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The Journal Gazette

  • Associated Press Dustin Johnson, the No. 1 player in the world, finished in a four-way tie for second Sunday at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.

Monday, February 12, 2018 1:00 am

Golf

Virtual unknown tops biggest names

Potter wins 1st tourney since '14 injury

Associated Press

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. – Ted Potter Jr. outplayed the world's No. 1 player and held off everyone else Sunday to win the AT&T Pebble Beach National for his first victory since a broken ankle nearly ended his career.

Potter holed a chip from behind the green for birdie on the par-3 seventh hole to build a two-shot lead over Dustin Johnson, and no one got any closer the rest of the way. He finished with 11 straight pars for a 3-under 69 and a three-shot victory over Johnson, Phil Mickelson, Jason Day and Chez Reavie.

Potter was unflappable playing alongside Johnson, who next week completes one full year at No. 1 in the world. When Potter tapped in for par on the 18th hole, he choked back emotion of a week he won't soon forget.

Potter stepped off a curb in Canada in August 2014 and broke his ankle, keeping him out of golf for two years and then back to the minor leagues a year ago. Potter's only other victory was at The Greenbrier Classic in 2012. He has missed the cut in 55 percent of his PGA Tour events in his career.

And then Potter didn't flinch next to Johnson, with Mickelson making a late charge and Day never too far behind.

“It's been a struggle,” Potter said. “You break your ankle and you don't know what's going to happen with your swing, with your career. It's unbelievable right now. ... This has been a blast this week.”

Potter, who came into the week at No. 246 in the world, earns a trip back to the Masters for the first time in five years. He finished at 17-under 270 and earned $1,332,000, nearly half of his career earnings going into the week.

It was another disappointment for Johnson going into the final round. He now won five out of 12 times when he took at least a share of the 54-hole lead into the final round.

“A few iron shots cost me a few bogeys,” said Johnson, who played Pebble in 70-72 on the weekend. “Two under in 36 holes is not too good as well as I thought I was playing. I'd like to have put a little more pressure on Ted.”

Mickelson began his move late with three birdies in a four-hole stretch ended at the par-3 17th. Needing an eagle to have any chance, his approach to the 18th was a few yards short and found a bunker. He failed to get up and down.

Reavie, a playoff loser in Phoenix last week, went out in 31 and was at 15 under, two shots behind. He made eight pars and a bogey on the back nine, with most of the damage coming on a wedge that came up short and into the bunker on the par-5 14th. With back-to-back runner-up finishes, Reavie goes to No. 43 in the world.

Day ran out of steam after missing the 17th on the wrong side of the green. He at least kept it entertaining on the 18th when he tried to hit driver off the deck and hooked it over the sea wall. He found his ball along a patch of sand and pebbles and played from the beach, over the wall, over the green and into a bunker. He saved par with a 15-foot putt.

 

PGA CHAMPIONS: In Boca Raton, Florida, Mark Calcavecchia shot a 2-under 70 to complete a wire-to-wire victory in the Boca Raton Championship.

Bernard Langer bogeyed the final two holes for a 70 to finish two strokes back.

Calcavecchia finished at 16-under 200. He opened with a 64 for a one-stroke lead and birdied the final three Saturday in a 66 that left him two shots clear of Langer.

EUROPEAN: In Perth, Australia, Kiradech Aphibarnrat of Thailand won the World Super 6 Perth with a 2-and-1 victory over James Nitties in the six-hole final.

Kiradech had to win five six-hole matches for his first European Tour title since the Saltire Paul Lawrie Match Play in 2015. He reached the championship match by beating Lucas Herbert in a 90-meter shootout hole. In the final, Kiradech overcame an early deficit with a par on the third hole, and then followed with an eagle and a birdie to close out the Australian.