ON THE LINKS | Sunday’s professional golf results
PLAYA DEL CARMEN, MEXICO
Patton Kizzire won his first PGA Tour title by beating Rickie Fowler in a 36-hole marathon in the rain-plagued OHL Classic at Mayakoba. Kizzire closed with rounds of 66-67 for a one-shot victory over Fowler, who fell four shots behind at El Camaleon Golf Club until staging a late rally that again fell short. Fowler had rounds of 67-67 on the final day. Kizzire won in his 62nd career start on the PGA Tour, and it required some steady nerves on the back nine when it could have gotten away from him. Leading by four shots with seven holes to play, Kizzire saved par with an 8-foot putt on No. 12, a 10-foot putt on the par-5 13th and an 8-foot putt on the 14th. He had a three-shot lead with three holes to play when Fowler made a 15-foot birdie putt on the 16th hole and rolled in a 12-foot birdie putt on the 17th hole to close within one shot. But from the 18th fairway, Fowler sent his approach some 35 feet left of the flag and left the birdie attempt short. Kizzire had to stand close to his approach shot to keep his feet out the sand, and he hit 8-iron to 25 feet. After Fowler left his birdie attempt well short, Kizzire rapped his putt to within a few inches and tapped in for the winning par. “I was glad to get it done,” Kizzire said. “Rickie made me work hard.” Kizzire finished at 19-under 265 and earned his first trip to the Masters in April. The 31-year-old Kizzire also gets a two-year exemption on the PGA Tour and a spot in the field at the Sentry Tournament of Champions at Kapalua to start next year, and the PGA Championship, along with other select events on tour. Si Woo Kim tried to get into the mix until a double bogey in the middle of his back nine. He still closed with a 65 to finish third, his best finish since he won The Players Championship in May. Charles Howell III (66) and Martin Piller (65) finished five shots behind. John Oda of UNLV, playing his first PGA Tour event as a pro, closed with a 70 to finish eighth. That gets him into the RSM Classic next week at Sea Island.
SCHWAB CUP CHAMPIONSHIP
Kevin Sutherland finally broke through on the PGA Tour Champions, taking the season-ending Charles Schwab Cup Championship — and the topping the yearlong competition, too. Sutherland closed a 5-under 66 for a one-stroke victory over Vijay Singh at Phoenix Country Club, the tree-lined course hosting its first tour event since the Phoenix Open left for TPC Scottsdale in 1988. Bernhard Langer, the winner of the first two playoff events, had a 64 to tie for 12th — five strokes back. Langer slipped to second in the season standings, missing a chance to win the title for the fourth straight year and fifth overall. The 53-year-old Sutherland won for the first time in 78 starts on the 50-and-over tour. He entered the week fifth in the Charles Schwab Cup season points standings, the last spot where the player had to only win the tournament to take the $1 million annuity. He earned $440,000 for the tournament victory. The only player to shoot 59 in senior tour history, Sutherland had 15 top-10 finishes this season, finishing second three times and third twice. His lone PGA Tour victory came in 2002 at La Costa in the Accenture Match Play Championship. Sutherland finished at 15-under 198. He had a bogey-free round, opening with a birdie on the par-5 first, eagling the par-5 seventh and adding birdies on the par-4 ninth and 16th. Singh shot a 63. He opened with an eagle and birdied the last two. John Daly (65), David Frost (67), David Toms (67) and Lee Janzen (67) tied for third at 13 under.
Branden Grace’s record-breaking round of 62 at the British Open has been overtaken for his best memory of 2017. South Africa’s Grace won the Nedbank Golf Challenge by one shot after finishing 11-under par, making a 30-foot birdie putt on No. 16 to edge in front and become the first home winner at Sun City in a decade. Grace’s long putt at the par 3 put him one ahead of playing partner Scott Jamieson and two clear of Victor Dubuisson, who was also part of the final group. Grace made pars on the last two, tapping in on No. 18 for a 66 and his eighth European Tour title, and first since January 2016. The Nedbank Challenge holds major-like prestige for South Africans, and Sun City hadn’t seen a local player win since Trevor Immelman in 2007. On clinching victory, Grace raised his arms, closed his eyes, and leaned back as he was sprayed with champagne by fellow South African players Louis Oosthuizen and Darren Fichardt. There was also a big hug from Gary Player. “I think this was probably the loudest applause I’ve ever received coming up the 18th hole,” said the 29-year-old Grace, who grew up a couple hours’ drive away in Pretoria.