Phil Mickelson was the man to beat all week in the desert. He shot 60 in the first round, led the rest of the week and eventually stood on the 72nd tee box in a three-way tie for the lead. But could he hold off Adam Hadwin and Adam Long? Not so fast. Here’s what you missed in the final round of the Desert Classic at the PGA West Stadium Course in La Quinta, Calif.
Who won: Adam Long (seven-under 65, 26 under overall)
How it happened: Mickelson led Hadwin by two and Long by three to begin the day, but Hadwin birdied the 7th, 8th and 9th to turn in five-under 31 and take a two-shot lead over Mickelson and three-shot edge over Long. Long, a 31-year-old rookie who missed the cut in his last three starts, made back-to-back birdies on 14 and 15 to tie Hadwin at 25 under. Mickelson fought back with birdies on 15 and 16 to make it a three-way tie with two to play. After pars on 17, Long made a 14-footer for birdie on 18 to win, and rob Mickelson of PGA Tour victory No. 44.
Why it matters: Mickelson is a legend and Hadwin a proven Tour player, but Long came out of nowhere to win for the first time on the PGA Tour. He’s bounced around on the Mackenzie tour, PGA Tour Latinoamerica and Web.com tour before getting his PGA Tour card this year.
Swing hole: Mickelson stepped to the par-5 16th trailing Long and Hadwin by one, but both players missed the green right with their second shots and then flubbed chips. Mickelson pierced a four-iron from 233 yards to 10 feet and two-putted for birdie to tie the lead.
Best paycheck increase: In Long’s four previous starts this season he only cashed in once — the only time he made the cut — by finishing T63 at the Safeway Open and bringing home $13,568. His paycheck on Sunday? Just $1.062 million.
Best quote: “Holy crap.” — Adam Long, walking off the 72nd green after making the winning putt
Best shot when it mattered: After missing the fairway on the 72nd hole, Long had the ball well below his feet and was 175 yards from the pin. Then he struck one of the best clutch shots of his life, knocking it inside 14 feet. It led to his winning birdie putt.
Up next: A stacked field heads to Torrey Pines for next week’s Farmers Insurance Open, which will also be Tiger Woods’s 2019 debut.