Adam Scott answered any critics who might have questioned his ascension to World No. 1 with a dramatic, sudden-death playoff victory over Jason Dufner at the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial on Sunday.
After Dufner stuck his approach to less than 5 feet on the second playoff hole, Scott nailed a 14-footer for birdie before Dufner could even putt to apply the pressure. After Dufner converted, Scott still seemed to have an extra pep in his step heading to 18.
The Aussie stuck his approach shot to 5 feet on the third playoff hole, while Dufner had more than 50 feet for birdie. Dufner failed to convert while Scott put his putt in the center of the hole for his 11th PGA Tour victory.
Here are 5 Things you need to know from Colonial on Sunday:
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1. FOUR! While all professional golfer chase the major grand slam, Adam Scott completed a Texas slam on Sunday, picking up his fourth win in Texas.
He had won the Shell Houston Open (2007), Byron Nelson Championship (2008) and Valero Texas Open (2010) heading into this week.
“I really wanted to win that last one in Texas,” said Scott in a post-round interview on CBS.
His come-from-behind victory came after Scott seemed destined to lose his World No. 1 status (to Henrik Stenson) and miss the cut at Colonial on Friday. But three back-nine birdies sent him back into the red Friday and he’d play his final 45 holes in 11 under.
“To claw my way back into this event, it feels really good, especially on this course,” Scott told Golf Channel.
Scott started Sunday’s final round birdie-birdie to jump into a share of the lead, but a double-bogey at the par-4 ninth seemed to derail Scott’s chances of victory. But birdies on Nos. 11 and 12 brought him back into a tie for the lead, and he took the outright lead for a while with a birdie bomb on No. 14 from more than 40 feet.
“There are no gimmes on the back nine. It’s not that easy to make birdies when you need to,” said Scott after only his eighth appearance on Tour this season, finishing in the top 25 in seven of them. Yet, he seemed to scuffle after losing his 54-hole lead at the Arnold Palmer Invitational in March, finishing T-14 at the Masters and T-38 at the Players.
Scott becomes the third player to win in his debut as the World No. 1, with Vijay Singh (2004) and David Duval (1999) also accomplishing the feat.
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2. MAKING SOME NOISE: Despite four top-10 finishes in 11 events this season, Jason Dufner hasn’t made much noise on Tour, especially heading into Colonial. His last two finishes were a missed cut at the Masters – including an opening-round 80 – and a T-48 at the Players.
But Dufner found some magic over the weekend in Fort Worth, going 69-66 to pick up his best finish since his win at the PGA Championship in 2013.
The title was there for the taking for Dufner, but some misfortune with his putter on the back nine proved costly.
Dufner had three lip-outs on the back, as well as a par miss from 3 feet on No. 11, that would have given him some momentum and potentially a sizable lead. He did get his putter going on his 72nd hole, draining a 25-footer to get into the clubhouse at 9 under and force the eventual playoff with Scott.
“I was pretty happy with how I played together. 66 is the best I could do. I had some really good putts, I thought, that had a real good chance to go in. Usually I had some sloppy putts out there that didn’t look like they’d go in. I’m glad I hung in there and finally got one to fall inside on 18,” said Dufner, who is ranked No. 22 in the OWGR.
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3. ROUTE 66: It was another banner weekend for the Thompson family, even if neither pro found their way to the winner’s circle.
While kid sister Lexi finished T-7 at the Airbus LPGA Classic behind a 6-under 66, Nicholas Thompson secured the second-best PGA Tour finish of his career. Thompson used a final-round 66 as well to vault into a tie for third at Colonial.
“I played really good today. Every putt – I don’t think I’ve had that in a round. I can’t say I made a lot of putts, but every putt I hit looked good. I mean I made a couple of putts – I didn’t make anything long, but I had some putts that were 15 to 50 feet today that really looked like they could have gone in and it just missed. All in all, I played really well,” said Thompson.
The strong finish somewhat came out of nowhere for Nicholas Thompson, as he had missed his last four cuts on Tour.
“The last four I’ve missed the cut. I didn’t play that bad. None of them were like terrible missed cuts. It hasn’t been that bad; it’s just been a couple of bad breaks here and there,” said Thompson.
Thompson managed his mistakes well this week, finishing T-10 in the field with only seven bogeys against 15 birdies.
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4. MATTER OF INCHES: Freddie Jacobson admits he had a bit too much mustard on his approach into the par-4 18th.
“It just came out flying a little bit too much. I hit it a few yards too much to the right and it came out jumping a little bit more than I thought it would. I had 135, and had to hit my sand wedge and it landed almost at the flag and just released over the back of the green,” said Jacobson after his final-round, 3-under 67.
But he nearly got away with it. Sitting on the fringe on the back, Jacobson chose to putt and the ball had eyes for the hole. “Everybody in the crowd helped me out, tried to get the ball to reach, and it almost does. But it came up just an inch short,” Jacobson relented.
The Swede would have finished in a three-way tie for the lead with that extra inch, instead he settled for his best finish since another T-3 at the Northern Trust Open in Feb. 2013. Jacobson is still in search of his second Tour victory, his only one coming in 2011 at the Travelers Championship.
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5. SHORT SHOTS: 18-hole leader Dustin Johnson posted a 4-under 66 on Sunday to move up 36 spots on the leaderboard to T-14. Johnson is projected to stay at fourth in the FedEx Cup standings. … Jordan Spieth had the lead early in the second round, but never caught fire over his final 36 holes and settled for a 1-under 69 Sunday to finish T-14 as well. … Kevin Chappell moved all the way to 9 under with birdies on his first three holes Sunday, but three consecutive bogeys on Nos. 8-10 derailed his quest for a first Tour title and landed him at T-10 behind an even-par 70. … Only four players shot in the 60s in all four rounds: Jason Dufner, Brendon Todd, Nicholas Thompson and Ryan Palmer. … David Lingmerth made the cut on the number at 1 over through 36 holes, only to post back-to-back 66s to finish T-5, his best position of the season. He came into Colonial having missed his last five cuts. … Of the four players who had shared the 54-hole lead, none broke par Sunday. David Toms had the best round with an even-par 70 to finish T-5, while Hideki Matsuyama carded a 1-over 71 for a T-10 finish. Chris Stroud (72; T-14) and Chad Campbell (74; T-30) both had back-nine woes in falling back.