Ted Potter Jr. captured the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am after outplaying Dustin Johnson in Sunday's final group. The 34-year-old surged up the leaderboard on Saturday when he shot a 62 on the Monterey Peninsula’s Shore Course. He flirted with a score in the 50’s but bogeyed his final two holes on Saturday. Full scores
Despite giving up 40+ yards off the tee to the world's top-ranked player, Potter got the job done by playing his game. The veteran played smart golf and was able to hole nervy putts on the back nine that kept DJ and his other chasers (Jason Day, Chez Reavie, Phil Mickelson) at bay. Most saw Potter as an afterthought, sure to collapse heading into the final round. These underdog moments are what make sports great.
Who is Ted Potter Jr.?
Potter is well-known on the mini-tour circuit, turning professional as a 19-year-old. The Central Florida native was prolific on the Hooters Tour, winning 12 times (the 3rd most of all time), and earned $623,000 in earnings on the mini tour. Potter seemed destined for a long career on the PGA Tour after winning the 2012 Greenbriar Classic. In June of 2014, Potter broke his ankle, an injury that sidelined him for two years and put his return to the PGA Tour in question. Potter played 2017 on the Web.com Tour, earning a card via the season-long money list. The Pebble win gives Potter a spot in the Masters and a two-year exemption on Tour.
Phil Mickelson's runner-up finish gives the 47-year-old a second consecutive top-five finish. His final-round 67 vaulted him up the leaderboard. Phil’s had a stellar start to 2018 thanks to an increase in driver distance. He’s averaging 305 yards off the tee, an eleven-yard increase from 2017 and the longest average of his career (302 in 2015).
For the third consecutive week, Jon Rahm fell from in contention to outside the top 10 in the final round. This week, Rahm found himself in a tie for fifth place heading into Sunday, but after a back nine 42, he fell into a tie for 26th.
Chez Reavie recorded his second straight runner-up finish.
In his first start since winning at Torrey Pines, Jason Day finished in a tie for 2nd. He tried to make things interesting on 18, going driver off the deck… it didn't go well.
21-year-old rookie Aaron Wise finished in a tie for 15th, his third top-17 finish in his last five starts.
South Korean star Sangmoon Bae shot a final-round 70 to finish in a tie for 15th. It's Bae's first made cut and best finish since returning from his mandatory 2 year stint in the South Korean military.
Infusing interest and fun at Pebble Beach
In recent years, the talk of a potential restoration at Pebble Beach has gathered some momentum. It's unlikely due to the economic impacts a course shutdown would have. There are small things the resort could do to improve daily play and make the tournament more exciting. I outlined these simple changes in an article using the iconic short par-3 7th as an example.
Ranking the best golf course logos
Contributor Will Knights takes a look at the best golf course logos. For each logo, Will explains the history and reasoning for its design and hands out a few off the cuff awards. Read his article here.
Kiradech Aphibarnrat won the European Tour's Perth Super 6, beating James Nitties 2 and 1 in the match play final. The innovative event cuts the field after 54 holes to the top 24 players. From there, the competitors played a single elimination match play tournament.
While he didn't triumph, 19-year-old Australian amateur Min Woo Lee stole the show, advancing to the tournament's match play. In his first match, Lee took down the 37th-ranked player in the world, Satoshi Kodaira. Lee made his way into the match play after finishing t12th in the stroke play portion.
I watched Lee at last year's Western Amateur and was very impressed. He has a beautiful golf swing and an excellent demeanor. Expect to see this name regularly on professional leaderboards soon.
Pay for play
The big story from this week's Web.com Tour event in Columbia was Sponsor's Exemption, Julio Ball. Ball's nickname is "La Maquina" and (per reports) paid upwards of $100k for his spot in the tournament. Ball opened with a tidy 93 and backed it up with a second-round 105 but failed to turn in his scorecard, resulting in a DQ. La Maquina has a Twitter profile that gives an inside look into his "training," including a video training with renowned fitness coach Joey D.
In the tournament, Ben Taylor shot a pair of 68s on the weekend to run away with a six-shot win in Panama. Taylor hails from England and played collegiately at LSU. Full scores
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