Brian Gay Wins Birdie Fest At Humana Challenge

By Les Bailey
Brian Gay
Allan Henry-USA TODAY Sports

It was very apparent there were no top line players in contention at the Humana Challenge on Sunday in the California Desert, nobody wanted to win. I am of the opinion there are good golfers, very good golfers, and great golfers. We had some good golfers on the leader-board Sunday in LaQuinta at The PGA West Palmer Course, and they all looked like a deer in the headlights coming down the stretch.  Brian Gay, a 19 year pro with only two previous tour wins, emerged as your winner.

When Saturday leader, Scott Stallings hit the worst shot of the weekend on the 72nd hole, it left a group of three good golfers with a chance to win a tournament. All Stallings had to do on the par 5 18th hole, was make a birdie, but an errant six-iron that found the hazard left him having to chip in from the fringe to make the playoff. He didn’t make it, and watched as Brian Gay, Charles Howell, and David Lingmerth go back to 18 to identify a winner.

Lingmerth made a bogey on the first playoff hole as Charles Howell and Gay went to the tenth hole to settle it, and let us get back to the football game. On the final playoff hole, it was all about the drive. Brian Gay put his approach shot to eight feet, and put the pressure directly on Howell. Gay had two putts to put it away, and did. He would win the tournament, and grab the FedEx Cup lead.

Lower tier players are scrambling to secure positions on the money list in the shortened season, as 2013 earnings will end at the Tour Championship for the first time, and there will be no Fall Series for them to pad their stats, to secure their tour cards for 2014. Everything will return to normal in 2014, as earnings after the Tour Championship will count for for the following year.

Phil Mickelson could never recover from the first day when he shot 72 while not feeling well. Lefty was too far back in a tournament where one needed to shoot at least 69 in the first three rounds to even make the cut. He played well, shooting 66 in each of the final two days, but he finished at 17 under par, eight strokes in back of the -25 needed to make the playoff.

Action will get underway on Thursday at Torrey Pines with a full field of top players including world number two, Tiger Woods after his debacle at Abu Dhabi where the much awaited shootout between Rory McIlroy and Woods was short circuited. Neither made the cut.

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