WASHINGTON: James Hahn parred the first hole of a sudden death playoff on Sunday (Monday in Manila) to beat Roberto Castro for the Wells Fargo Championship title and end months of misery on the PGA Tour.
America’s Hahn arrived at Quail Hollow in Charlotte, North Carolina, this week having missed eight straight cuts. He hadn’t produced a round in the 60s since February.
He had to fight back tears after sinking a four-foot par putt at Quail Hollow’s demanding 18th to seal his second career title.
“Eight straight missed cuts is tough,” Hahn said. “You start to question yourself_are you good enough, will it ever happen again?”
But he needed only a routine par for the victory as Castro was in trouble right away in the playoff, sending his tee shot into the stream guarding the fairway.
His third shot from the bank landed in the shoe of a spectator near the green and after his chip rolled past the pin he settled for a bogey.
“It’s crazy to call myself a two-time PGA Tour champion,” Hahn said. “To do this on the first playoff hole is amazing.”
Both Hahn and Castro finished 72 holes at nine-under 279, one shot in front of England’s Justin Rose.
Hahn, who earned his first career title via a playoff at the 2015 Northern Trust Open in Los Angeles, bogeyed the 18th in regulation to cap a 70 while Castro closed with a 71.
Rose carded a 71 for solo third place on 280.
Five-time major winner Phil Mickelson and Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy led a group on 281, both climbing up the leaderboard with 66s.
They were joined by overnight leader Rickie Fowler, who carded a 74, and Andrew Loupe, who signed for a 71.
Castro had seized the lead with a birdie at 15, but bogeyed 16 and 17 to let Hahn move one ahead.
Hahn missed a chance to close it out in regulation when his seven-footer for par at the 72nd hole failed to drop.
Castro then salvaged a par from the right rough at 18 to force the playoff, but he couldn’t master the notorious hole again.
Eighteen was tough on McIlroy as well. He was four-over on the hole for the week, including a bogey there on Sunday.
“Any time you walk off the golf course and soot 66, you can’t be too disappointed,” said McIlroy, who nevertheless regretted that he “had a chance on the back nine to post a number for the guys to at least think about, and I didn’t”.
Fowler had more to regret, after a round that included a double-bogey at the seventh and three bogeys.
“Obviously it sucks,” Fowler said of his collapse. “It’s disappointing knowing where my game was at coming into today. I felt really good about being in the final group and getting the job done. But yeah, some little off swings off the tee and then catching that mud ball on seven—not exactly good fortune.”