SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Gary Woodland’s par on the first playoff was enough to defeat Chez Reavie to win the Waste Management Phoenix Open Sunday.
Woodland had to come from behind just to get into the playoff. He birdied three of the last four holes down the stretch to card a 7-under 64 in the final round and finish regulation at 18-under. It was the low round of the day.
Reavie, who forced the playoff with two clutch birdies on 17 and 18, had a bogey 5 on the extra hole.
This is the third consecutive year that extra holes were needed to determine a champion.
It was an emotional win for Woodland, who has battled injuries and family tragedy to get back into the winners circle for the first time since 2013. The three-time Tour winner moves into the fifth spot in the FedExCup standings.
Rickie Fowler, the 54-hole leader, had a slim one-shot lead entering the final round but faded down the stretch, bogeying the final three holds. His 2-over 73 was the highest round of the field.
Another tournament attendance record was set this year at 719,179. Sunday’s crowd of 64,000 was tiny compared to the nearly 217,000 who attended Saturday.
GARY WOODLAND (67-68-67-64)
“It’s just been coming for the last couple years I’ve put three rounds together, I just haven’t played a tournament in five years where I put four rounds together.
“I put myself in a lot of positions to win I have a lot of second place finishes the last four or five years I just haven’t done it and that adds up, that adds a lot of pressure. A lot of people, I have a lot of people around me which is a good thing but everybody expects you to play well and when you don’t have the results, that’s tough.
“So this validates that we’re doing the right things and I believe I have a long way to go, but I believe I have a lot of time to do that and I’m excited about what the future holds.”
CHEZ REAVIE (68-65-67-66 | lost in playoff)
“Oh, it’s fantastic,” he said on his hometown support. “They’re so fun and being a hometown guy, everyone’s rooting me on. It’s really a lot of fun. To finally contend and have a chance to win this tournament and work my way up the FedExCup, it’s really exciting. Yeah, I grew up here in Mesa, 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.
“I’ve been playing solid seems every week and I just need more experiences like this and sooner or later I’ll hold the trophy.”
JON RAHM (67-68-65-72 | T11)
“Once I had that shot on 15 go in the water I just thought that unless I finished hole-in-one, eagle, birdie or something like that, there was no chance. So I fought to the end, tried to make a birdie on 18, tried to get into the top-10. It’s just things that happen, it’s golf, it just happens.
“It wasn’t my worst round, I played good. It’s just, it would be a lot harder to just to fight to make cuts or just not to make cuts, and try to fight for 30th place. I should be happy and humble, but fact that my bad days I’m still competing to be top-10, if not win. But at some point it’s going to happen and hopefully I will win again.”
Video – Jon Rahm on his performance:
RICKIE FOWLER (66-66-67-73 | T11)
“Just couldn’t buy a putt. That’s one of the best clubs in my bag. I felt like I hit a lot of good putts, so it was a little disappointing to not see really anything go in on the back nine. I think that was kind of the biggest letdown. That’s typically a club I can lean on. I know I’m a good putter, I putted well all week. And, yeah, we just — kept hitting good putts and either they were misreads or they were doing something funky, but maybe the hole was moving, they just didn’t want to go in.”
“I love this place. The course and I most of the time we get along well. Yesterday I stepped up and played well coming in. And today it wasn’t really anything much different, just didn’t make anything, had a couple bad breaks in a way. I don’t feel like I made necessarily bad swings, more like bad contact on the face that caused the ball to kind of do what it did. So, no, keep pushing. But, yeah a little bummed that I didn’t really make anything on the back nine to at least move up and have a chance.”
PHIL MICKELSON (70-65-66-69 | T5)
“I think that my game’s gotten better each week, my focus is getting better each week and I’m going to a golf course that I’ve played very well on in the past. So I’m hoping that it continues to build on this. This shouldn’t just be a one week deal, I should be getting better and better as the weeks go on.”’
Video – Phil on his week:
DAWGS ON THE COURSE
You never know who you might run into at Waste Management. Former Washington Husky football player Brack Jaskey has been a tournament volunteer for the last five years and on Sunday was captaining the ridge above 6 green. The linebacker played under legendary coach Don James on teams that went to two Rose Bowls and a Sun Bowl. Now a retired attorney who divides his time between Florida and Arizona, Jaskey got major YouTube exposure Wednesday when he corralled the streaker cavorting on the 17th hole. The retired attorney looks like he could still tackle, but Jaskey instead calmly convinced the guy to finally stop and sit on the fairway.
Jaskey’s final take on the weirdness, “It’s never a good idea to go splashing around in bunker when you’re naked and sweaty.”