Mickelson’s putter betrays him as Long snatches Desert Classic

Rookie birdied the final hole at La Quinta to secure his first ever PGA Tour title

Adam Long of the United States with his wife, Emily, after winning the Desert Classic at the Stadium Course in La Quinta, California. Photo: Donald Miralle/Getty Images

Adam Long of the United States with his wife, Emily, after winning the Desert Classic at the Stadium Course in La Quinta, California. Photo: Donald Miralle/Getty Images

 

Rookie Adam Long birdied the final hole to edge Phil Mickelson and Adam Hadwin by a stroke to collect his first PGA Tour victory at the Desert Classic in southern California on Sunday.

The three had been tied before Long sank a 14-foot putt to shoot a seven-under-par 65 and prevail with a 26-under 262 in his sixth appearance on the PGA Tour.

Mickelson (69), who had led the first three rounds at La Quinta Country Club, and Canadian Hadwin (67) finished at 25-under.

“I got a pretty good read off Phil’s putt,” Long told Golf Channel about the last hole.

“It was one of those putts that you just stand over, you just know you’re going to make. And you can’t control that, but when you have that feeling it’s a good one. I’m in pretty disbelief right now. I don’t really know what happened.”

Hadwin had a three-stroke lead on the back nine at one point while Mickelson experienced putting problems before rallying to catch Long and the Canadian.

A clutch approach shot with the ball below his feet that set up Long’s closing putt was key for the American, who made seven birdies, three of them in the last five holes.

“I just kept plugging away,” Long said. “It was kind of the ‘Phil and Adam Hadwin show’ for most of the way. Everyone was chatting Phil’s name and there are a lot of Canadians down here.

Phil Mickelson endured a disappointing final day. Photo: Jeff Gross/Getty Images
Phil Mickelson endured a disappointing final day. Photo: Jeff Gross/Getty Images

“I was kind of in the background doing my thing and trying to hit some fairways and give myself looks for birdies.”

Long, who turned pro in 2010 and joined the Web.com Tour in 2012, said his career had been “a bit of a roller coaster” in some ways.

“It seemed like it (the win) came out of nowhere but my game has been trending in the right direction for really the last two years now,” he added

Mickelson, who started the day with a two-stroke lead over Hadwin, three-putted his opening hole for a bogey.

With Mickelson struggling with the putter, Hadwin took advantage by birdieing five of the seven holes from the fifth to overhaul the Hall of Famer.

A two-shot swing at the ninth hole where Hadwin collected a birdie and Mickelson a bogey was key in the turnaround as the Canadian went on to build a three-stroke lead.

But a bogey at 13 slowed his march and he never made another birdie, while Long got hot and Mickelson, despite his putting woes, made birdies at 15 and 16 to move back into contention.

“I had a terrible putting day. One of the worst I can recall in a while,” said Mickelson, who was playing his first PGA Tour event of the year.

“I missed a bunch of short ones on the front and some birdie opportunities but it felt awful with the putter.

“I just couldn’t get the ball to go in the hole.”

Collated final round scores in the The Desert Classic, Lao Quinta GC, United States of America (USA unless stated, par 72):

262 Adam Long 63 71 63 65

263 Phil Mickelson 60 68 66 69, Adam Hadwin (Can) 65 66 65 67

264 Talor Gooch 67 67 66 64

266 Dominic Bozzelli 67 69 64 66

267 Jon Rahm (Spa) 66 66 68 67

269 JT Poston 68 68 64 69, Vaughn Taylor 68 66 69 66

270 Michael Thompson 68 66 65 71, Sean O’Hair 66 67 68 69, Patrick Cantlay 67 66 66 71

271 Daniel Berger 67 67 69 68, Scott Langley 70 65 66 70, Roger Sloan (Can) 70 68 68 65, Lucas Glover 68 68 68 67, Nate Lashley 72 68 66 65, Sungjae Im (Kor) 71 65 64 71

272 Peter Malnati 70 65 68 69, Jason Kokrak 71 65 66 70, Harold Varner III 68 67 68 69, Adam Svensson (Can) 66 68 69 69, Aaron Baddeley (Aus) 71 68 68 65, Wyndham Clark 65 67 72 68, Abraham Ancer (Mex) 66 67 73 66, Steve Marino 66 65 67 74, Sam Burns 68 66 68 70, Russell Knox (Sco) 73 66 64 69

273 Zach Johnson 71 68 64 70, Andrew Landry 68 67 69 69, Jose de Jesus Rodriguez (Mex) 67 70 69 67, Dylan Frittelli (Rsa) 72 67 64 70, Cameron Davis (Aus) 67 70 67 69, Chez Reavie 67 68 69 69

274 Trey Mullinax 65 71 67 71, Andrew Putnam 70 69 67 68, Justin Rose (Eng) 68 68 68 70, Anders Albertson 68 69 70 67, Kevin Streelman 70 66 68 70, Charles Howell III 67 69 68 70

275 Brian Stuard 70 68 68 69, Kramer Hickok 67 72 68 68, Sam Ryder 72 66 66 71, Cody Gribble 70 67 68 70, Si Woo Kim (Kor) 70 70 67 68, Alex Cejka (Ger) 66 68 68 73, Robert Streb 66 70 68 71, Julian Etulain (Arg) 71 66 69 69, Roberto Castro 71 67 69 68, Nick Taylor (Can) 70 66 67 72, Josh Teater 68 69 67 71

276 Nick Watney 68 70 68 70, Cheng-Tsung Pan (Tai) 66 70 70 70, J.J. Spaun 69 67 68 72, Tyler Duncan 73 66 66 71, Harris English 70 70 67 69, Cameron Tringale 70 71 66 69

277 Rory Sabbatini (Svk) 68 70 66 73, Scott Piercy 72 65 70 70, Brendan Steele 69 69 67 72, Joey Garber 68 64 69 76, Chad Collins 69 70 68 70, James Hahn 70 70 67 70, Jonathan Byrd 71 68 66 72, Kevin Kisner 69 68 69 71

278 Carlos Ortiz (Mex) 72 62 68 76, Hudson Swafford 71 71 65 71

279 Adam Schenk 66 71 69 73, John Catlin 69 69 69 72

280 Jhonattan Vegas (Ven) 66 73 68 73

281 Curtis Luck (Aus) 64 66 76 75, John Huh 68 72 67 74

282 Ollie Schniederjans 71 68 68 75

285 Ryan Blaum 67 73 67 78

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