Golf is a hard game. Incredibly hard, really. But even when mother nature and the race against time seemed to conspire to make life difficult, Sweden’s Jonas Blixt overcame it all to win the 2013 Greenbrier Classic.
Delayed several hours by storms passing through West Virginia, Blixt began Sunday’s final round of play at 10-under, a full four strokes back of 54-hole leader Johnson Wagner. At the turn, Blixt had made up some of the ground with two birdies to move to -12.
Alternating birdies and bogeys to open the back nine, it didn’t look like he’d be able to make up the ground needed, but when Wagner made three bogeys on the back nine, victory became a real possibility. Finishing the final holes as darkness fell, Blixt’s score of -13 gave him a two-stroke cushion. When Wagner and Jimmy Walker both failed to make their tying hole-in-one attempts at the 18th, it all became official.
For Blixt, the victory is his second on the PGA Tour in as many years. Last year, he found victory as a rookie at the Frys.com Open, and this win marks a huge turnaround in the Swede’s 2013 season.
Coming into the Greenbrier, Blixt had made just eight cuts in 16 total events on tour, with only two finishes inside the top-25. He came close to cracking the top-10 at Colonial, where he tied for 11th, but he certainly must have expected a better start to his sophomore campaign.
This win will certainly be a nice boost as he earns not just the winner’s check, but also 500 FedEx Cup points, and spots in this month’s Open Championship and next April’s Masters.
Most impressively, Blixt displayed the kind of consistency that will win lots of tournaments on Tour. Even though he wasn’t the biggest or most accurate driver, he pretty much putted the lights out, making at least five birdies every day this week. Even with the occasional bogey or two, Blixt converted on the opportunities nearly every time they presented themselves.
“Just so many dreams come true,” Blixt said in post-round interviews as darkness fell. “Just one week and the whole year kind of turns around.”
Momentum is a funny thing in golf. Now that he’s gotten over the victory hump, it’ll be interesting to see just what he does with it.