There have been three PGA Tour tournaments played so far in 2017. In two of the three, the shot of the tournament has come on the 71st hole from the final group. In the Tournament of Champions to open the calendar year, it was Justin Thomas who stuck a dreamy iron from forever away to seal the deal. On Sunday, it was Hudson Swafford who nearly made an ace on the par-3 17th at the CareerBuilder Challenge to get his first career win.
The Georgia alum was flowing a little bit with two straight birdies entering the tough No. 17.
Runner up Adam Hadwin (who shot 59 on Saturday) covered Swafford up with a birdie of his own on the same hole to stay one back going to the final hole of the tournament. They both made par and Swafford took the trophy.
Swafford finished birdie-birdie-birdie-par to get to 20 under to Hadwin's 19 under.
Swafford was the best driver in the field on the week and played bogey-less golf over his final 17 holes. His 67 on Sunday was third-best in the entire field.
Swafford came into the week with 92 career events and zero finishes in the top three. He has been a mainstay on the PGA Tour for the last three years, having earned just under $3 million with a top 10 in each season but nothing all that close to a win. Now, he joins Georgia pals Harris English, Chris Kirk and Brian Harman with a win.
>>McIlroy Out Indefinitely With Stress Fracture in Rib
It turns out Rory McIlroy's injury from South Africa last week is more than a tweaked back. McIlroy went for a MRI in Dubai on Monday, and it revealed a stress fracture in his rib that will sideline him for an indefinite period of time. McIlroy was slated to play the Abu Dhabi Championship this weekend, but he has since pulled out of that event.
"It's bitterly disappointing to have to withdraw from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship," McIlroy said in a statement.
McIlroy also normally plays the Dubai Desert Classic at the beginning of February and potentially has the Genesis Open in the middle of February in Los Angeles as well. Those are both in doubt with this latest news.
The bigger storyline here is what this means for the Masters. McIlroy will have his third opportunity at the career Grand Slam come April, and he has noted that he was slated to play a lot more than normal in the lead up to Augusta this time around.