Abraham Ancer made history at TPC Southwind, becoming the first Mexican to win a World Golf Championship event.
Abraham Ancer Makes History At WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational
Fans were treated to yet another tense playoff, with Ancer facing off against Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama and Sam Burns.
In the Mexican’s 121st start on the PGA Tour, he would birdie the second playoff hole to not only claim his first Tour title, but also Mexico’s first ever WGC win.
“In regulation play I had an opportunity to win, but I probably have a few bruises on my back after that putt. I didn’t want to leave it short. I said, you can hit the putt seven-feet by and I still left it short. I was so mad at myself, cause I knew it was going to be an important putt.
“In the playoff, I told my caddie with the second shot that I’m going to go right at it, and it came out exactly how I thought it was going to in my mind. It was perfect.”
After four runner-up finishes in his career, Ancer started four shots back of overnight leader Harris English.
However, as the field moved into the back nine, mistakes were starting to occur for the leading pack, with English and DeChambeau both finding the water and making double bogey at the par-3 12th.
Up ahead, Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama, who started the round nine shots back of the lead, was making the biggest move on the final day, with his final round 63 catapulting him into the clubhouse lead.
Not long after his 63, Matsuyama was joined by American Sam Burns, who produced three birdies over the last holes for a final round 64 and a share of 16-under-par with the Masters champion.
With the target set, Ancer would birdie the 13th to join them. However, he couldn’t capitalise over the remaining holes. His two-under-par total good enough for a three-way share of the clubhouse lead.
Squandering their advantage over the back nine. English would produce yet another double bogey on a par-3, with his playing partner, DeChambeau, bogeying the 15th.
As the final torturous holes concluded, DeChambeau would eventually finish four shots off the leaders, with English missing a 10-footer at the last to join the playoff.
Heading up the 18th, we would see Matsuyama come closest to claiming the title at the first playoff hole. His birdie putt grazing the right edge of the hole and savagely lipping out.
As the trio played the 18th again we were treated to two stunning approaches from Ancer and Burns, with both men placing their wedge shots to more or less identical lengths from the hole.
Putting first, Matsuyama would be eliminated from the playoff, with his birdie attempt yet again coming agonisingly close to dropping from 20-feet or so.
With the Japanese star out, it was up to Ancer to make the first move. Casually standing over his five-foot putt, he would stroke it in to the centre of the cup for a classy birdie.
Facing an almost identical shot, everyone expected Burns to follow, but his putt would dramatically hit the low side of the hole, horseshoeing out and leaving Ancer to celebrate his famous victory.
Speaking after his round, Ancer said: “I’ll be honest when I was walking up I thought that Harris had made that putt on 17 for birdie. So, when I saw the score I thought I needed a birdie at the last, but then they told me that I was in a playoff and I was just so confused.
“But we regrouped and I played 18 through my mind on the range and now we are here. This is surreal. I left so many shots out there on the back nine, but golf is crazy. Sometimes I feel I made enough birdies to win and I don’t, and sometimes it’s the other way round, but I guess that is how it goes.”