Sepp Straka overcame a five-stroke deficit to defeat former Open champion Shane Lowry and overnight leader Daniel Berger at the Honda Classic. Here’s how things played out in the final round at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.
Leaderboard: Straka (-10), Lowry (-9), Kurt Kitayama (-8), Berger (-7), Gary Woodland (-4), Alex Noren (-4)
What it means: Straka becomes the first Austrian-born player to win on the PGA Tour and secures his Tour card through the 2023-24 season. He also collects $1.44 million, which is more than he made in any single season on Tour since he first earned his card in 2018. The former Georgia Bulldog also earned a trip to the Masters Tournament. “It’s crazy. It’s a lifelong dream of mine just to be heading to Augusta in a month or so,” Straka said. “It’s still surreal. I’m sure it’ll sink in here before long, but yeah, it’s just crazy.”
Full-field scores from The Honda Classic
How it happened: Straka, like Lowry, was five shots back of Berger to begin the day. Berger, however, started dropping shots early to open the door for anyone to walk through. Lowry was first to enter as he briefly took the solo lead on the front nine and moved back in front by himself quickly on the back. Though he didn’t make a bogey on Sunday, Lowry wasn’t able to match Straka’s late birdies and ultimately finished one behind. Berger, despite his struggles, was only one back with four holes to play. But three pars and a water-ball bogey at the final hole placed him in fourth.
“Feel like I’ve got the tournament stolen from me today,” Lowry said after the round. “You know, he’s gone 3 under the last five on this course. I played the golf perfectly to win the tournament, and that’s this game sometimes and that’s this level.”
Round of the day: Straka’s 4-under 66. After a bogey at the first, Straka made birdie at Nos. 2 and 3 and made the turn at 7 under for the tournament, one off the lead. He parred his first four holes on the inward half before a birdie at the 14th and another at the 16th, which tied him at the top. Straka then two-putted for birdie at the par-5 18th, as rain came pouring down, to enter the clubhouse in the outright lead at 10 under par. That was enough for the win as Lowry couldn’t match the birdie and finished one back.
Biggest disappointment: Berger. Staked to a hefty lead, the advantage was wiped out with a double bogey and two bogeys in his first six holes on Sunday. He made only two birdies in the final round and both came from off the green: a bunker hole-out on No. 7 and a chip-in on No. 14. For the day, he made only two putts longer than 3 feet – his longest, a par save from 6 feet, 9 inches at the 17th. Needing eagle at the last, his approach shot from 246 yards – in the rain – sliced into the water. He made bogey for a 4-over 74.
“I don’t think I made a single putt today,” Berger said. “I don’t know what happened. Just didn’t feel good over the putter today.”
Shot of the day: There was more frustration than heroics on Sunday, but this 19-footer from off the green at the par-4 16th gave Straka a share of the lead for the first time.