Gary Woodland keeps his cool to claim Phoenix Open title


The long-hitting Woodland credited his victory to an improved short game. The two spoke on the phone on Saturday night, right before Woodland scorched the greens at TPC Scottsdale for a final-round 64. "It's obviously been a long year for us, but I'm very happy to be holding him and to be where I'm at right now".

The fix was more mental than mechanical, Woodland said, and it's clearly working. He was excited where his game was going, especially with the putter, as Woodland ranked eighth in strokes gained: putting entering Phoenix.

Justin Thomas may not be quite so willing to return.

Just like that, he had played the last four holes in 3-under, seven shots better than the day before.

“I carried the sign board here growing up when I was in high school and junior high and to have a chance to win the tournament this week was a lot of fun, ” Reavie said. "I didn't think he was going to be there, I thought it would just be her, and for her to bring him out, that was special and something I'll never forget".

Those four holes included a double-bogey/bogey hiccup on 16/17 at the end of the first round, plus a triple-bogey/double-bogey pileup on 15/16 at the end of the third. His 19-foot birdie try grazed the edge of the cup, and he spun around and yelled in frustration.

"I knew there was some birdie holes down the stretch. Luckily it wasn't on Sunday and I have another day to try to have another good round".

4 Ollie Schniederjans keeps getting closer to that first win. "I felt like I needed to birdie the last two". "So it's been nice to have him on the road the last five weeks". However, Phil Mickelson cited the galleries as part of his Saturday success.

Sharma birdied the par five 13th and hit the flag with his pitch into the next to set up another birdie and lead by two.

Alas, Mickelson simply ran out of holes. And so Woodland and Reavie headed back to the 18th tee.

Woodland also won in 2011 at Innisbrook and in 2013 in Nevada.

"I played pretty solid and it wasn't easy because it was windy", said the 21-year-old. He will now head to Pebble Beach, Calif., for next week's AT&T Pro-Am.

Martin Laird had given himself a shot at winning after reaching the turn in 31, but the wheels came off for the Scot on the back nine.

"It's a collection of courses I really like", Mickelson said.

Reavie is a local Scottsdale resident who played for Arizona State in college. "There's no reason why I shouldn't". That is the difference between Woodland's $1,242,00 and second place money. After a bogey on the par-3 16th, he chipped to 3 feet for birdie on the par-4 17th.

The pair finished locked together on 266, 18 under par, after Reavie holed a sensational putt on the 72nd green to force a playoff.

The second-place finish was the best of the season for Reavie, who finished 18th at the Sony Open in Hawaii and 52nd at the CareerBuilder Challenge in La Quinta, Calif.

Following top-three finishes in his first two starts of 2018, McIlroy will be seeking his first win for more than 500 days (16 months) when he joins Lowry, Pádraig Harrington, Graeme McDowell, Seamus Power and sponsor's invitee Paul Dunne in California. Not bad, for him, but he still has room for improvement. The question was, could Woodland do what he had not done in 5 tour season?