La Quinta, California
Making his tournament debut, PGA TOUR rookie and World No. 417 Adam Long (rota: NT-SC-LQ) birdied the 72nd hole to cap off a bogey-free, 7-under-par 33-32=65 in Sunday’s final round on the Stadium Course at PGA WEST and post 26-under 262, good for a one-shot win over first- second- and third-round leader Phil Mickelson (69) and Adam Hadwin (67), who completed the final threesome.
In just his sixth career event on TOUR, the 31-year-old, a pre-tourney 500/1 outright, bags his first title. This writer has kept odds data dating to 2013 and Long is the first 500/1 winner since World No. 1207 Derek Ernst (4th alternate) won the 2013 Wells Fargo in a playoff over Englishman David Lynn.
Long, with the appropriate Twitter handle of @aLongShot, stared down course horse and one-time TOUR winner Hadwin, and 43-time winner, Hall of Famer and two-time past champion Mickelson, draining the winner from 13’ 9”.
It’s an improbable, shocking and life-changing victory for the Florida resident, who wasn’t even in the field at this coming’s weeks Farmers (8th alternate), and was scheduled to attempt to open-qualify this morning. Not anymore.
From his post-tourney presser:
“It was a little surreal when I got the text last night that I was paired with Phil and Hadwin. That was a cool one in itself. It's like, hey, I'm playing with Phil on a Sunday, let alone in the final group. I was nervous and excited, I had all kind of feelings going on and couldn't have been in a better group to play with and a huge thanks to them really for making me feel comfortable and like I belonged to be there, and I couldn't ask for two better guys to play with, they're both really complimentary and outgoing and obviously terrific golfers and… but it was definitely a little bit of the Phil and Hadwin show, no doubt.”
Final Leaderboard (pre-tourney odds outright):
1- (-26, 262) Adam Long (500/1)
2- (-25, 263) Phil Mickelson (40/1)
2- (-25, 263) Adam Hadwin (25/1)
4- (-24, 264) Talor Gooch (300/1)
5- (-22, 266) Dominic Bozzelli (200/1); alternate
Playing out of the third-to-last threesome, defender Jon Rahm (66-66-68-67), a pre-tourney 13/2 fave outright, finished solo 6th on 21-under 267, five adrift.
Overall, it’s Long’s second made cut and first top 25, brushing aside a T63 at the 2019 Safeway Open, where he was T4 thru 18 holes (66-72-74-75).
Along with his six career starts on the main stage, Long had made 137 other starts on four PGA TOUR junior circuits (113- Web; 12- Latinoamerica; 11- Canada; 1- China) and finished runner-up three times, including once last season in 27 events, but this was his first win. Dating to last season on the Web.com, he had missed seven of his last eight cuts, including all four in the Web Finals.
With a Strength of Field rating of 233 (up 10 from last year), the Duke alum banks 42 world-ranking points and vaults 284 spots to a career-high 133rdin the Official World Golf Ranking, and also leaps 193 places to a career-high 12th in the FedExCup standings.
With the win, the New Orleans native earns a 2-year exemption on TOUR and a plethora of other goodies, including invites to the following tournaments (all debuts): 2019 Masters, PGA Championship, THE PLAYERS, WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational, and the 2020 Sentry TOC. The Masters will be his second major (CUT, 2011 U.S. Open).
Through 11 events this season, Long is the third, first-time winner (Kevin Tway, Safeway; Cameron Champ, Sanderson Farms), and after beginning 37th on the Web.com Priority Rankings, is the second rookie to remove his name from the reshuffle (Champ).
He checked in off three consecutive missed cuts, including by two at the Sony Open on a sponsor exemption (71-69).
“Yeah, it's amazing. I was an alternate for next week at the Farmers, so I didn't know what tournaments I would be getting into. Coming off the Web can be tough. You're not guaranteed a whole lot, I didn't get off to a good start, so I was at the bottom of that category and my tournament schedule was a little bleak. But this changes everything, obviously…”
Long: After kicking off with 63-71-63, the 63s both career lows, he began in solo 3rd, three back. Long hit nine (of 14) fairways and 12 greens in regulation, gaining 1.991 strokes tee-to-green and 2.886 on-the-green.
He rang up seven birdies, all birdie 3s, and wrapped the week with three eagles and 24 birdies versus two bogeys and one double. He ranked No. 1 in Total Putts and Putts per GIR, and was T1 in Eagles. See more on Long later and his full stats at the bottom.
Season Form: 1-MC-MC-MC-63
Desert Classic Form: Debut
Mickelson (60-68-66-69): The California native and resident led outright after Rounds 1, 2 and 3 – by three, two and two shots, respectively – and was eyeing his fourth overall wire-to-wire win.
He improves to 2-for-2 on the season (T17, Safeway) and settles for his 36th runner-up in 596 events, first since T2 at the 2018 AT&T Pebble Beach last February.
On seven fairways and 17 GIR, he squared two bogey-5s at holes 1 (3-putt from 29'8") and 9 (penalty drop), offset by five circles at 2, 5, 7 (from 11'4"), 15 and 16, needing 33 total putts.
The 48-year-old, chasing his 44th TOUR title, first since the 2018 WGC-Mexico, posted 1.824 putts per GIR and a dismal -3.251 SG: Putting in R4, missing three putts from seven feet and in.
Season Form: 2-17
Desert Classic Form (16 starts): 2-MC-21-3-24-37
OWGR: 26 (UP eight)
FEC: 28 (UP 108)
Hadwin (65-66-65-67): The 31-year-old began solo 2nd, two back, one clear of Long. He hit 10 fairways and 12 GIR, posting a -2.142 SG: Around-the-Green.
The Louisville alum went out in bogey-free 5-under, now the leader by two, and after birdie-4 at 11, his sixth of the day, led by three. He stalled out from there, however, playing his final seven holes in birdie-less 1-over (bogey at 13), and ending with 1.502 SG: Putting and 26 total putts.
This was the Scottsdale resident’s fifth appearance, fourth straight top 10 and second runner-up (2017 as 54-hole leader). It’s his third top 10 of the season in six starts, bettering a pair of T10s. The Canadian, chasing his second TOUR title in 127 events (2017 Valspar), settles for his second runner-up.
Season Form: 2-57-10-30-10-MC
Desert Classic Form: 2-3-2-6-48
OWGR: 57 (up 13)
FEC: 13 (up 38)
Gooch (67-67-66-64): Playing out of the fourth-to-last threesome, the second-year man tossed up a day-low, 8-under 64 to finish a career-best solo 4th, the 64 matching a career low in 90 rounds (x3).
This was the Oklahoma State alum’s 33th event, first top 10, and brushes aside a previous-best T13 at the 2018 Wells Fargo.
Playing this season on conditional status, he improves to 2-for-4 with two top 25s (T14, Sanderson Farms), and checked in off back-to-back missed cuts, including by one at last week's Sony as an open-qualifier (71-68).
Gooch hit 11 fairways and 14 GIR, recording 3.782 SG: Tee-to-Green and 2.095 SG: Putting. He rang up nine birdies, highlighted by a 42-footer at the last from off the green (with the flat stick), to camouflage a one bogey-5 at 15.
Season Form: 4-MC-MC-14
Desert Classic Form: 4-67
OWGR: 242 (UP 104)
FEC: 59 (UP 97)
Bozzelli (67-69-64-66): Playing out of the third-to-last threesome, the third-year man smoothed a 6-under 66 to finish in solo 5th.
Originally in the field, he was bumped by top 10s from the Sony, and then back in as 1stalternate. The Auburn alum records his second cash in three Desert Classics and second top 5, joining solo 5th two tries ago in 2017 (as 18-hole leader).
He found seven fairways and 13 GIR, losing 1.207 strokes around-the-green but gaining 3.124 on approach. The 27-year-old squared a lone bogey-4 at 13, outflanked by seven birdies, all from inside of eight feet, and registered 1.426 putts per GIR and 1.427 SG: Putting.
The New York State native improves to 5-for-6 on the season with two top 25s (T11, RSM), and records his first top 10 since T10 at the 2017 FedEx St. Jude Classic.
He checked in off a T33 at last week's Sony where he was T5 thru 54 holes (71-64-64-73). That was Bozzelli’s final start on a Major Medical Extension, coming up 86.155 FedExCup points short of meeting the terms, and is now playing the rest of the season on conditional status.
Season Form: 5-33-11-48-41-MC
Desert Classic Form: 5-MC-5
OWGR: 293 (UP 125)
FEC: 43 (UP 42)
Note: Long, Gooch and Bozzelli all earned top-10 exemptions into the Farmers
Field Scoring Average:
This was the 60thplaying of the Desert Classic, fourth straight with the current 3-course rota:
Stadium Course (SC) host: 7,113 yards; par 72 (36-36)
Nicklaus Tournament (NT): 7,159 yards; par 72 (36-36)
La Quinta CC (LQ): 7,060 yards; par 72 (36-36)
SC: 70.24 (four rounds)
NT: 69.06 (three rounds)
LQ: 68.72 (three rounds)
Note: Strokes gained stats are only recorded on the Stadium Course
Cumulative scoring averages:
Note: Had there been strokes gained stats for all four rounds: Long: 16.05 SG: Total
Long’s Position by Round:
R1: T2 (3 back)
R2: T11 (6 back)
R3: 3 (3 back)
With the 3-course rotation and a scheduled 54-hole cut, there wasn’t a traditional draw this week, so we’ll look at the course rotation for the top-5 finishers.
In total, 73 pros from a field of 155 pros and one amateur made the cut of 9-under 207 with the final round contested on the Stadium Course.
2019 winner: Adam Long: NT-SC-LQ
Note: Long is the second winner on this rotation, joining 2016 champ Jason Dufner:
2018 winner: Jon Rahm: LQ-NT-SC
2017 winner: Hudson Swafford: LQ-NT-SC
2016 winner: Jason Dufner: NT-SC-LQ
Phil Mickelson (T2): LQ-NT-SC
Adam Hadwin (T2): SC-LQ-NT
Talor Gooch (4th): SC-LQ-NT
Dominic Bozzelli (5th): NT-SC-LQ
Of the 11 players who finished in the top 10, began on:
La Quinta: 3 (23 of 50 made the cut; 2 WDs)
Nicklaus: 5 (28 of 52 made the cut)
Stadium: 3 (22 of 52 made the cut)
(LQ): 60: Phil Mickelson
(NT): 63: Adam Long
(SC): 65: Adam Hadwin
(LQ): 62: Carlos Ortiz
(LQ): 63: Adam Long
(SC): 63: Charles Reiter (a)
(SC): 64: Talor Gooch
Multiple bogey-free rounds (10 players):
Leader/co-leaders by Round:
R1: Phil Mickelson (T2): 9-for-29 as 18-hole leader/co-leader (zero for last five)
R2: Phil Mickelson (T2): 17-for-33 as 36-hole leader/co-leader (zero for last four)
R3: Phil Mickelson (T2): 25-for-40 as 54-hole leader/co-leader (zero for last four)
How Long Won on Sunday:
Began solo 3rd, three back of Mickelson and one shy of Hadwin.
Hadwin went out in 31 and was the leader at the break by two over Gooch and Mickelson. Long, not showing any nerves, birdied 1, 2 (from 16’4”) and 9, now solo 4th and three back.
Hadwin birdied 11, now leading by three over Gooch and Mickelson, with Long now four back.
Hadwin bogeyed 12 after Long had chipped-in for birdie-3 (from 15’8” away), and Long was now in a three-way T2, two back.
Hadwin pars 14 but Long birdies (from 5’0”), Long now solo 2nd and just one back.
Hadwin pars 15 and Long holes out again for birdie, this one a pitch-in variety (from 20’6” away), and Long was now tied. (Mickelson birdies, one back).
At the par-5 16th, Hadwin and Long both flubbed pitch shots for their third and parred, while Mickelson 2-putted for birdie and a three-way T1.
All three players recorded routine pars at 17.
At the par-4 18th, Long missed the fairway but found the surface with his second (13’9” away); same with Mickelson, but he had 37’9” remaining for birdie.
Hadwin hit the fairway but flew the green with his second, ending up in a rear greenside bunker, where he got up-and-down for par.
Mickelson missed, Long make. GAME OVER.
FUN FACT: Long is the second player this season (Charles Howell III, RSM) to miss the cut in his start prior and then win in his next start, and the third in the last 15 events, adding in Bryson DeChambeau at last season’s THE NORTHERN TRUST in the FEC Playoffs.
In 47 (non-team) events last season, a total of seven players MC in start prior and then won in their next start:
Bryson DeChambeau: The NT
Justin Thomas (WGC-BI)
Dustin Johnson (Canadian Open)
Michael Kim (John Deere)
Bubba Watson (Travelers)
Rory McIlroy (API)
Ryan Armour (Sanderson Farms)
Cuts Made: 2 (33.3%)
Top 25s: 1 (16.6%)
Top 10s: 1 (16.6%)
Top 3s: 1 (16.6%)
Wins: 1 (16.6%)
2019: Desert Classic (come from behind, 3-shot deficit)
Shot: 7-under 65
Winning Margin: 1 shot
Career Start: 6
Event Type: FULL FIELD
Wins by Season:
2019: 1 (rookie)
Season Winners (11):
5 winners were in their 20s
4 were in their 30s (Long age: 31)
2 were in their 40s
Kevin Tway (Safeway): age 30
Marc Leishman (CIMB): age 34
Brooks Koepka (CJ CUP): age 28
Xander Schauffele (WGC-HSBC): age 25
Cameron Champ (Sanderson Farms): age 23
Bryson DeChambeau (Shriners): age 25
Matt Kuchar (Mayakoba): age 40
Charles Howell III (RSM): age 39
Xander Schauffele (Sentry TOC): age 25
Matt Kuchar (Sony): age 40
Adam Long (Desert Classic): age 31
TOUR Rookies &/or First-Timers:
TOUR Rookies: 20
Top-10 finishes: 1
Adam Long: First time low rookie in six starts
Top-10 finishes: 1
Adam Long: That’s it.
Honorable mention (in both categories) goes to Sungjae Im, who finished T12 on 17-under 271, T7 thru 54 holes (71-65-64-71).
Season Leaders in Top-10 Finishes:
Consecutive Top 10s on TOUR:
3: Patrick Cantlay (9-2-7)
3: Bryson DeChambeau (10-7-1)
2: Jon Rahm (6-8)
2: Marc Leishman (3-4)
2: Xander Schauffele (1-1)
2: Webb Simpson (8-3)
2: Tiger Woods (1-6)
Updated Top 10 FEC Standings (points):
1. Xander Schauffele (1,094)
2. Matt Kuchar (1,050)
3. Marc Leishman (794)
4. Gary Woodland (773)
5. Charles Howell III (755)
6. Bryson DeChambeau (660)
7. Kevin Tway (641)
8. Brooks Koepka (593)
9. Cameron Champ (592)
10. Andrew Putnam (536)
Long’s Weekly Stats (ranking of 73 players):
Eagles: 3 (T1)
Birdies: 24 (T11)
Bogeys: 2 (T2)
Double Bogeys: 1 (T41)
Birdie or Better: 37.50% (T3)
Birdie to Bogey Ratio: 9.00 (T3)
Par-3 Scoring: 2.81 (T8)
Par-4 Scoring: 3.70 (T2)
Par-5 Scoring: 4.31 (T4)
Driving Distance (all drives): 275.0 yards (53rd)
Driving Accuracy: 39/56 (T12) at 69.64%
GIR: 51/72 (T41) at 70.83%
Putts per GIR: 1.510 (T1)
Total Putts: 98 (1st)
Putts by Round: 21-29-25-23
Scrambling: 18/21 (T70) at 85.71%