Brian Gay wins Challenge in three-way playoff

Sun Jan 20, 2013 9:22pm EST
 

By Mark Lamport-Stokes

LA QUINTA, California (Reuters) - Brian Gay clinched his fourth PGA Tour title in champion style when he beat fellow American Charles Howell III and Swede David Lingmerth in a sudden-death playoff to win the Humana Challenge on Sunday.

Gay, 41, sealed victory in fading light on the Palmer Private course at PGA West after striking a superb approach to five feet at the par-four 10th, the second extra hole, and coolly sinking the birdie putt.

Howell, bidding to claim his first title on the U.S. circuit in six years, bogeyed the hole after ending up in the back left bunker in two, splashing out to nine feet beyond the pin and missing the par putt.

PGA Tour rookie Lingmerth was eliminated at the first extra hole, the par-five 18th, where he bogeyed after hitting his second shot into water. Howell, with a solid two-putt, and Gay, who chipped to four feet, both birdied the hole.

"It feels amazing," Gay told reporters after securing the winner's cheque for $1.008 million and a two-year exemption on the PGA Tour. "I'm still in a little bit of shock. It kind of happened so fast there at the end the way things went down."

The trio had finished the 72 regulation holes on 25-under-par 263, Howell signing off with an eight-under 64, Gay carding a 63 and Lingmerth matching the day's best score with a 62.

American Scott Stallings, five strokes in front overnight, bogeyed the par-five last after hitting his second shot into water to drop out of the lead for the first time in the final round, finishing with a 70 in a tie for fourth at 24 under.

"There weren't any nerves or anything like that going into it," Stallings said about his wayward six-iron approach at the 18th. "Just hit a bad shot.   Continued...