O'Hair wins Quail Hollow despite late bogeys|
Charlotte, NC (Sports Network) - The biggest win of his still-young career
solidly within reach, Sean O'Hair could only manage a couple of bogeys.
But just when it looked like he might surrender to one more tough loss,
another player faltered to save him.
Luckily for O'Hair, Lucas Glover is not Tiger Woods.
O'Hair shot a three-under 69 and escaped with the most significant win of his
career Sunday despite making bogeys on the last two holes at the $6.5 million
Quail Hollow Championship.
Chasing his first $1 million check -- and looking to cement his reputation as
one of the top young Americans golfers -- O'Hair coughed up a two-shot lead on
his last two holes when he missed the green at the par-three 17th and then
three-putted from 26 feet at the 18th.
He was only saved by Glover, who reacted to suddenly being tied for the lead
by making his own bogey at the 17th to fall one back. Glover then parred the
18th to hand O'Hair the win.
"I feel so good, especially finishing the way I did," O'Hair said.
His relief was justified.
O'Hair claimed his third PGA Tour win at 11-under-par 277 and picked up a
career-best check of $1.17 million. But the echoes of a recent loss were loud
and unavoidable as he struggled to close it out.
In March, O'Hair shot a 73 in the final round of the Arnold Palmer
Invitational after holding the third-round lead. Woods fired a 67 and beat him
with a birdie on the last hole, completing a five-shot Sunday comeback.
"I thought about it this morning. I wanted to be ready to play," said O'Hair.
"I knew I was going to play well enough to have a chance today, and I just
wanted to give it a good shot and be in it mentally and hang tough all day."
It was a tight final round.
Glover (71) and Bubba Watson (70) were among several other players who owned
at least a share of the lead Sunday, but they tied for second place at 10-
Woods, the 2007 winner at Quail Hollow, strung together 10 straight pars at
the end of an unremarkable final round and shot a 72 to take fourth place at
"It was just one of those weird weeks," said Woods. "I didn't really feel
comfortable with my swing, especially today."
In all, 20 players finished within five shots of O'Hair, including Phil
Mickelson, who fired a 67 and led a large group at eight-under 280.
With so many players in the mix, and so much money on the line, it came down
to O'Hair, Glover and Watson at the end of the day.
Watson, the long-hitting lefty, missed a good opportunity for his first career
win after a trio of bogeys on his last 10 holes dropped him out of the lead.
"Today it felt like it was going to be the day," said Watson.
Glover, seeking his second PGA Tour win, missed the 17th green when he knocked
his tee ball close to where O'Hair's landed two groups earlier. The bogey --
just his second in blustery conditions Sunday -- squeezed Glover out of the
share of the lead he earned only moments before when O'Hair bogeyed the 18th.
"It was a heck of a day; a lot of drama," said Glover.
O'Hair took control of the final round with back-to-back birdies at 15 and 16.
He knocked his second shot onto the green from 250 yards at the par-five 15th
and two-putted from 73 feet for birdie. Then, he rolled in an eight-foot
birdie putt at the 16th to take a two-shot lead.
It was his sixth birdie of the round -- all coming in the span of 12 holes.
But then came a bogey from the rough at 17 -- "It's just one of those holes
[where] bogey's not that bad a score," O'Hair said -- and a too-long approach
to the 18th green that left him with a slippery downhill putt.
O'Hair rolled it eight feet past the hole and was suddenly looking at a tough
par -- or a devastating bogey.
"It's amazing how fast that thing was. That's gotta be by far the fastest putt
on this golf course," he said. "I just tried to lag it down there. I didn't
want to leave it too short because you don't want a three-footer downhill."
Shaking off his bout with inexperience, O'Hair took two more putts, finally
making a two-footer for his closing bogey. It ended up being the winner.
"This is just a tough golf course," said O'Hair. "It's one of those courses
where it's never over. You gotta be in it every single shot."
O'Hair became the only American player under the age of 30 with three wins,
passing Anthony Kim, Dustin Johnson, Charles Howell III and Boo Weekley.
He was also the only player in the field Sunday who didn't make a putt outside
10 feet in any of the four rounds.
05/03 20:05:14 ET