Daniel Berger edges Collin Morikawa in Texas play-off

PGA Tour return gets a thrilling finale as Rory McIlroy’s challenge quickly fades

Daniel Berger celebrates after his play-off victory in the Charles Schwab Challenge. Photograph: Ronald Martinez/Getty

Daniel Berger celebrates after his play-off victory in the Charles Schwab Challenge. Photograph: Ronald Martinez/Getty

 

Daniel Berger emerged from a tightly-bunched leaderboard to win the PGA Tour’s first tournament back after a three-month Covid-19 break with a play-off victory at the Charles Schwab Challenge in Fort Worth, Texas on Sunday.

Berger, who needed a birdie on the final hole of his regulation round to make the play-off, sealed the win on the first extra hole with a rock-solid par moments before fellow American Collin Morikawa watched his putt from in close cruelly lip out.

When Berger sealed the win there was a brief handshake and hug with his caddie but no roars to be heard since Colonial Country Club was closed all week to the general public to help prevent spread of the novel coronavirus.

“I grinded so hard the last two months to be in this position and I am just so thankful that all the hard work paid off,” said Berger, who had top-10 finishes in his three starts before the PGA Tour halted action in mid-March.

Berger, who began the action-packed day two shots off overnight leader Xander Schauffele, carded a four-under-par 66 to reach 15 under for the week.

The leaderboard at the start of the final round featured many of the game’s best players and the action began with 13 golfers within three shots of Schauffele.

Berger made his move early with three birdies over his first eight holes before a lone bogey at the par-four ninth where his approach shot found a greenside bunker. Yet Berger added birdies at two of his last five holes to reach the play-off.

Daniel Berger (L) and Collin Morikawa bump fists after their play-off in Texas. Photograph: Tom Pennington/Getty
Daniel Berger (L) and Collin Morikawa bump fists after their play-off in Texas. Photograph: Tom Pennington/Getty

Schauffele (69) missed the playoff by one stroke after his par putt from two feet at the 17th also lipped out.

Among the others who finished one shot back of the playoff was Britain’s Justin Rose (66) and Bryson DeChambeau (66).

Three-times major champion Jordan Spieth started the final round one shot off the lead but hit just 5 of 14 fairways and 10 of 18 greens in regulation en route to a one-over-par 71 that left him in a tie for 10th place.

Despite not managing to snap a nearly three-year victory drought, Spieth took comfort in the state of his game after a lengthy layoff.

“I’m making those putts from mid to long range and I’m driving the ball in good position,” said Spieth. “So it’s really just cleaning up the wedges and stuff that I’m normally really sharp with that certainly had a bit of rust on it.”

World number one Rory McIlroy began the day three shots off the lead but struggled over the front nine en route to a four-over-par 74 that left him nine shots adrift and in a share of 32nd place.

Collated fourth round scores in the Charles Schwab Challenge (USA unless stated, par 70):

265 Daniel Berger 65 67 67 66 (won at first extra play-off hole), Collin Morikawa 64 67 67 67

266 Jason Kokrak 67 70 65 64, Xander Schauffele 65 66 66 69, Justin Rose (Eng) 63 69 68 66, Bryson DeChambeau 65 65 70 66

267 Bubba Watson 68 66 68 65, Patrick Reed 68 69 63 67

268 Gary Woodland 65 67 66 70

269 JT Poston 68 66 67 68, Justin Thomas 64 68 66 71, Sungjae Im (Kor) 66 69 67 67, Jordan Spieth 65 65 68 71

270 Abraham Ancer (Mex) 64 70 66 70, Peter Uihlein 69 65 69 67, Rory Sabbatini (Svk) 68 68 69 65, Patrick Rodgers 67 68 70 65, Cameron Champ 66 71 65 68

271 Joel Dahmen 68 65 70 68, Harold Varner III 63 66 70 72, Branden Grace (Rsa) 66 66 66 73, Corey Conners (Can) 66 67 67 71

272 Tony Finau 68 69 67 68, Viktor Hovland (Nor) 70 68 68 66, Lucas Glover 67 70 69 66, Chesson Hadley 70 68 64 70, Brian Harman 65 69 70 68, Rafael Cabrera-Bello (Spa) 68 67 69 68

273 Bud Cauley 71 67 67 68, Ian Poulter (Eng) 66 70 67 70, Kevin Kisner 67 69 68 69

274 Keegan Bradley 69 69 67 69, Brooks Koepka 68 68 69 69, Rory McIlroy (NIrl) 68 63 69 74, Maverick McNealy 69 69 66 70, Joaquin Niemann (Chi) 72 65 72 65, Matthew Fitzpatrick (Eng) 68 69 68 69

275 Matt Jones (Aus) 66 70 69 70, Harry Higgs 70 65 71 69, Billy Horschel 68 68 70 69, Tyler Duncan 65 70 70 70, Bronson Burgoon 68 70 70 67

276 Adam Schenk 66 72 72 66, Brian Stuard 68 70 74 64, Talor Gooch 68 70 69 69, Zach Johnson 72 66 69 69, Mark Hubbard 67 68 67 74, Adam Hadwin (Can) 65 71 68 72

277 Pat Perez 69 69 70 69, Jim Furyk 67 69 67 74, Matthew NeSmith 70 67 70 70, Andrew Landry 68 70 69 70, Charles Howell III 70 67 66 74

278 Matthew Wolff 67 69 71 71

279 Scottie Scheffler 68 69 69 73, Louis Oosthuizen (Rsa) 69 69 69 72, Zac Blair 71 65 75 68

280 Richy Werenski 72 66 70 72, Doc Redman 67 70 73 70

281 Chris Kirk 68 70 68 75, Alex Noren (Swe) 67 71 67 76, Byeong-Hun An (Kor) 67 71 69 74, Jhonattan Vegas (Ven) 64 74 73 70

282 Keith Mitchell 67 71 71 73, Scott Piercy 67 71 73 71

283 Denny McCarthy 70 68 73 72

285 Jason Dufner 68 69 70 78

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