More distance off tee helped Gay win Humana

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LA QUINTA, Calif. – Brian Gay will never win a long-drive contest – his longest pop Sunday was 292 yards – but adding 10 to 15 yards to his game may have helped prolong his career.

A year ago, when Gay sought the services of instructors Grant Waite and Joe Mayo, he had one goal: max out his distance off the tee.

“It’s a power game now,” Gay said. “I feel handcuffed at a lot of tournaments. So I felt like I needed to try to make some changes, getting older and not getting any longer.”

Their work on the range seems to have paid off, as Gay said that he is hitting the ball 10 to 15 yards farther than a year ago. Though his game will never be bomb-and-gouge, the added distance has allowed Gay to hone in his scoring clubs and give himself more chances for birdie.

That’s always the key at PGA West, especially during a final round that was ripe for low scores. On Sunday, Gay was 9 under through 13 holes on his way to a final-round 63. More important, of course, was the birdie he made on the second playoff hole, giving the 41-year-old his fourth career PGA Tour title, and first since 2009.

“It feels amazing right now,” he said. “I’m still in a little bit of shock.”