Brian Gay (pictured) won his fourth US PGA Tour title in the Humana Challenge on Sunday but this was more a tournament that Scott Stallings lost. Gay clinched the win on the second hole of a play-off after tying with Charles Howell and David Lingmerth during regulation play.
Stallings led by five shots ahead of the final round and extended that lead to six before other players began a birdie blitz. It didn’t help that Stallings missed a putt of less than two foot to record his first bogey of the week at the seventh hole.
As Stallings stood on the par 5 18th fairway with a six iron his hand ready to play his second shot he knew a birdie would be good enough to secure his third main Tour win. He seemed to hurry his shot and hit his ball into a hazard. He was unable to hole the resulting eight foot par putt which meant he didn’t even make the play-off.
Lingmerth was eliminated at the first extra hole and Gay secured the win with a par on the next after Charles Howell had bogeyed the hole. Gay had begun the day six shots behind Stallings and required a nine under par round of 63 to make the play-off.
Gay won two tournaments in 2009 but has failed to add to his tally since then. He generally does well on relatively short courses that put a premium on accuracy over distance. He was sixth for strokes saved putting last year so winning on the desert courses that hosted the Humana Challenge was not unexpected.
This is because the tournament turned into a birdie fest. The courses and pin positions are set up to be not too demanding to allow the amateurs that play over the first three days to enjoy the golf without feeling intimidated by the courses. Gay holed the most crucial putts but still required Stallings to waste his opportunity to claim the win.
On The European Tour Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy both missed the cut in the Abu Dhabi Championship. That seemed to provide Justin Rose with a great chance to start his season with a win. The world number five led by four shots towards the end of the third round and had a two shot cushion before play began on Sunday.
However, Jamie Donaldson from Wales won for the second time on the European Tour after Rose lipped out from eight feet on the final green to come up a shot short. McIlroy now has a four week break to get used to his new Nike clubs in practice while Woods returns to the States to play in the Farmers Insurance Open.