Published: Wed, February 07, 2018
Entertaiment | By Minnie Bishop

Gary Woodland's victory came with a special surprise on the 18th green

Gary Woodland's victory came with a special surprise on the 18th green

Gary Woodland shot a seven-under 64 to charge up the leaderboard and win the Phoenix Open - his first victory since 2013 - on Sunday. His collapse hardly dispelled his reputation as a player who struggles to close out the deal, having converted only one of six 54-hole leads on the PGA Tour into a victory.

Mickelson almost got into a playoff with Chez Reavie and Gary Woodland on Sunday.

Ollie Schniederjans and Brendan Steele tied for third place at 15-under. Very noisy. Players such as Fowler embrace it, as does Phil Mickelson, who looked like a possible victor when he birdied the 15th, 16th and 17th, but then came a awful double-bogey on the final hole which dropped him back into a tie for fifth place.

For a player who went through so much last season Woodland played remarkably well in all areas except one.

"We're just building, we're going to keep growing, keep getting better, I still got some work to do".

After tapping in to win it, Woodland pointed to the sky, then did his CBS interview with son Jaxon in his arms.

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"My first couple years out here I spent a lot of time with Fax, and played a lot of practice rounds with him", Woodland said. My caddie asked me when I got done, did I know I made nine birdies. But Sharma made four birdies in a row from the fourth to get within two of the lead and then holed a long putt on the ninth to turn in 31 and cut the gap to one.

The two returned to the tee on No. 18, with Woodland driving it into the bunker. Unfortunately I missed the birdie on the last hole. "I feel like I have a good chance to win here at some point in my career".

"I played great all week", Reavie said.

Mickelson birdie three consecutive holes to reach the par-5 18th hole two shots behind Woodland, who had completed his round and headed for the practice range in preparation for a potential playoff.

Woodland, 33, won his first tournament at the age of 26, his second at 28. "The caddie told me today, "hey, this has been building, this is coming", and sure enough today it all clicked and I made some putts early, gave me some confidence and really hit the ball well coming down the stretch".

I'm really looking forward to seeing how Rory McIlroy gets on this week at the Pebble Beach Pro-Am, where he faces a top quality field. He struggled to a 74 but earned a top-10 finish.

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