Hoge holds off Spieth for first PGA title

American golfer fires final-round 68 to win Pebble Beach Pro-Am


AFP February 07, 2022

LOS ANGELES:

Tom Hoge out-dueled former world number one Jordan Spieth down the stretch to win the Pebble Beach Pro-Am on Sunday, capturing his first US PGA Tour title with a final-round 68.

Hoge trailed Spieth by one stroke through 15 holes. He hit his second shot from the fairway at 16 within inches and tapped in for birdie as Spieth made bogey from a greenside bunker at the 17th, leaving Hoge one shot up.

The 32-year-old pushed his lead to two strokes with a 22-foot birdie putt at the 17th and closed with a par for a 19-under total of 268.

Spieth, a three-time major winner whose 12 tour titles include the 2017 Pebble Beach crown, finished with a three-under 69 for 270.

American Beau Hossler was alone in third after a 71 for 271.

"Feels pretty good," the 68th-ranked Hoge said of the victory in his 203rd career start.

Hoge, runner-up at La Quinta two weeks ago, said that in the past he's found himself uncomfortable after playing himself into contention, but not on Sunday.

"It's awesome," he said. "You work through so many hard times, to finally pull one off feels incredible."

Hoge had held the first-round lead and shared the overnight lead with Hossler and Andrew Putnam.

But it took most of 18 holes to separate himself on a day when five players shared the lead as the final group approached the turn.

After a birdie at the third, Hoge had a double-bogey at the fifth, rebounding with birdies at the sixth and seventh before a bogey at the eighth.

He regained some momentum with a birdie at 11, then rolled in a 17-foot birdie at the 14th.

"It was a weird day because I felt like I made a few too many mistakes early on, so I was kind of out if it," he said. "And I looked up and I was still in the game making the turn.

"Luckily I made a few putts finally on the back nine."

Solid Spieth

Spieth had three birdies and a bogey on the front nine, but moved into the lead with back-to-back birdies at 12 and 13. His 15-foot birdie effort at 14 burned the edge and at 15 his shot out of the rough clipped a tree and finished short of the green and he settled for par.

Down by one after missing a five-footer to save par at 17, he was in the long fairway bunker at the 18.

"Solid week," Spieth said. "Obviously anytime I'm tied for the lead or in the lead the back nine on Sunday it's very disappointing if you don't win.

"Today I felt a little off with my driver, but I felt like I hit a lot of shots exactly where I wanted to.”

"A couple of yards here or there, or a couple of inches here or there on the greens," was the difference, added Spieth, whose week will be remembered more for his daredevil second shot at the eighth hole on Saturday, where his drive landed inches from a 70-foot cliff and he stepped up to the edge to take the shot rather than take a drop.

Spieth said he hadn't felt he was in "real true danger of losing my life" but admitted that when he saw the aerial video of the shot – which his caddie urged him not to take – it "really bothered me."

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