Palm Beach Gardens, Fl – So the Florida Swing is officially underway. Coming down the 72nd hole at PGA National’s Champion course on Sunday, Keith Mitchell found a calmness in knowing that a birdie would be good enough to notch his first win on the big stage at the Honda Classic, but as he looked up at the leade rboard, he had seen that the cream had risen to the top. Local residents Brooks Koepka and Rickie Fowler (the two highest ranked players in the field) were tied with him atop the leader board at 8 under par and were waiting in the clubhouse.

Mitchell pulled his tee shot on the par 5 eighteenth into the left fairway bunker, and with no chance of reaching the green in two, it was looking like a playoff with two of game’s best was inevitable, but the former University of Georgia standout settled himself. After a safe lay up, Mitchell hit his approach to 15 feet below the hole, perhaps the best location to make a bold putt to win. He didn’t take long, and confidently poured the putt into the cup for his 1st PGA Tour victory, in grand Walk-off style.

Afterward, in his press conference Keith Mitchell discussed what it was like to have that experience and the thought process leading up to the clutch stroke, “I’ve dreamed of having a putt like that to win a big tournament, and I had that today. Fortunately, I was able to capitalize on it,” Mitchell said. “Thankfully, I knew what I was doing before I even got there (to the ball), all of the grain on that green goes left to right, and it was a little uphill. I didn’t have much of a question in my read and speed, so I was able to be confident in what I was doing – which is huge. I did a great job from the fairway leaving myself below the hole. I think I might have early looked that putt (in), it looked so good so early. It was the best putt I’ve ever hit under the circumstances, hands down. To have it fall is too cool.”

Keith Mitchell finished with rounds of 68-66-70-67 to finish at -9 (271 total).

Mitchell’s prior career achievements will give hope and inspiration to thousands striving to make it – his last win prior to the Honda Classic was a 2016 mini-tour event in North Carolina. He lost in a playoff on the Latin American Tour, and never won on the Web.com Tour. In his winning press conference, Mitchell discussed working diligently on controlling his emotions and managing himself to be calmer when it mattered. The reward – $1,224,000 and a chance to play in his first major championship, a trip down Magnolia Lane in his home state come April.

Brooks Koepka fired a final round 66 including birdies on 2 of his last 3 holes to tie for second with Rickie Fowler who birdied 3 of his last 4 to shoot 67 and finish at 8 under par. Lucas Glover shot a final round 66 and Ryan Palmer had the round of the day shooting 63 to tie for fourth.

Scores: https://www.pgatour.com/leaderboard.html

 

Picture
Jason  Bruno

 

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