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Harman steals Wells Fargo with final hole heroics

(Photo: getty Images)
It's easily one of the most extraordinary up and downs ever made to win a golf tournament, Brian Harman following a chunked chip shot with a 28-foot birdie putt at the 72nd hole to steal the Wells Fargo Championship from under the noses of some of the game’s biggest names.

Harman, a 30-year-old one-time PGA Tour winner before today, ended the bid for a four-tournament winning streak by World Number One Dustin Johnson who shared second place with Pat Perez, a shot ahead of Spanish star Jon Rahm.

Ranked 93rd in the Official World Golf Ranking at the start of the week, Harman was in the middle of a host of the game’s biggest names on a packed leaderboard heading into Sunday but stood up with a 4-under 68, including his remarkable final hole birdie.

“It’s surreal,” Harman told CBS’ Dottie Pepper in the immediate aftermath of the victory.

“It’s just, I three-putted that 15th hole and I knew it was going to be tough to birdie those last couple but I just stuck with my game plan and just did the best I could.

“It’s a lot of emotion, for sure. I’ve been fighting real hard and I thought I had a good chance a couple of weeks ago at Harbour Town and I really wanted that one.

“I’ve been working really hard, this feels really good.”

Harman’s final round scoring has been a strength all year and he told Pepper it was simply a matter of confidence.

“I think just having a little more belief in myself and just trusting that I’m pretty good at what I do,” he said when asked what was the key to his good Sunday play.

“Just trying to stay in the moment and do the best that I can.”

While Harman’s final hole heroics will be the talk of the golf world he actually set up the victory with a brilliant birdie at the par-4 17th where he stuffed his approach less than five feet from the hole to grab a share of the lead at 9-under.

It was an impressive victory for Harman but almost more remarkable was the performance of Johnson, who showed why he holds the top spot in the game with a stunning weekend of golf.

Having not played in almost six weeks after a back injury forced him out of the Masters, Johnson made the cut on the number at 1-over but stormed home with back-to-back rounds of 67 to snare the clubhouse lead well ahead of the final groups Sunday.

On a packed leaderboard, Johnson teed off in the ninth to last group but made his intentions clear early with three birdies in his first six holes.

His only bogey of the day came at the eighth with three more birdies on the back nine putting him in position for a fourth straight win.

Perez, too, deserves credit for a strong finish after electing to lay up on the par-5-18th despite knowing he needed a birdie to tie.

That discipline paid off when he made a solid up and down from short left of the green and, until Harman’s heroics, it looked like it would be enough to get him into a playoff.

Rahm finished fourth alone after making a disappointing par at the last hole where an overly aggressive second shot proved costly.

Needing an eagle to force Harman to sudden death, he hit a 5-wood for his second shot directly over the flag but the ball flew long of the green and he was unable to get it up and down to maintain a share of second place.

Brett Drewitt was the pick of the Australians at 2-under and T32 for the week, one ahead of Adam Scott who was T36.

Curtis Luck made his first cut as a professional and cashed a cheque for finishing T52 while Matt Jones was the last of the Australians to play the weekend and finished T66.

Cameron Percy, Geoff Ogilvy, Steven Bowditch, Stuart Appleby and Greg Chalmers all missed the cut.

Meanwhile, Sydney’s Jamie Arnold has produced his best result on the Web.com Tour with a T16 finish in the Dominican Republic.

Arnold earned a card for the secondary circuit at last year’s Q-School but has struggled with his game prior to this week.

In seven starts leading into the Corales Puntacana Resort and Club Championship, Arnold had made just two cuts but an opening 65 gave him the first round lead.

He followed up with 71-68-70 to finish at 14-under and record his best finish in his rookie season.

Fellow Australian Rhein Gibson finished on the same score after rounds of 70-69-66-69 to break a streak of three consecutive missed cuts.

Robert Allenby and Mathew Goggin both missed the cut.


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