Gogel Earns Redemption at Pebble Beach
Fate may have been a factor, but it was emotion ' both gut wrenching and soul stirring ' that ultimately defined the outcome.
Gogel made a 25-foot birdie putt on the par-5 18th, while Pat Perez took a triple-bogey 8. Perez led by one shot entering the home hole, but hit his tee shot out of bounds and his fourth shot into the Pacific Ocean.
'It feels good, said Gogel, who earned $720,000 for his first career tour title. (But) if anything I feel bad for Pat, because I know the situation, Ive been there before myself.
Gogel shot 3-under 69 at Pebble Beach Golf Links to finish the event at 14-under-par 274. Perez (76), despite the late collapse, still earned solo second place ' and $432,000 ' at 11-under.
In the end, experience ' and a bit of patience ' won out.
Gogel is in only his third season on tour, but hes been through a lot ' particularly on the Monterey Peninsula.
Last year, he took a three-shot lead into the weekend, only to shoot 81 on Saturday. Two years ago, he broke down on the back nine Sunday, shooting 40 and blowing a seven-shot lead over Tiger Woods.
Gogel learned from each of the instances, and applied those lessons this week.
I feel like I can understand the situation better, he said. I know when to be aggressive and when to be patient.
Patience is a virtue Perez does not yet possess.
Perez made only five pars in the final round. He wavered like a paper sack in the wind ' and it was blustery ' flying as high as 16-under, as low as 12-under.
Perez, who battled the flu at the start of the week, entered the final round with a four-shot lead, the same advantage he wasted in losing the 2000 Buy.Com Monterey Peninsula Classic when he shot a Sunday 77.
The 25-year-old rookie held onto his lead over the first 13 holes, but at the par-5 14th it appeared implosion was imminent.
Perez hit his second shot - a 3-wood - out of bounds right. Several club slams and a few more shots later, he carded a double-bogey 7 and fell to 12-under.
All of a sudden, it was Gogel in the drivers seat at 14-under. The 30-year-old Kansan was supposed to be in the final group, but because he had no amateur partner (his team missed the cut), he was relegated to the next-to-last foursome.
Regardless, Gogel picked up three strokes to par over his first 14 holes, including rolling in a 3-wood from off the green for birdie at No. 12.
Both Lee Janzen (73) and Andrew Magee (72) were still well within striking distance. However, neither man could make it past the 12-under mark.
As was the case all day, Perez immediately responded to his deteriorating situation. He birdied the par-4 15th, and then, after Gogel missed a three-foot par putt at the 17th, Perez retook the lead with a birdie.
Perez stuck his tee shot on the par-3 penultimate hole to five feet. He made the putt, emphatically pumping his fist in reaction, and climbed back to 14-under.
Knowing he needed birdie, Gogel took driver off the tee at the 18th. He then pushed his second shot with a 5-wood into the right rough, from where he placed his approach shot 25 feet from the flag.
I told my caddie, walking up the hill, I made this putt before, Gogel said.
It was also during that walk that he learned what was unfolding behind him.
Perez had also taken driver off the tee, but his ball ballooned right, over the gallery and into a bush.
The ball was unplayable, but was it, again, out of bounds?
Two tour officials came over, checked the O.B. markers, and deemed the ball on the wrong side of the stakes ' by a foot.
Its still hard to believe it went out of bounds, Perez later said. Didnt feel like a bad swing, it just got up and floated to the right and out of bounds.
Perez trudged back to the tee box, and split the fairway with his third shot (including the penalty stroke). And once he heard the roar of the crowd following Gogels lengthy birdie putt, he knew somehow he needed to save par.
Perez bombed a 3-wood, but this time he pulled it, into the hazard.
I dont know what it is about this place, he said of his Monterey peninsula past. I cant get it done.
Gogel knows the feeling. And after all was said and done, he had some parting words for Perez.
I will never forget what Tiger Woods told me, You have a lot to be proud of, Gogel recalled. I just said to (Perez), You had a great tournament, you have a lot to be proud of I know how you feel. I have been in that situation before. Come back next year.
The words were appreciated, but like lessons learned, they will take some time before they take effect.
Theres nothing good coming out of this week, he said in immediate frustration.
Added Gogel: Whether he believes it or not, there will be that experience of being right there. Hopefully he will continue to play his game.
If anything, I learned from 2000 you have to play all 18 holes.
Full-field scores from the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am
Pepperell among co-leaders early in Qatar
DOHA, Qatar – Eddie Pepperell, Gregory Havret, and Aaron Rai made the most of calm early morning conditions at Doha Golf Club to set the pace in the opening round of the Qatar Masters at 7-under-par 65 on Thursday.
Havret went bogey free, Pepperell made one bogey and eight birdies, while fellow English golfer Rai eagled his last hole to add to five birdies.
One shot behind the leaders were four players, including former Ryder Cup player Edoardo Molinari of Italy and former champion Alvaro Quiros of Spain.
Defending champion Jeunghun Wang of South Korea started with a 68, and Race to Dubai leader Shubhankar Sharma of India shot 69 despite a double bogey on the 15th hole.
Pepperell, who is fast gaining a reputation on the European Tour for his irreverent tweets and meaningful blogs, showed his clubs can also do an equal amount of talking after missing cuts in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and Malaysia.
Pepperell birdied Nos. 10, 11, 14, 16 and 18 with a single blemish on 13 after starting on the back nine. He made three more birdies on his back nine.
He was joined on top of the leaderboard by Havret, who made five birdies in six holes from the sixth, and Rai, who eagled the last.
''I surprised myself, really,'' said Pepperell, who finished third in Portugal and Netherlands last year.
''I've made some changes this week with personnel, so I've been working on a couple of new things and I surprised myself out there with how well I managed to trust it.
''I hit some quality tee shots, that's the area I feel that I've been struggling with a bit lately. We had a good time.
''It's definitely a bigger picture for me this week than tomorrow and indeed the weekend. I'm not overly-fussed about my early season form.”
Molinari, a three-time champion on the tour including last year in Morocco, started with eight straight pars, and then made seven birdies in his last 10 holes, including a chip-in for birdie on the last.
''I hit every green apart from the last one. I hit a lot of fairways, I had a lot of chances for birdie,'' said Edoardo, the older brother of Francesco.
''Last week in Oman, I had a decent week, I had a bad first round and then three very good rounds. It's been the case for the last few weeks so my focus this week was to try and get a good start.''
Oliver Fisher of England was the best among the afternoon groups with a 6-under 66, joining Molinari, Quiros and Germany's Marcel Schneider in a tie for fourth.
Tiger Tracker: Honda Classic
Tiger Woods is making his third start of the year at the Honda Classic. We're tracking him at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.
Tweets by GCTigerTracker
Honda Classic: Tee times, TV schedule, stats
The PGA Tour heads back east to kick off the Florida Swing at PGA National. Here are the key stats and information for the Honda Classic. Click here for full-field tee times.
How to watch:
Thursday, Rd. 1: Golf Channel, 2-6PM ET; live stream: http://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream
Friday, Rd. 2: Golf Channel, 2-6PM ET; live stream: http://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream
Saturday, Rd. 3: Golf Channel, 1-2:45PM ET; live stream: http://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream; CBS, 3-6PM ET
Sunday, Rd. 4: Golf Channel, 1-2:45PM ET; live stream: http://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream; CBS, 3-6PM ET
Purse: $6.6 million ($1,188,000 to the winner)
Course: PGA National, Palm Beach Gardens, Florida (par-70; 7,140 yards)
Defending champion: Rickie Fowler (-12) won by four, picking off his fourth PGA Tour victory.
Notables in the field:
• Making his fourth start at the Honda Classic and his first since withdrawing with back spasms in 2014.
• Shot a Sunday 62 in a T-2 finish in 2012, marking his lowest career final-round score on the PGA Tour.
• Coming off a missed cut at last week's Genesis Open, his 17th in his Tour career.
• The defending champion owns the lowest score to par and has recorded the most birdies and eagles in this event since 2012.
• Fowler's last start was at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, where he failed to close a 54-hole lead. Fowler is 1-for-6 with 54-hole leads in his Tour career, with his only successful close coming at last year's Honda.
• On Tour this year, Fowler is first in scrambling from the fringe, second in total scrambling and third in strokes gained around the green.
• It's been feast or famine for McIlroy at the Honda. He won in 2012, withdrew with a toothache in 2013, finished T-2 in 2014 and missed the cut in 2015 and 2016.
• McIlroy ascended to world No. 1 with his victory at PGA National in 2012, becoming the second youngest player at 22 years old to top the OWGR, behind only Woods. McIlroy was later edged by a slightly younger 22-year-old Jordan Spieth.
• Since the beginning of 2010, only Dustin Johnson (15) has more PGA Tour victories than McIlroy (13).
Lexi, J. Korda part of four-way tie in Thailand
CHONBURI, Thailand – Three-time tour winner Minjee Lee of Australia finished with a superb eagle putt to be among the four leaders after Day 1 of the LPGA Thailand at Siam Country Club on Thursday.
Lee sank a 45-foot putt on the 18th hole to card a 6-under-par 66 to tie for the lead with 2016 champion Lexi Thompson, Jessica Korda, and local hope Moriya Jutanugarn.
''I just hit the collar. I didn't know if I was going to have enough. Such a big break there. I'm glad it caught the hole,'' Lee said.
''It's a second-shot golf course. Your approaches are really important, and obviously being in the right spots with the undulation. And if you have a hot putter that's going to help.''
Lee won the Vic Open near Melbourne this month and opened her 2018 LPGA tour account last week at the Women's Australian Open, finishing fifth.
Thompson, who won this event in 2016 by six shots with a 20-under total and tied for fourth last year, started her latest round in style with an eagle followed by a birdie only to bogey the third hole. She carded four more birdies.
''It definitely helps to get that kind of start, but I was just trying to keep that momentum and not get ahead of myself,'' Thompson said.
Her compatriot Korda had a roller-coaster round which featured eagles on the first and 17th holes, five birdies, a double bogey on the sixth, and two bogeys.
Jutanugarn was the only player among the four to end the day without a bogey.
''I had a good start today, it was better than I expected,'' said Jutanugarn, who was seventh here last year.
She's trying to become the first Thai winner of the tournament.
Two-time champion Amy Yang and world No. 2 Sung Hyun Park were among six players at 5 under.