China’s Carl Yuan posted his career best PGA TOUR finish with a tied sixth at the Sanderson Farms Championship on Sunday where he agonizingly missed a par putt on the last green to join a play-off, which was won by American Luke List.
The 26-year-old Yuan produced a stunning slam-dunk eagle on the par-4 17th hole with a wedge shot from 119 yards out but subsequently made a costly bogey on the last where he burned the edge of the cup with his 18-foot par putt attempt for a closing 72 and 17-under total.
List dramatically secured his second career victory in a five-man play-off after converting a monstrous 40-foot birdie on the first extra hole to pip overnight leader Ben Griffin (74), Ryder Cup star Ludvig Aberg (68), Henrik Norlander (70) and Scott Stallings (70) after they finished on 18-under.
Yuan, playing in his rooking PGA TOUR season after graduating from the Korn Ferry Tour last year, said the week was bittersweet despite posting a career milestone. The finish pushed him up by 20 rungs to 131st position on the FedExCup standings, with the top 125 keeping their TOUR cards at the end of FedExCup Fall which features seven events.
“I mean, obviously I didn’t play my great golf, but I really hung in there tough. Just couldn’t quit, right?,” said Yuan, who was bidding to become the first mainland Chinese golfer to win on the PGA TOUR.
Chinese Taipei’s C.T. Pan sank seven birdies en route to a 66 to finish tied ninth for his third top-10 of the season and moved to 122nd on the FedExCup standings while Yuan’s compatriot Marty Zecheng Dou shot a 68 for solo 12th place and rose to 124th on the rankings.
Starting the final round three back of Griffin, Yuan began strongly with birdies on Holes No. 2 and 3 but dropped shots on the sixth, seventh and 10th holes to fall off the pace. He battled gamely and found hope with his hole-out eagle on the 17th before his disappointing finish on the last.
“I knew I’ve got to do something special coming down the stretch on 17. All I was thinking was trying to hole the shot, and fortunately it happened,” said Yuan, who played in the final pairing on Sunday. “That was a really cool moment. I would say inspired is something every golfer should have. There’s always hope; never quit. If you’ve got a shot, the ball can always go in the hole. That was a really cool moment for me.”
Yuan will now head to the Shriners Children’s Open at TPC Summerlin in Vegas this week, invigorated by his first ever top-10 as he fights for his PGA TOUR survival. “I think it’s definitely some good momentum going into the next event. I feel much better with my game, and yeah, when I get confidence going, I can shoot some low scores out here,” he said.
The 38-year-old List, who played in the third-to-last pairing, made it into the playoff when Griffin, in the final pairing, missed a par putt from 9 feet, 6 inches on the 72nd hole. List then made an outrageous birdie putt to win the title in front his wife and two children. “Just to have the opportunity to get in a playoff, I felt like, wow, okay, this is a gift. Then my mindset just switched into, okay, let’s try to make birdie any way I could. Didn’t hit the best iron shot (in the play-off), but I told my caddie, I’m making this (putt), and I just somehow rolled it in,” said List, who won the 2022 Farmers Insurance Open.
Final-Round Notes – Sunday, October 8, 2023
Weather: Sunny. High of 74. Wind NW 5-10 mph.
|1||Luke List*||66||66||68||70||270 (-18)|
|T2||Ben Griffin||67||63||66||74||270 (-18)|
|T2||Ludvig Åberg||67||69||66||68||270 (-18)|
|T2||Scott Stallings||68||67||65||70||270 (-18)|
|T2||Henrik Norlander||65||67||68||70||270 (-18)|
*Won playoff with birdie-3 at first extra hole (No. 18)