Golf

Rallies by Phil Mickelson, Rory McIlroy fall short in final round

Phil Mickelson reacts to a missed putt on the third green during Sunday’s final round of the Wells Fargo Championship. He finished tied for fourth place after shooting a 6-under 66.
Phil Mickelson reacts to a missed putt on the third green during Sunday’s final round of the Wells Fargo Championship. He finished tied for fourth place after shooting a 6-under 66. jsiner@charlotteobserver.com

Phil Mickelson and Rory McIlroy started Sunday at Quail Hollow Club at 1-under par and eight strokes off the Wells Fargo Championship lead.

They did their best to make a run at it, but they ultimately came up short.

Both fan favorites shot 6 under Sunday to finish in a tie for fourth at 7 under. James Hahn won on the first playoff hole against Roberto Castro.

“I hit a lot of good shots over the weekend,” Mickelson said. “Unfortunately, one bad hole (Saturday) kind of cost me.”

That was a quadruple-bogey 8 on the 18th hole in Saturday’s third round.

McIlroy, the world’s third-ranked player and two-time winner here, bogeyed the final hole while avoiding further damage. He nearly hit into the hazard on his approach, and his chip came up short and almost rolled into the water.

Those shots, along with a poor drive on the 15th hole that could be birdied, were costly, McIlroy said.

“The drive on 15 – if I had two shots to take back – the drive on 15 and then the second shot on the last could have been a different story.”

Five who mattered

James Hahn: His 51-foot eagle putt on the par-5 seventh hole was the best putt of the day and helped him win his second PGA Tour event.

Roberto Castro: Castro notched an event-best 11-under par before bogeys on 16 and 17.

Andrew Loupe: Many figured Loupe, still chasing his first PGA Tour win, would fall by the wayside as the weekend continued. Instead, he held tough and finished in a tie for fourth with Mickelson, McIlroy and Rickie Fowler.

Lucas Glover: The former Clemson Tiger played all four rounds under par and finished in eighth place.

Mickelson: No one has been nicer to this tournament. He leaves without a title again, but no doubt he’ll be one of the favorites at next year’s PGA Championshipat Quail Hollow.

Observations

▪  South Carolina native and Wofford alumnus William McGirt carded his ninth career hole-in-one, and third in competition, at the par-3 second. “Picked up the tee, I started walking. I wasn’t even paying attention and I heard my caddie say, ‘Go in!’ ” McGirt shot 2 under for the tournament after a round of 4-under par.

▪  Gastonia’s Harold Varner III finished the tournament in a tie for 24th at 1 under. It was his best finish here. “It was a long week,” said Varner, a rookie of the PGA Tour. “A pretty cool atmosphere. I saw a lot of drunk friends, so that was pretty funny. And I played some decent golf, just didn’t finish well – today anyway.”

▪  When Castro sank his final putt on the 72nd hole, he stood motionless for a moment before offering a slight fist pump.

▪  Justin Rose finished alone in third place at 8 under, but he only shot 1-under par on Sunday. He was never comfortable with his swing. “I feel my hands got behind the ball today and as you take it back in your transition you lose the face, where you lose the squareness of the face,” he said. “...Obviously trying to fiddle around with your setup, that’s one thing you don’t want to be thinking about.”

▪  Rickie Fowler, the 2012 winner and leader entering Sunday’s round, was 3-over on the front nine, including a double bogey on No. 7.

Worth mentioning

▪  With the changes coming to the course before next year’s PGA Championship , players already know there will be complaints. “I’ve learned in my years out here that no matter what anyone does, golfers don’t like change,” Glover said.

▪  This tournament, followed by The Players Championship next week in Florida, should put these golfers in good position to play the U.S. Open at Oakmont (Pa.) next month.

By the numbers

8,000

Dollars Hahn saved in his six months as a shoe salesman at Nordstrom in his early 20s.

1,314,000

Dollars Hahn receives with the tournament victory.

They said it

“The state of it, the depth is probably deeper than it’s ever been. No disrespect to past generations, (but) there’s a lot of guys playing very well right now. The guys that are at the top, but also the guys that are there in the middle, guys that you don’t hear the names much. Everyone out here can play golf.” – Fowler on the state of golf.

“It’s fun. I enjoy it...I can’t really explain it. Maybe when I go to bed tonight I’ll figure it out, but right now I’m going to go have some cold beers and chill.” – Varner, reflecting on playing at Quail as a pro.

“I kind of glanced at the hole and just watched it top the hill and go in, you know, roll over the edge, and I didn’t even know what to do. I was kind of shocked. Give everybody a high-five.” – McGirt on his reaction to the hole-in-one.

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