Brendon Todd falls short of third straight victory, but what a run it was

Stephen B. Morton/AP

Brendon Todd falls short of third straight victory, but what a run it was

PGA Tour

Brendon Todd falls short of third straight victory, but what a run it was

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ST. SIMON’S ISLAND, Ga. – Brendon Todd’s glorious run on the PGA Tour stalled on Sunday when the 54-hole-leader of the RSM Classic ran out of gas in his attempt to win his third straight start on the PGA Tour.

“I was definitely tired on the back nine, and with no momentum going, no birdies through 14 holes, it just seemed like I couldn’t summon the energy to make some birdies,” said Todd, who shot 2-over 72 to finish fourth.

Back-to-back victories at the Bermuda Championship and Mayakoba Golf Classic lifted Todd into the conversation for a Presidents Cup captain’s pick as he attempted to become the first player to win in three consecutive weeks on the Tour schedule since Tiger Woods in 2006, and the first to win three consecutive starts since Dustin Johnson in 2017.

RSM CLASSIC: Scores | Gallery | Schedule, results | Trophies

“Coming into the weekend I figured that he was going to be someone that was going to make a run for it, the golf that he’s been playing,” said Tyler Duncan, who won in a sudden-death playoff. “We were talking about if anyone had won three consecutive golf tournaments in a row and he’s found something and he’s been playing some unbelievable golf.”

If Todd’s brilliant third round 8-under 62 at Sea Island Resort’s Seaside Course on Saturday was “like a video game out there,” as he put it, Sunday’s round was more like a pinball machine on tilt.

“I didn’t feel I was in the zone,” Todd said. “I was in this just like adrenaline‑fueled zone the last three weeks and I couldn’t get there today. I think it just didn’t start out very good and I wasn’t able to kind of — once a bogey happens, then you’re just in this weird fight‑or‑flight mentality, so it kind of took all my positive energy away.”

Todd entered the final round with a two-stroke lead, but it evaporated quickly as Webb Simpson, who lost in a playoff, birdied two of the first three holes. Todd’s round took a turn for the worse at the fifth hole when he attempted to punch a 7-iron into the wind and blocked it right into a hazard. It was a 4-iron in 2015 that sailed 50 yards right of his target snd led to Todd’s struggles with the full-swing yips. But Todd said that fear of a reoccurrence wasn’t a factor in his miscue.

Of the stray shot that led to a double bogey, Todd said, “I felt like I made a pretty good swing. I was a little aggressive with my line, I was going pretty much right at it because I thought the wind was in off the right and I feel like the wind switched off the left. So the second it got moving right, it just moved hard right.  Probably just a situation where Webb tied me up and I was trying to play aggressive and I just kind of got caught there on a wind switch.”

Todd did himself no favors in that his putter cooled off more than the weather, which dipped into the low 60s. Todd missed a series of makeable birdie and par putts – all to the right. Through his first 11 holes, he had made 22 feet of putts and ranked No. 70 of 76 in the field in Strokes Gained: Putting.

“One of those days,” Todd lamented. “The greens were fast again and the pins were tucked a little more and the wind was blowing harder. I think it was really just the wind. I mean, nobody in our group made a putt through 14 holes, not one really that I can think of. It was just a tough day on the greens for everybody.”

When Todd finally canned a 7-foot birdie putt, he raised his arms in mock celebration as if he’d just won the tournament. His final-round 2-over par 72 snapped a string of 12 consecutive rounds of 68 or better dating to the final round of the Houston Open. The streak was the second longest since 1983, trailing only Tiger Woods’ 14 rounds of 68 or better from the 2007 Dell Technologies Championship (R2) through the 2008 Farmers Insurance Open (R3).

What a difference a year makes for Todd. Flash back to last November and he had to shoot 61 to Monday Qualify into the RSM Classic. After contemplating a career change, he posted four rounds in the 60s in the tournament, and his T-54 here gave him the shot of confidence to continue his comeback. He said he would enjoy some time off and be raring to go at the winners-only Sentry Tournament of Champions at Kapalua Resort in Maui.

“Now I’m sort of flying high, my game’s really there, I’m confident and I know how to navigate the golf courses and my swing and my putting,” Todd said. “I’m looking forward to picking my schedule next year and going every week and trying to get under par and get in contention.”

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