Abraham Ancer makes his first Tour win count
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Abraham Ancer makes his first Tour win count



Harris English was in control all week at TPC Southwind, he began the final round with a two-shot lead at 18 under and shot 33 on the front nine to remain in front. It looked like he was going to become the first wire-to-wire winner all season and the first player to win three times winner this year. It wasn’t to be however, as a back nine 40 for English allowed Abraham Ancer to win the WGC FedEx St. Jude Invitational in a playoff over Sam Burns and Hideki Matsuyama.

Ancer stayed steady down the stretch even if he wasn’t making many birdies—his lone birdie on the back nine came at the 13th. He had a putt to win the tournament on the 18th in regulation that came up just short.

The win is Ancer’s first on the PGA Tour and moves him to TK in the FedEx Cup standings with just one event remaining before the playoffs.

After all three players made par on the first playoff hole, Ancer and Burns each stuck their approach shots inside six feet. Ancer putted first and buried it dead center, Burns’ putt looked good all the way, but somehow lipped out on the low side to give Ancer the title.

"It's a dream come true to win on the PGA TOUR, and to do it on a big stage like a WGC event was cool," Ancer said. "It was a crazy round. I thought I was going to need a really low one to have a chance today, but it just worked out that it was like pretty much survival mode on the back nine."

 

It all unraveled quickly for English. His tee shot found the water at the par 3 11th, leading to a double bogey. He hit a full-on shank into the water at 14 and made his second double bogey of the back nine, both coming on par 3s.

The second double dropped English into a five-way tie for the lead at 16 under with four holes to go. Another bogey at the par 5 16th—the second easiest hole on the golf course—dropped him out of the lead entirely.

Cameron Smith played with Ancer in the penultimate group and looked out of it early, but he found himself back in contention as English came back to the field. Tied for the lead coming down 18, Smith blew his drive well right and his second shot hit a tree and deflected out of bounds.

Meanwhile, Burns and Matsuyama had set the clubhouse lead after rounds of 64 and 63 respectively. Matsuyama began the day nine shots behind and suddenly found himself in a playoff.

The final group of English and Bryson DeChambeau was put on the clock after DeChambeau hit his tee shot on the 6th hole against a boundary fence. DeChambeau got relief from the cart path and the ruling took several minutes to sort out. The group was put on the clock on the 7th, and their slow pace of play continued as DeChambeau also struggled on the second side, coming home in 41.

English said the bad time significantly affected his play down the stretch.

“When you feel like you've got to rush, you feel like you're not 100 percent ready for the shot and I did that a couple times today and that's the only thing I regret,” English said.

About the author

Peter Santo

Peter Santo

Peter Santo is a golf writer and a graduate of Emerson College. He previously covered all sports for The Boston Globe, Associated Press, and The Washington Times.

When not writing about or playing golf, he can often be found listening to or creating country music.

He can be reached by email at petersanto1129@gmail.com

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