of the bunker and then failed to save par.
Stallings still could have won the tournament with a birdie at the reachable, par-5 18th. Even par would have put him in a playoff. His second shot ended up in the lake left of the green, though, and he missed a 9-foot putt for par.
3. We're talking playoffs
Lingmerth and Howell were the other two participants in the playoff. Lingmerth, a rookie off the Web.com Tour, was eliminated on the first playoff hole. The playoff began on the par-5 18th; Lingmerth hooked his second shot into the water, his ball landing in the lake some 15 yards from land. Lingmerth was the only one of the three playoff participants to birdie the 18th in regulation. Both Gay and Howell missed birdie putts inside 4 feet on the 72nd hole.
Howell lost on the second playoff hole after hitting his approach shot into the greenside bunker on the par-4 10th hole. He blasted to approximately 10 feet and missed the par putt.
4. Cashing in
PGA Tour rookie James Hahn joined Stallings in a tie for fourth. Hahn’s final-round 62, including an eagle on the final hole, gave the PGA Tour rookie a big check that will help him earn the biggest check of his career. Hahn, 31, also made eagle at the drivable par-4 eighth hole. He finished 13th on last year’s Web.com Tour money list to earn his first PGA Tour card.
Hahn finished 67th at the Sony Open last week.
5. Short shots
• Stewart Cink finished 10th, his first top-10 since May 2011. Cink, who played in the final group, shot 68 in the final round.
• Richard Lee regained his PGA Tour card at Q-School in December at PGA West. He was back at PGA West this week for the Humana Challenge. A hole-in-one on the par-3 15th helped Lee tie for 10th. It was just Lee’s second career top-10 in 26 career PGA Tour starts. The other came at the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in October.
• California native Kevin Chappell also shot a final-round 62 despite a bogey at his final hole, the par-4 ninth. Chappell finished eighth, his first top-10 since last year’s US Open. That was Chappell’s only top-10 last year; he finished 123rd on last year’s money list.