–Photo by Gordon Seay
Matthieu Pavon of France is a winner on the PGA Tour for the first time.
The 31-year-old Pavon sank an eight-foot birdie putt on the last hole to cap a three-under par 69 and defeat Nicolai Hojgaard of Denmark by one stroke in the 72nd version of the Farmers Insurance Open on the South Course at Torrey Pines Golf Course in La Jolla.
“I have no words, this is amazing,” said Pavon, who won in his 11th start on the PGA Tour. “I can’t thank the PGA Tour enough to give us the opportunity to come from Europe and compete here in America against the best players in the world.
“That’s always been the dream for me. I finally got a shot and I took it. It’s been a long journey. I waited seven years to win back in Europe. This is just tremendous and I’m glad I haven’t cried yet.
“Yeah, I still can’t believe it. As I said, it feels like there is another round to play tomorrow because we’re only on Saturday.”
Pavon, who has won five times in Europe including the 2023 Acconia de Espana in October, also made four birdies on the front nine and a clutch 24-foot par putt on the 16th hole while recording a winning score of 13-under-par 265. He is the first Frenchman to win on the PGA Tour since World War II.
Hojgaard, playing in the final group with Pavon, put the pressure on with birdies on the 14th and 18th holes, but fell one shot short with his 70.
“I had to dig deep, I had to grind and that’s part of it,” said Hojgaard, who has won four times as a pro, but not yet on the PGA Tour after his second runner-up finish. “Obviously, I love the grind when you’re out there and you can feel the nerves and you miss a couple things and you try to work on stuff.”
“I’ve got a bigger picture here. We’re on the right path, we’re doing some good things. There’s a lot of things we can do better, that’s a good thing. We’re going to regroup now, we’ve got a few more days now preparing for Pebble Beach next week. I’m excited for the future. I’m sure I’m going to get it over the line at some point. It’s about being patient and just stay calm.
“And obviously you’ve got to enjoy this as well. You’ve got to take your losses with a smile sometimes because it makes you stronger. I definitely, I’ll definitely do my best to get a couple shots better.”
Stephan Jaeger of Germany, who led after the second and third rounds, closed with a 72 with a birdie on the last hole for a 72 and finished two shots behind in a tie for third with Nate Lashley, who birdied the last two holes for a 67, and Jake Knapp, who made three birdies down the stretch for a 69.
Kevin Yu of Taiwan shot a bogey-free 67 and wound up three down in a tie for sixth with Beau Hossler of Rancho Santa Margarita, who sank an 18-foot eagle putt on the last home for a 68, Patrick Rodgers of Stanford, who birdied the last hole for a 69, and Tony Finau, who made four birdies on the front nine in another 69.
Fifth-ranked Xander Schauffele of La Jolla and San Diego State birdied the last hole for a 70 5o finish four strokes behind in a tie for ninth with Patrick Rodgers of Stanford, who had only one bogey in a 69, Ludvig Aberg of Sweden, who eagled the sixth hole in a 70, and Taylor Pendrith of Canada, who had two birdies on each nine in a 71.
Seventh-ranked Mas Homa of Valencia and Cal, the defending Farmers champion, wound up in a tie for 13th after an eagle on the sixth hole and a closing birdie for a 69, while sixth-ranked Patrick Cantlay of Los Alamitos and UCLA struggled to a 75 with only one birdie and tied for 56th.
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