Kirk Triplett made a 12-foot eagle putt on the second hole of a playoff with Woody Austin to win the Hoag Classic in Newport Beach, California, for his seventh PGA Tour Champions victory.
The 56-year-old Triplett, who was born in Moses Lake and graduated from Pullman High School, forced the playoff with a similar left-to-right breaker for birdie on the par-5 18th, then matched Austin with a par on their first extra trip down the tree-lined hole.
Playing in the same group, Triplett and Austin each shot 3-under 68 to finish at 10-under 203 at Newport Beach Country Club.
Jeff Maggert and Scott McCarron finished a stroke out of the playoff. McCarron three-putted the 18th from 30 feet for par and a 68. Maggert shot 65, but couldn’t overcome a four-putt triple bogey on 18 in the first round Friday.
Fran Quinn, three strokes ahead entering the round, had a 74 to tie for fifth with Paul Goydos (68) and Steve Flesch (69).
British Open champion Francesco Molinari delivered another big moment on the 18th green at Bay Hill, without wearing a red shirt – and leaving the flag stick in the cup. His 45-foot birdie putt capped an 8-under 64 to come from five shots behind and win the Arnold Palmer Invitational in Orlando, Florida.
Molinari watched the birdie putt kiss off the pin and into the cup, and the normally reserved Italian raised his fist and hammered it down in celebration, knowing that would make him hard to beat.
He started so far back that Molinari finished nearly two hours before the round ended. It gave him a two-shot lead at 12-under 276, and no one got closer than two shots the rest of the way.
“To do it here at Arnie’s place, knowing my wife and kids are watching from home, it’s very special,” Molinari said.
He won for the fourth time in the last nine months, and in his first start since signing a new equipment deal.
Molinari has four victories worldwide in his last 17 starts over the last nine months.
Matt Fitzpatrick managed only two birdies in his round of 71 and made a 3-foot par putt to finish alone in second.
Justin Harding birdied three of the last four holes to win the Qatar Masters by two strokes for his first European Tour title.
The South African shot 6-under 66 71 at Doha Golf Club for a 13-under 275 total, ahead of a packed group in second which included compatriots George Coetzee (68), Christiaan Bezuidenhout (68), Erik Van Rooyen (70) and overnight leader Oliver Wilson of England. Wilson shot 71.
Harding, who won twice on the Asian Tour and twice on the Sunshine Tour in 2018, is projected to move just outside the world’s top 50 when the ranking is updated on Monday. That will get him into the WGC-Match Play in three weeks, boosting his bid to get into the top 50 by April for an invitation to the Masters.
“It was a really good day, hugely rewarding,” the 33-year-old Harding said. “I feel as though I’ve been putting in a lot of hard graft trying to improve my game to get to those next levels and to finally notch one on the European Tour is awesome … I’m looking forward to playing in some bigger events and keeping the form going.”
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