While the APGA Tour made history Sunday evening, Patrick Newcomb birdied his final hole to capture the Farmers Insurance Invitational at Torrey Pines’ South Course.
For the first time in the tour’s history, Golf Channel televised the final round of the 36-hole season opener, with Damon Hack, Notah Begay III, Doug Smith and Jacques Slade calling the action. The finish certainly was worthy of primetime, as Newcomb, a 31-year-old Murray State product, nuked a 3-wood from 254 yards out into the left greenside bunker at the iconic par-5 closing hole, and he then got up and down, rolling in a 7-footer for birdie to finish a shot clear of runner-up Tim O’Neal.
O’Neal, the 49-year-old mini-tour legend, bogeyed each of his first three holes on Sunday, but he settled down, playing the rest of his round in 2 under. However, O’Neal laid up on the last hole and then missed a 5-footer for birdie for a chance to force a playoff.
Newcomb, who led Marcus Byrd by two shots after an opening 68 on the North Course, also was sloppy out of the gates, starting bogey-double. He made just 10 pars in what was a roller-coaster final round. He bogeyed Nos. 15 and 16 to fall back into a tie with O’Neal, and he looked to have cost himself dearly after wiping his drive well right on No. 18. But he drew a good lie in the rough – trampled down from the Farmers Insurance Open, which wrapped up Saturday to avoid the NFL playoff games and thus clear the stage for the APGA – to set up the shot of the tournament.
“It was a long day,” said Newcomb, whose first APGA victory comes with an exemption into this year’s Simmons Bank Open on the Korn Ferry Tour this May. “We were out there for a long, long time today. It’s a tough course, tested everybody. It wasn’t my finest hour on the greens, but I ended up holing one on the last.
“This tour has been fantastic. … Guys are great, and I’m just excited to get the win.”