Berger wins Colonial in a playoff


By Doug Ferguson - AP Golf Writer



Daniel Berger poses with the championship trophy after winning the Charles Schwab Challenge golf tournament after a playoff round at the Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas, Sunday, June 14, 2020. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Daniel Berger poses with the championship trophy after winning the Charles Schwab Challenge golf tournament after a playoff round at the Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas, Sunday, June 14, 2020. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)


FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — Daniel Berger was playing some of the best golf that no one noticed. Three months away because of the COVID-19 pandemic didn’t slow his momentum, and he made it pay off Sunday with a victory at Colonial.

The PGA Tour made a healthy return to golf at the Charles Schwab Challenge with a somewhat sickly finish. Berger saved par from behind the 17th green on the first playoff hole and won when Collin Morikawa missed a 3-foot par putt.

Berger closed with a 4-under 66, his 28th consecutive round at par or better dating to Oct. 11 at the Houston Open.

Even over the final hour, a half-dozen players were still in the mix. All that was missing was the sound and energy of a gallery, with the PGA Tour not allowing spectators for the opening five events in its return.

Berger won for the third time — all victories during this week on the calendar, just not in circumstances like this. It was the first PGA Tour event since March 12 when the spread of the new coronavirus shut down golf and other sports.

From no positive tests to a dynamic finish at history-rich Colonial, PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan sized up the week by saying, “This has been a phenomenal start to our return.”

Morikawa has been equally steady. Since graduating from Cal a year ago, he has won and made every cut, a streak now at 21 events, the longest streak by a newcomer since Tiger Woods.

He took a share of the lead with a 50-foot putt on the 14th hole. It was the short ones that hurt. Morikawa also missed a birdie putt from 6 feet on the 18th hole in a 67.

Berger was the only one who delivered, making a 10-foot birdie on the final hole that put him at 15-under 265. The last time Berger was in a playoff, Jordan Spieth holed a bunker shot to beat him at the Travelers Championship. So he could feel for what Morikawa felt int he loss.

“It’s going to hurt for a little while, but he’ll get over it and he’ll be winning again,” Berger said.

Even the optimism of being back to golf didn’t eliminate the sting, and more than Morikawa felt it.

Xander Schauffele gave new meaning to the phrase “Horrible Horseshoe” at Colonial.

He hit into the water on the 15th from a fairway bunker, hit a poor chip after the penalty shot and then made a 30-footer to escape with a bogey. He followed with a 25-foot birdie to regain a share of the lead. And then his 3-foot par putt on the 17th hole dipped in one side of the hole and spun out of the other.

His 25-foot birdie putt to join the playoff came up just short and he shot 69.

Bryson DeChambeau cringed when his 12-foot birdie putt on the 18th narrowly missed, giving him a 66 and leaving him one shot out of the playoff. Ditto for Justin Rose, whose 18-foot birdie on the last hole was a turn short. He also had 66. Jason Kokrak finished well ahead of everyone else. he also missed a birdie on the last hole in his round of 64.

Spieth, trying to end three years without a victory, left with a consolation prize of progress. He missed a 2-foot par putt on the sixth hole — part of three bogeys in a four-hole stretch — but was still in the mix until a tee shot out of bounds on the 14th. Even then, he made a 35-foot putt to save bogey. He wound up with a 71 and tied for 10th.

Rory McIlroy had seven straight tournaments no worse than fifth, a streak that came to a stunning halt. Starting the final round three shots behind, he was 5 over through seven holes and closed with a 74 to tie for 32nd.

The final round was as wild as expected with eight players taking turns or sharing time in the lead, all without having any idea without fans to give a hint of what was going on.

“If there are fans and everything with the ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs,’ I’d probably be a little more (ticked) off,” Schauffele said. “Maybe that’s a good thing for me right now. But it was definitely weird. It was sort of an internal battle, which it always is for me, but more so internal this week just with no fans.”

Monahan conceded his biggest concern going into the week, even with its testing and safety procedure, was positive tests popping up. “That’s something, candidly, that I lost a lot of sleep over in the weeks that preceded coming in,” he said.

All 487 tests at Colonial were negative, and the golf lived up to its part with a star-filled leaderboard and a half-dozen players still in the mix the final hour.

Next up is the RBC Heritage at Hilton Head on the South Carolina coast, and Monahan said the first week won’t be complete until then to see how players handled the interstate travel. Those on the charter were tested for the new coronavirus after the third round. Everyone else would be tested when they arrived at Hilton Head.

“This is about a sustained return,” Monahan said. “But I think as we sit here late in the day Sunday, there’s no question that this has been an exceptional week.”

Colonial Country Club

Fort Worth, Texas

Purse: $7.5 million

Yardage: 7209; Par 70

Final Round

x-Daniel Berger won on first playoff hole

x-Daniel Berger (500), $1,350,000;65-67-67-66;_;265

Collin Morikawa (300), $817,500;64-67-67-67;_;265

Bryson DeChambeau (134), $366,094;65-65-70-66;_;266

Jason Kokrak (134), $366,094;67-70-65-64;_;266

Justin Rose (134), $366,094;63-69-68-66;_;266

Xander Schauffele (134), $366,094;65-66-66-69;_;266

Patrick Reed (88), $243,750;68-69-63-67;_;267

Bubba Watson (88), $243,750;68-66-68-65;_;267

Gary Woodland (80), $219,375;65-67-66-70;_;268

Sungjae Im (68), $181,875;66-69-67-67;_;269

J.T. Poston (68), $181,875;68-66-67-68;_;269

Jordan Spieth (68), $181,875;65-65-68-71;_;269

Justin Thomas (68), $181,875;64-68-66-71;_;269

Abraham Ancer (53), $129,375;64-70-66-70;_;270

Cameron Champ (53), $129,375;66-71-65-68;_;270

Patrick Rodgers (53), $129,375;67-68-70-65;_;270

Rory Sabbatini (53), $129,375;68-68-69-65;_;270

Peter Uihlein (53), $129,375;69-65-69-67;_;270

Corey Conners (44), $95,625;66-67-67-71;_;271

Joel Dahmen (44), $95,625;68-65-70-68;_;271

Branden Grace (44), $95,625;66-66-66-73;_;271

Harold Varner III (44), $95,625;63-66-70-72;_;271

Rafa Cabrera Bello (35), $65,250;68-67-69-68;_;272

Tony Finau (35), $65,250;68-69-67-68;_;272

Lucas Glover (35), $65,250;67-70-69-66;_;272

—;Chesson Hadley (35), $65,250 70-68-64-70272

Brian Harman (35), $65,250;65-69-70-68;_;272

—;Viktor Hovland (35), $65,250 70-68-68-66272

—;Bud Cauley (28), $51,375 71-67-67-68273

Kevin Kisner (28), $51,375;67-69-68-69;_;273

Ian Poulter (28), $51,375;66-70-67-70;_;273

Keegan Bradley (22), $41,875;69-69-67-69;_;274

Matthew Fitzpatrick (22), $41,875;68-69-68-69;_;274

Brooks Koepka (22), $41,875;68-68-69-69;_;274

Rory McIlroy (22), $41,875;68-63-69-74;_;274

Maverick McNealy (22), $41,875;69-69-66-70;_;274

—;Joaquin Niemann (22), $41,875 72-65-72-65274

Bronson Burgoon (16), $32,625;68-70-70-67;_;275

Tyler Duncan (16), $32,625;65-70-70-70;_;275

—;Harry Higgs (16), $32,625 70-65-71-69275

Billy Horschel (16), $32,625;68-68-70-69;_;275

Matt Jones (16), $32,625;66-70-69-70;_;275

Talor Gooch (11), $24,425;68-70-69-69;_;276

Adam Hadwin (11), $24,425;65-71-68-72;_;276

Mark Hubbard (11), $24,425;67-68-67-74;_;276

—;Zach Johnson (11), $24,425 72-66-69-69276

Adam Schenk (11), $24,425;66-72-72-66;_;276

Brian Stuard (11), $24,425;68-70-74-64;_;276

Jim Furyk (8), $18,885;67-69-67-74;_;277

—;Charles Howell III (8), $18,885 70-67-66-74277

Andrew Landry (8), $18,885;68-70-69-70;_;277

—;Matthew NeSmith (8), $18,885 70-67-70-70277

Pat Perez (8), $18,885;69-69-70-69;_;277

Matthew Wolff (7), $17,775;67-69-71-71;_;278

—;Zac Blair (6), $17,475 71-65-75-68279

Louis Oosthuizen (6), $17,475;69-69-69-72;_;279

Scottie Scheffler (6), $17,475;68-69-69-73;_;279

Doc Redman (5), $17,100;67-70-73-70;_;280

—;Richy Werenski (5), $17,100 72-66-70-72280

Byeong Hun An (5), $16,650;67-71-69-74;_;281

Chris Kirk (5), $16,650;68-70-68-75;_;281

Alex Noren (5), $16,650;67-71-67-76;_;281

Jhonattan Vegas (5), $16,650;64-74-73-70;_;281

Keith Mitchell (4), $16,200;67-71-71-73;_;282

Scott Piercy (4), $16,200;67-71-73-71;_;282

—;Denny McCarthy (4), $15,975 70-68-73-72283

Jason Dufner (4), $15,825;68-69-70-78;_;285

Daniel Berger poses with the championship trophy after winning the Charles Schwab Challenge golf tournament after a playoff round at the Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas, Sunday, June 14, 2020. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
https://www.limaohio.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/54/2020/06/web1_125029469-c2a1b72ede654d628b11e33d6cb3bb30.jpgDaniel Berger poses with the championship trophy after winning the Charles Schwab Challenge golf tournament after a playoff round at the Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas, Sunday, June 14, 2020. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

By Doug Ferguson

AP Golf Writer

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