Brian Harman started the day in 4th place, 2 strokes back of 54-hole leader Patrick Reed. The leader faltered, but that opened the door for PGA Tour rookie sensation Jon Rahm, and world #1 Dustin Johnson (who had won his last 3 starts) to pull the prize even farther away. Harman played very steady, and hung with the leaders as he made the turn in 1 under par 35.
Birdies at 12 and 14 put Harman in a tie for the lead just as Dustin Johnson finished his 18th hole with a birdie and the clubhouse lead. Harman promptly bogeyed 15 with a 3 putt and things did not look good. Playing ahead of the popular Rahm, Harman steadied the ship with par at 16, then made a clutch 12 footer for birdie at 16 to get back into the lead at 9 under par.
Brian comes to the 18th tee with his destiny in his hands. Candid (and sometimes hothead) Pat Perez and best-player-in-the-world-right-now Dustin Johnson are already finished and in the clubhouse at 9 under. Harman is tied with them, and a par on the par 5 18th hole puts him in a 3 way playoff. A birdie wins. But first things first, he has to hit a ball in the fairway, and promptly corks one long and center cut. Now he’s faced with 244 yards to the green and 270 yards to the hole. Uphill, with water all along the right side. Harman draws the ball (he’s a lefty), so if he overcooks one he ends up wet and loses out on the playoff. Grandstands, trees and bunkers await on the left side and are no guarantee of par. A layup is the smart choice, as he can wedge a shot close to try and make the birdie putt.
But he’s a Bulldog, literally and figuratively, so he pulls 3 wood and smokes one up against the left grandstands. After getting relief, he stubs one out of the sticky rough and is left with a slick 25 footer - not a high percentage putt. A 2 putt gets him into the playoff. Why back off now? He promptly rolls it into the hole for a 4, and wins the tournament outright.
This is the 2nd PGA Tour title for Harman, the first being the 2014 John Deere Classic, and likely moves him into the top 10 in FedEx Cup standings. Plus an automatic invitation to all the majors including next years Masters. He joins fellow Bulldog alums Hudson Swafford and Russell Henley in this season’s victory circle.
Some of us even thought he was the one to beat this week:
Brian Harman. UGA’s other lefty golfer, Harman has 3 top 10 finishes this season on Tour, and is also inside the top 100 in the world. Sneaky long, and with a streaky putter, he should do well here this week.
Ring the Bell!!! ‘Dawgs on Tour is again Dawgs on Top!!!