Sergio Fades, Adam Scott Wins Honda Classic
Palm Beach Gardens, Florida – Adam Scott shook off a quadruple bogie 7 (+4) on the par 15th in the 3rd round to win the 2016 Honda Classic. This is his first victory since The Colonial in May 2014. Adam was number one in the Official World Golf Rankings, and defending Masters Champion back then, but a lot has changed. He dropped to 13th in the world, and the USGA banned the long putter (with an anchoring point on the player) that gave him his most recent success. He became a father in 2015, and has been struggling with a life balance. After the completion of this week’s tournament, he climbed back to ninth in the world, proved he could win with a standard putter, and said, “It feels great to have my family life under control.”
The Honda Classic was a two-man race between Adam Scott and Sergio Garcia the entire day. On the first tee they were tied at -9 under par. Scott quickly changed that and took advantage of a great iron shot hit to 12 feet by making the birdie putt. Sergio missed the green and got up and down, having to make a 6 foot par putt. The tone was set for the final round. Sergio did not have a birdie putt within 20 feet on the front nine, having to consistently scramble to shoot an even par, 35. Adam Scott made a 9 foot birdie putt on the par 3 5th after another great iron shot on the way to posting a -1 under, 34.
The Champion at PGA National demands good shots, not to score, but to just make par. Re-designed by Jack Nicklaus in 2014, it is as hard of a test the PGA Tour will see this season. “If you can win here, you can win a major,” said 2015 Honda Classic and 3 time major champion winner Padraig Harrington.
Only 13 players finished under par for the tournament. On other courses you can grind, be patient, and get a shot back on an easier hole. At The Champion, it just gets harder. For the whole week, Adam Scott played the back nine in +1 over, compared to -10 under on the front. Similarly, Sergio played the front in -8 under, and the back nine even par.
The back nine contains the infamous Bear Trap, also known as, Golf’s Bermuda Triangle. An incredible 3-hole stretch from the 15th to 17th designed by Jack to separate the contenders from the pretenders. With evil Sunday pin locations making it even more of a challenge, all three greens are closely surrounded with a mixture of sand and water. When describing The Bear Trap, Jack said, “it is not about length, it’s about precision, it’s about guts, it’s about what do you have in your chest that can finish those holes.”
“It was nice to hit good shots coming in,” Adam Scott said after his round. “it is a tough track, hard to get it close.” Sergio bogied the 16th and 17th holes after poor approach shots that missed both greens. This gave Adam a comfortable lead going into the 18th and final hole of the tournament.
Garcia only hit 61% of the greens in regulation during the final round, the lowest of all four rounds. He shot 71 (+1). Scott only scored one better than him, but there are such things as easy and hard pars. On a challenging course, against an opponent in Adam that is making over 80% of putts between 4 to 8 feet, even scrambling at a high level will not get it done.
“I gave it my all,” Sergio said after another disappointing final round when in contention to win. It is no surprise that a course where good ball striking is a premium Sergio is tied for the lead on Sunday. With his history, it is also no surprise he finished second. This is Garcia’s 15th runner-up finish on the PGA Tour, compared to 8 wins. This is also the 13th time he has had the lead or a share of it going into the final round. Sergio has won only 3 of those times.
Adam Scott’s 2016 Honda Classic Victory gave him his 12th win. This is the most out of any active player under the age of 40. He also jumped to 3rd in the Fed-Ex Cup standings for this season and acquired his 4th top 10 finish. If he continues to putt like he has to start this year, he may crash the park out party Jason Day, Jordan Spieth, and Rickie Fowler have been throwing in his absence.
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