Humana Challenge champion Brian Gay celebrates as he lifts the Bob Hope Memorial Trophy at PGA West on Jan. 20, 2013, in La Quinta, Calif. Gay, who won the trophy in a playoff with Charles Howell III and David Lingmerth, shot 25 under par. The 2013 Humana Challenge was held January 14-20 at PGA West in La Quinta.
Photograph by: Rodrigo Pena, AP
LA QUINTA, Calif. — Brian Gay won the Humana Challenge on Sunday, beating Charles Howell III with a 5 ½ foot birdie putt on the second hole of a playoff after front-running Scott Stallings gave away a large lead.
Gay closed with a 9-under 63 on PGA West’s Arnold Palmer Private Course to match Howell and Swedish rookie David Lingmerth at 25-under 263.
Howell shot a 64, and Lingmerth had a 62. Stallings, five strokes ahead entering the round, bogeyed the final hole for a 70 to miss the playoff by a stroke.
The 41-year-old Gay began the round six strokes behind Stallings.
“The thoughts were, ‘Just be aggressive, shoot as low as you can,’ ” Gay said. “I knew Scott was five ahead. Even with a great round, a really low round, it would be tough to catch him, if at all. I played great on the front, just tried to stay aggressive and shoot low.”
Gay and Howell opened the playoff with birdies on the par-5 18th and Lingmerth dropped out with a bogey after hitting his approach into the water.
Gay won on the par-4 10th, hitting a perfect drive and putting his 9-iron second shot in good position below the hole. Howell drove into the right rough, hit his second into the back bunker, blasted out to 15 feet and two-putted for bogey.
“I’m still in a little bit of shock,” Gay said. “It kind of happened so fast there at the end the way things went down. Last year was a struggle. It was a long year, a lot of work. I just wanted to come out this year kind of refocused, recharged and believing in myself.”
Howell tied for second a week after opening the season with a third-place tie in Hawaii in the Sony Open. He won the last of his two tour titles in 2007.
“Anybody that says that golf is fun or whatever, has really not done it for a living,” said Howell. “I would never characterize this as fun. It’s different than that. It’s awfully challenging mentally and the chances to win are what we want.”
After birdieing nine of the first 13 holes, Gay finished regulation with five straight pars. On the 18th, he missed the green to the right and failed to hole an eight-foot birdie try.
“I felt like I gave one back with a par on 18 there,” said Gay. “Was fortunate enough to feel like I had a second chance with two guys left that didn’t birdie the hole. Kind of a second chance, if you will. I was happy to be in the playoff at that point.”
Calgary’s Stephen Ames had his fourth straight round in the 60s, closing with a 4-under 68 to finish at 17-under 271. Ames eagled the eighth hole, only to have double-bogey the 10th
Ottawa’s Brad Fritsch and Graham DeLaet of Weyburn, Sask., finished at 13-under 275 for the tourney. Fritsch carded a final-round 70, while DeLaet had a 69.
Jamie Donaldson won the Abu Dhabi Championship by one shot Sunday for the biggest victory of his career, with Justin Rose narrowly missing a birdie putt on the 18th which would have forced a playoff. Rose’s eight-foot putt rimmed out of the hole, giving the Welshman his second European Tour victory after a final round 68 for an overall 14-under 274. Rose (71) threw his club up in the air in frustration while Donaldson flashed a relieved smile. Rose shared second with Thorbjorn Olesen (69), who also failed to force a playoff on the 18th when his 15-foot birdie putt rolled past the hole.
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