Saturday, July 21, 2018

James Hahn wins Wells Fargo Championship in playoff

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — James Hahn said the anxiety was creeping in after he had missed eight straight cuts on the PGA Tour, causing him to wonder if he would ever get his game straightened out.

But after a long talk with caddie Mark Urbanek last week, Hahn came to Quail Hollow Club with a renewed confidence and determination to end the streak.

He did that and more.

Hahn beat Roberto Castro with par on the first hole of a sudden-death playoff Sunday in the Wells Fargo Championship to snap the three-month slump and earn his second PGA title.

"It was going bad for a while," Hahn said. "Just didn't have the confidence, didn't believe in myself. I felt like I was putting in the work but wasn't getting any reward for it."

The anxiety appeared a distant memory Sunday as a smiling Hahn cracked open a can of beer as he sat behind the podium and asked the media, "You want one?"

Hahn shot 2-under 70 and Castro had 71 to finish at 9-under 279, one shot ahead of Justin Rose (71). Rory McIlroy and Phil Mickelson both shot 66 to tie for fourth at 7 under with third-round leader Rickie Fowler (74) and Andrew Loupe (71).

Hahn, perhaps best known for his Gangnam Style birdie celebration three years ago on the Phoenix Open's 16th hole, said when things got bad he remained motivated by never wanting to lose his PGA Tour card and having to play on the Tour.

"I just told my wife I can't play there — I can't," Hahn said. "It's not an option for me. I feel like I'm good enough and I need to put in more work to stay on this level, and it's worth every minute of it."

Hahn earned $1.3 million for the win and a two-year extension on tour, not bad for a former women's shoe salesman: "You have to keep believing in yourself and keep grinding. I constantly remind myself that I am good enough and belong out there."

Hahn said he never looked at the scoreboard all day and didn't know that if he had made par on the 72nd hole that he would have likely sealed the tournament. Instead, he 3-putted and made bogey, opening the door for Castro, who, playing in the final group behind Hahn, made par to force a playoff.

But Castro's tee shot on the playoff hole found the creek on the left side and his third shot landed in a spectator's shoe on the side of the green, leading to a bogey. The ball hit a spectator in the head before landing in the loafer. "I was worried he was going to be laid out when we got up there," Castro said. "He'll ice it down and he'll be okay, I hope. But I felt bad about that."

CHAMPIONS: Jesper Parnevik won the Insperity Invitational for his first over-50 tour victory, shooting 5-under 67 for a four-stroke win at the Woodlands, Texas. The 51-year-old Swede won in his 23rd start on the tour. The five-time PGA Tour winner finished at 12-under 204 to top local favorite Jeff Maggert (71), first-round leader Mike Goodes (70) and South Africa's David Frost (69).

LPGA: Ariya Jutanugarn became the first Thai winner in tour history in the Yokohama Tire Classic in Prattville, Ala. Jutanugarn, 20, shot 1-under 71 to finish at 14-under 273 and beat Stacy Lewis, Amy Yang and Morgan Pressel by a stroke after losing two shots off her third-round lead.