Here’s a recap of the final round of the Desert Classic in La Quinta, Calif.
WINNER: Golf is a funny game. That showed again Sunday when a man with barely any PGA Tour experience beat a legend.
Adam Long drained a 14-footer for birdie on the 72nd hole to win by a single shot over Phil Mickelson and Adam Hadwin. That clutch putt punctuated a 7-under 65 and a 26-under total.
Mickelson, who began the day with a two-shot lead and looked in line for a wire-to-wire win, already owned 43 PGA Tour titles. This tournament marked Long’s sixth career PGA Tour start.
He had played on the Web.com Tour, Mackenzie Tour and PGA Tour Latinoamerica and didn’t win on any of those circuits. Yet, he’s now quickly got his first win on the PGA Tour.
The 31-year-old Duke grad began the day birdie-birdie and made four more before reaching the 18th. He came to the 72nd hole tied with Mickelson and Hadwin. A missed drive right left Long an awkward second shot that he played brilliantly 14 feet under the hole.
Hadwin missed the green and could only scramble for par. Mickelson’s 38-footer for birdie just finished low of the cup. (He also barely missed a 30-footer for birdie and the outright lead at the 71st hole.)
That left Long his big opportunity and he took advantage.
The PGA Tour rookie opened his 2018-19 campaign with a T-63 at the Safeway Open but followed up with three straight missed cuts. So this win was totally out of nowhere.
This game never ceases to amaze.
JUST MISSED: An agonizing miss for Mickelson, a two-time winner at this event. He started his 2019 opener in 12-under 60 and seemed destined for a wire-to-wire triumph. He settled for T-2 at 25 under instead with a closing 3-under 69. Hadwin, who shot 59 at this tournament two years ago, actually had the lead going to the back nine after an opening 31. But he made just one birdie and one bogey on his final nine as he also tied for second.
SHOT OF THE DAY: Do you really need to ask what this one will be?
SHORT SHOTS: Talor Gooch played his first 11 holes of the round in 7 under and ultimately fired an 8-under 64 to finish at 24 under. That was good for solo fourth. … Jon Rahm offered a solid title defense as he placed sixth at 21 under. … Justin Rose tied for 34th at 14 under. … Curtis Luck finished the week 76-75 to go from solo second after 36 holes to a T-70 showing.