Canada’s Adam Svensson sank clutch birdie putts on the 16th and 17th holes to capture the RSM Classic by two strokes on Sunday and win his first PGA Tour title.
The 28-year-old from British Columbia fired a bogey-free, six-under-par 64 to win a back-nine shootout by finishing 72 holes on 19-under 263 at Sea Island Golf Club on St Simons Island, Georgia.
“It’s not even real right now. I’m just so happy,” Svensson said. “I put so much work in. To win on the PGA Tour means everything to me.”
England’s Callum Tarren also fired a 64 to share second on 17 under with Americans Sahith Theegala and Brian Harman.
South Africa’s Dean Burmester finished T54 on six under after a final-round 71, with MJ Daffue on one over (69th) after shooting 75. Dylan Frittelli and Garrick Higgo failed to make the weekend cut.
Svensson, whose breakthrough came in his 70th PGA Tour start, was among four sharing the lead before he rolled in a tension-packed 18-foot birdie putt at the 16th hole.
“I just tried to make no bogeys,” Svensson said. “I didn’t even look at the scoreboard until maybe 16. I just said if I make no bogeys, I’m putting well, so that’s what I did. It’s just unbelievable.”
He followed by sinking a testy downhill putt from just beyond 10 feet at the par-three 17th.
“I was feeling pretty good over them,” Svensson said of his dramatic putts. “That one at 17 I didn’t think was going to go in. Somehow the golf gods let it in.”
Svensson punctuated the feat with a fist pump and made a routine par at 18 to claim the crown.
“It has been an up-and-down journey. I’ve had lows. I’ve had highs. But I just kept believing in myself and here I am,” Svensson said.
“Two years ago I made a decision to give it 100%. There was no going back or I was quitting because I was going the wrong way. It was a good choice.”
Svensson, ranked 174th, had a best prior PGA Tour finish of sixth in July at the Barbasol Championship.
Harman, trying to become the host resort’s first resident to win the event, sank a five-foot birdie putt at the 16th to match Svensson and Tarren for the lead on 17 under.
Theegala sank a 20-foot putt at the par-three 17th for his fourth birdie in six holes to create a four-way tie at the top, setting the stage for Svensson’s heroics.
Svensson sank a 30-foot birdie putt at the 4th hole and a 20-footer at the 8th. He followed with a 36-footer for birdie at the 10th and sank a 16-foot birdie putt at 11 to seize the lead alone at 17 under.
Svensson, who opened with a 73 at the Plantation course to share 108th, is the first winner since Jon Rahm in 2020 to shoot 73 or worse in the first round.
He’s also the first to rally from beyond 100th after 18 holes to win since England’s Ian Poulter at the 2018 Houston Open.
The 2022-23 PGA Tour season will shut down until January’s Tournament of Champions in Hawaii.
© Agence France-Presse