All eyes were on Phil Mickelson and Adam Hadwin, but it was Adam Long who got it done.
Long, a 31-year-old PGA Tour rookie, sank a 14-foot birdie putt on the final hole of the TPC Stadium Course at PGA West www.pgawest.com in La Quinta to win the 60th Desert Classic by one stroke over Mickelson and Hadwin.
It was Long’s first professional victory.
“I’m in disbelief; I don’t know what just happened,” said Long, who was making his sixth start on the PGA Tour after playing the last five seasons on the Web.com Tour. “It was one of those putts where you stood over it and just knew you were going to make it.
“It was huge playing (in the final threesome) with Phil. I’ve been a fan of his all my life. And Adam, too. I was just running in the background, doing my thing and just trying to hang in there.
“This might seem like it came out of nowhere, but my game has steadily progressed and has been trending upward the last two years.”
Long closed with a bogey-free 65 to post a winning score of 26-under 262, making birdies on four of the last seven holes. He set up his winning put with a brilliant approach shot from 175 yards off a severe downhill, sidehill lie.
Mickelson, 48, trying to win for the 44th time on the PGA Tour, led most of the first three rounds after opening with a 60, but wasn’t quite as sharp while closing with a 69. Still, he regained a tie for the lead with birdies on the 15th and 16th holes.
“I played OK today, but I just really struggled on the greens,” said Lefty, who has won the Desert Classic twice and was playing for the first time in 2019. “That was the worst I’ve putted in a while and I just felt awful with the putter. I missed a lot of short putts.”
Hadwin, from Canada, took the lead with six birdies on the first 11 holes, but couldn’t make another one the rest of the way while closing with a 67.
Talor Gooch was two shots back in fourth after a 64 and Dominic Bozzelli finished four down following a 66, while seventh-ranked Jon Rahm of Spain, the defending champion, shot 67 and was five behind in sixth.
Vaughn Taylor totaled 66 and wound up seven strokes back in a tie for seventh with J.T. Poston, who had a 69, while Patrick Cantlay of Los Alamitos and UCLA closed with a 71 to finish eight shots behind in a tie for ninth with Sean O’Hair, who had a 69, and Michael Thompson, who came in at 71.
Top-ranked Justin Rose of England tied for 34th with a 70.
For complete results, visit https://www.pgatour.com/competition/2019/desert-classic/leaderboard.html