Thursday, January 18, 2018
Golf

Brian Harman's 30-foot birdie denies Dustin Johnson, wins Wells Fargo Championship

WILMINGTON, N.C. — Dustin Johnson was in the clubhouse, tied for the lead and poised for a chance to join an elite class with a fourth straight PGA Tour victory. Brian Harman was on the last tee, knowing a birdie on the par-5 18th would be enough to win the Wells Fargo Championship.

Harman could have drawn it up differently, but not any better.

Switching from a 5-wood to a 3-wood for his 271-yard shot in the 18th, he went so long that he needed relief from a corporate chalet. His chip became harder because of tree limbs that made him go low, and his chip came out soft and barely got onto the green.

Then he rolled in a 30-foot birdie putt for 4-under 68 and a one-shot victory Sunday over Johnson (67) and Pat Perez (68).

"I didn't hit a great chip. It didn't turn out very good," said Harman, who finished at 10-under 278. "But I guess it went where it was supposed to."

The greens at Eagle Point were so pure that Harman knew it was good when the ball was 5 feet from the cup. He turned and pumped his arms in a wild celebration that ended in a hug with his caddie, Scott Tway, for a victory that was a long time coming.

Harman won for the first time in nearly three years.

For Johnson, playing for the first time since a freak accident knocked him out of the Masters last month, it was the first time in nearly three months that he left a tour event without the trophy. It wasn't from a lack of trying. Johnson made the cut on the number, then went 67-67 on the weekend, including a 15-foot birdie putt on the final hole, to nearly pull out another victory.

"I didn't have a lot of time off, so I didn't really know what to expect this week because I didn't really get to practice leading into this tournament, either," Johnson said. "Not much has changed. The first couple days I didn't play that great, but really played nicely on Saturday and Sunday, and so I'm happy with where the game is going into next week."

Patrick Reed, the 54-hole leader, had four bogeys in a six-hole stretch on the back nine and shot 75 to finish five back.

LPGA: Sei Young Kim held off Ariya Jutanugarn 1 up to win the Lorena Ochoa Match Play in Mexico City for her sixth title. After Jutanugarn won the par-5 17th with birdie to force another hole, Kim finished off the match with a halve for par on the par-4 18th. In the morning semifinals at Club de Golf Mexico, Kim beat Mi Jung Hur 5 and 4, and third-ranked Jutanugarn topped Michelle Wie 4 and 3. Hur won the third-place match, overcoming a five-hole deficit to beat Wie in 22 holes.

• Results, 2C.

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