Mitchell birdies final hole to edge Koepka, Fowler at Honda
After a week filled with rules-related controversies, the on-course action during the final round of the Honda Classic did not disappoint. Here’s how things ended up at PGA National, where Keith Mitchell birdied the final hole of regulation to secure his maiden PGA Tour title:
Leaderboard: Keith Mitchell (-9), Brooks Koepka (-8), Rickie Fowler (-8), Ryan Palmer (-7), Lucas Glover (-7), Vijay Singh (-6)
What it means: It was a wild day on the Champion Course, where swirling winds and a difficult layout took a toll on the field. At various points both Koepka and Fowler appeared poised for popular victories, while Singh stayed in the mix to become the oldest winner ever until the 71st hole. But in the end it was Mitchell, who had missed three of his last four cuts, rallying for his first career PGA Tour title in impressive fashion. Facing a possible playoff with Fowler and Koepka, Mitchell got up and down from 129 yards on the final hole, including burying a 15-footer for birdie and the win.
Round of the day: Palmer wasn’t on anyone’s radar to start the final round, trailing by seven shots, but an electric front nine put him right in the mix. Palmer went out in 29, including birdies on each of his first four holes, en route to a 7-under 63 that was the lowest round of the entire week. Palmer dropped only one shot all day, closing with birdies on Nos. 16 and 17 for another high finish at an event where he lost in a playoff in 2014.
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Best of the rest: Koepka doesn’t just save his best for the majors, as the reigning Player of the Year put together a 4-under 66 in difficult conditions. His round included five birdies against just one bogey, as Koepka closed with circles on Nos. 16 and 18 to set the clubhouse lead. While it ended up being one shot too many, it’s still a personal best for Koepka at his de facto hometown event, one in which he hadn’t cracked the top 25 in four prior appearances.
Biggest disappointment: It was uncharted territory for 54-hole leader Wyndham Clark, who struggled in the spotlight as he chased a breakthrough win of his own. Clark birdied two of his first four holes but regressed in the middle of his round with four bogeys in a six-hole stretch from Nos. 7-12. It added up to a 2-over 72 as Clark fell into a tie for seventh, which still serves as his best finish on Tour.
Shot of the day: Mitchell entered the week ranked 218th out of 221 players on Tour in strokes gained: putting. But there was never any doubt about his final putt of the week, as he poured in a 15-footer to avoid overtime with two of the highest-ranked players in the field.
Quote of the day: “I’ve been close, and I let my emotions take over. Today I bogeyed the first two holes and I said, ‘I’m not going to let this happen again.'” – Mitchell