Hudson Swafford of the USA birdied three of the last four holes at La Quinta to win the CareerBuilder Challenge by a shot from Canada’s Adam Hadwin.
Hudson Swafford fired a closing round of 67 over the Stadium Course at La Quinta to emerge from a bunched pack and claim his first PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge.
Swafford was five shots back of the lead held by Chad Campbell after five holes of the final round. But he birdied three holes on the spin from the 7th to the 9th to join the leaders.
Bud Cauley moved ahead at the start of the back nine but Swafford came back with a birdie at the 15th and climbed back into a share at the top of the board. The 29-year-old then played two fine shots to the par-5 16th before two-putting for another birdie and the outright lead.
The former Georgia player followed up with a brilliant shot to the par-3 17th – “Alcatraz.” A daunting prospect with its rock-lined island green, Swafford took dead aim and put his ball to within two feet of the cup. He knocked it in and moved two clear.
Adam Hadwin reduced the deficit to one with a birdie on the 16th but the Canadian, who had shot a 59 in the third round, was unable to get on terms with Swafford.
The American made a solid par at the last and Hadwin needed to birdie the hole to tie him. His approach missed the green and, when he was unable to hole his pitch, the title was Swafford’s.
Close range putting drill video:
3 Talking points from the CareerBuilder Challenge
1 – This was a first PGA Tour title for Hudson Swafford. The 29-year-old is playing his fourth season on the PGA Tour and his best finish prior to this week had been a tie for eighth. He will now play in the U.S. Masters for the first time.
“They don’t give them away out here. It’s not easy,” Swafford said. “I’ve been close. I’ve been in the heat lately. Just keep putting myself in position, and this just feels unbelievable.”
2 – Adam Hadwin was unable to secure victory despite shooting an incredible 59 on Saturday. The Canadian made no fewer than 13 birdies in round three. He finished the week with a 70 to claim second place on his own.
“I was a little disappointed. I never quite felt comfortable on the tee box,” he said.
3 – Phil Mickelson was making a return to competitive action this week after hernia surgery. He started the event strongly with rounds of 68 and 66 but his progress slowed on the weekend with rounds of 70 and 73. He ended the week in a tie for 22nd.
“I’m much further along than I thought I would be,” said Mickelson. “I knew my game wasn’t sharp, I didn’t feel like I was ready to win, but now I feel like my game’s come a long way in the last week.” Lefty is scheduled to play the next four weeks straight.
Stadium Course, La Quinta, California
Purse $5,800,000 par 72
1 Hudson Swafford (USA) 65 65 71 67 268 $1,044,000
2 Adam Hadwin (Can) 71 69 59 70 269 $626,400
T3 Bud Cauley (USA) 69 67 65 69 270 $336,400
T3 Brian Harman (USA) 67 65 69 69 270 $336,400
5 Dominic Bozzelli (USA) 64 67 69 71 271 $232,000
T6 Chad Campbell (USA) 66 69 66 71 272 $201,550
T6 Brendan Steele (USA) 68 64 70 70 272 $201,550
8 Scott Stallings (USA) 67 71 69 66 273 $179,800
T9 Martin Laird (Sco) 68 66 71 69 274 $156,600
T9 Sean O’Hair (USA) 67 69 69 69 274 $156,600
T9 Richy Werenski (USA) 69 67 68 70 274 $156,600
Note: Player score in bold signifies Titleist ball usage