PGA Tour Honda Classic: Keith Mitchell comes out on top on dramatic final day
Keith Mitchell came to the 18th tee on Sunday of the Honda Classic needing a birdie to take the lead outright and possibly get his first PGA Tour win. Mitchell shared the lead with bigger and more well-known names Brook Koepka and Rickie Fowler who were both in the clubhouse watching and waiting for what Mitchell would do on 18.
Mitchell's drive on the par 5 18th hole found the fairway bunker under a lip and there would be no chance for him to reach the par 5 in two strokes. The 18th hole was the easiest hole on the golf course, the finishing hole was a relaxed easy finished compared to the three-hole stretch nicknamed the Bear Trap which is holes 15-16-17.
Mitchell layed up on to 122 yards and hit his third shot to around 15 feet for birdie and his first PGA victory. Nerves were not seeming to get to the young pro as he was hitting putts all round after starting his round with two bogeys. His putt on 18 was no different and when it found the center of the cup, Mitchell fist pumped and knew he was more than likely going to a winner for the first time in his career. Mitchel finished with a 3 under par 67 in the final round that put him at nine under par for the tournament and a one-shot lead over Koepka and Fowler.
The final round at the Honda Classic at the PGA National Champion Course in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida was exciting until the last Mitchell putt to seal it. It included a six-way tie for first at one point with all the golfers at seven under par. Ryan Palmer posted the low round of the with his 63 on Sunday which put him at seven under par for the tournament and in the lead at some point on Sunday.
Brooks Koepka put together a round of 66 which put him in the running but he ended up tied for second with Rickie Fowler.
56-year-old Vijay Singh found himself in the final pairing Sunday and was looking to become the oldest winner in tour history. However, a bogey on 17 took him out of contention and he finished the tournament at six under par and alone in sixth place. Rickie Fowler birdied three of the last four holes to get to eight under but it was not enough as Keith Mitchell's clutch putting came through in the end.
The Florida swing on the PGA Tour continues next week at the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill Club in Orlando. The field is loaded with guys like defending champion Rory McIlroy, Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, and others. 17 of the top 30 in FedEx Cup points standings are expected to playing at Bay Hill so it should be another great weekend of golf.