LA QUINTA, CALIFORNIA | Mark Wilson left
most of the work to the end but when it was
time to get it done, he did.
Wilson won the Humana Challenge on Sunday
with a final-round 69 on the TPC West Palmer
Private Course. His 24-under-par total was good
for a two-shot victory over Johnson Wagner (65),
John Mallinger (66) and Robert Garrigus (68).
Wilson stalled at the start of the final round,
stumbling to a 1-over 37 on the front, which
allowed the challengers to claim shares of the
lead. Wilson got back to even par with a birdie
at the par- 5 11th and turned his fortunes completely around by holing a bunker shot for birdie
at the 12th. From that point on, it was thrust
and parry at the top of the leaderboard until
Wilson, who shot a back-nine 32, and Garrigus
settled it on the final green.
“The day went not as planned,” Wilson said.
“But I was really patient, and holing that bunker
shot gave me momentum going in the right
direction. It was a challenge, no question about
it. My experience helped me in that situation
and I was able to say, ‘Hopefully, I’m going to
make my birdies at the end.’ ”
Wilson’s history helped, too. He has become
an early-season whiz on the PGA Tour. He won
twice on the West Coast swing last year, at the
Sony Open in Hawaii and at the Waste Manage-
ment Phoenix Open. His two other victories, at
the 2007 Honda Classic and the 2009 Mayakoba
Classic, also came before the end of March.
When high winds forced suspension of the
third round Saturday, Wilson had a three-shot
lead. He took the same margin into the fourth
round after completing a 67 in the morning.
Garrigus put himself into position by finishing a
“It could have been 54,” said Garrigus, who
has found gold since switching to a long putter.
“I was making everything. It was a blast. I’ll
never forget it.”
Garrigus was 6 over standing on the 18th
fairway (his front nine) in the first round before
making an unlikely recovery.
“My caddie (Brent Henley) told me, ‘Well, we’re
probably not going to win the tournament but let’s
do something,’ ” Garrigus said. “And I looked at
him and I’m like, ‘You know how many birdies and
eagles I could make from here on out?’ ”
The fifth PGA Tour victory for Wilson finally
came when he made a clutch 10-foot birdie
putt on the final green to hold off Garrigus, the
last remaining challenger. Moments earlier,
Garrigus had a 35-foot eagle putt that slid just
by. He knew what that meant – game, set and
match to Wilson.