Mitchell holds off Koepka and Fowler to claim maiden PGA Tour title

‘It’s not even close to sinking in. I don’t expect it to, I don’t want it to, this is just awesome’

Keith Mitchell celebrates as he sinks his putt on the 18th hole to win the Honda Classic in Palm Beach Gardens. Photograph: AP

Keith Mitchell celebrates as he sinks his putt on the 18th hole to win the Honda Classic in Palm Beach Gardens. Photograph: AP

 

American Keith Mitchell produced a brilliant birdie on the 72nd hole to hold off the challenge of Brooks Koepka and Rickie Fowler and win his first PGA Tour title in the Honda Classic.

Mitchell birdied four of his last seven holes at PGA National to card a closing 67 and finish nine under par, a shot ahead of three-time major winner Koepka and his Ryder Cup team-mate Fowler.

Koepka, the reigning US Open and US PGA champion, had birdied the 16th and 18th in his closing 66 to set a target matched by Fowler thanks to three birdies in the last four holes.

However, Mitchell held his nerve despite driving into a fairway bunker on the 18th and, after laying up with his second shot, hit his third to 15 feet and calmly rolled in the putt to secure victory.

Mitchell told Sky Sports: “It’s not even close to sinking in. I don’t expect it to, I don’t want it to, this is just awesome. Playing like I did coming down the stretch is unbelievable.

“I have a 9:25am tee-time tomorrow so I might have to take it easy (tonight) but I might just put some sunglasses on or something!”

Ryan Palmer had set the early target after charging through the field with a superb 63 and then faced a lengthy wait to see if he would become the first player to win a PGA Tour event after starting the final round outside the top 30.

Palmer’s seven-under-par total was matched by Lucas Glover and eventually overtaken by Koepka, while Vijay Singh also missed out on creating history after a closing 70 left him in sixth place.

The 56-year-old Fijian had been attempting to become the oldest winner on the PGA Tour, surpassing the record set by the 52-year-old Sam Snead in 1965, but mixed three birdies with three bogeys on the back nine.

Collated final round scores in the The Honda Classic (USA unless stated, par 70):

271 Keith Mitchell 68 66 70 67

272 Brooks Koepka 67 69 70 66, Rickie Fowler 67 72 66 67

273 Lucas Glover 66 69 72 66, Ryan Palmer 70 71 69 63

274 Vijay Singh (Fij) 70 69 65 70

275 Wyndham Clark 69 67 67 72, Kyoung-hoon Lee (Kor) 67 69 68 71

276 Jason Kokrak 69 71 68 68, Jim Furyk 69 72 68 67, Sergio Garcia (Spa) 67 70 70 69

277 Bud Cauley 67 71 71 68, Lucas Bjerregaard (Den) 70 68 72 67, Ryan Armour 68 68 70 71, Harris English 70 71 68 68

278 Michael Thompson 71 69 66 72, Charl Schwartzel (Rsa) 67 70 72 69, Billy Horschel 67 71 73 67, Jhonattan Vegas (Ven) 64 73 69 72

279 Brian Stuard 69 70 72 68, Scott Brown 70 70 70 69, Matt Wallace (Eng) 71 68 72 68, Brian Gay 71 70 70 68, Chesson Hadley 68 70 73 68, Max Homa 69 71 70 69, Talor Gooch 71 68 72 68, Russell Henley 69 72 70 68, Ernie Els (Rsa) 66 73 71 69, Roberto Castro 67 70 69 73

280 Adam Schenk 67 71 68 74, Kramer Hickok 69 72 66 73, Justin Thomas 68 74 67 71, Roger Sloan (Can) 71 71 66 72, Patrick Rodgers 68 71 72 69, Nick Taylor (Can) 72 66 70 72

281 Peter Malnati 69 68 71 73, JT Poston 73 68 69 71, Rory Sabbatini (Svk) 67 74 67 73, Matt Jones (Aus) 69 69 69 74, Benjamin Silverman (Can) 66 71 75 69, Byeong-Hun An (Kor) 74 68 70 69, Gary Woodland 72 70 66 73, Sam Saunders 68 72 70 71, Jonas Blixt (Swe) 70 72 70 69, Webb Simpson 72 69 71 69, Daniel Berger 72 67 70 72, Julian Etulain (Arg) 67 70 74 70, Danny Lee (Nzl) 69 67 75 70, Sebastian Munoz (Col) 69 70 71 71, Cameron Tringale 69 68 70 74

282 Nick Watney 71 67 71 73, Trey Mullinax 70 72 68 72, Harold Varner III 72 69 67 74, Bill Haas 69 70 69 74, Sung Kang (Kor) 68 68 71 75, Sungjae Im (Kor) 70 64 77 71, Russell Knox (Sco) 69 72 71 70, Chase Wright 72 68 72 70

283 Vaughn Taylor 70 68 69 76, Zach Johnson 66 72 71 74, Adam Svensson (Can) 72 64 72 75, Cameron Davis (Aus) 70 72 68 73, Bronson Burgoon 67 71 73 72, Joaquin Niemann (Chi) 71 70 71 71, John Huh 70 72 67 74, Anirban Lahiri (Ind) 67 70 71 75

284 Martin Kaymer (Ger) 71 70 68 75

285 Grayson Murray 71 68 71 75, Freddie Jacobson (Swe) 69 67 74 75

287 Hank Lebioda 67 74 70 76

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