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Our 5 Favorite Highlights from the 2018 Pure Insurance Championship

Next year, Pebble Beach is celebrating its Centennial. But in 100 years, a tournament has never finished like this.

Ken Tanigawa became the first pro to win a tournament at Pebble Beach with a walk-off eagle on the famed 18th hole, sinking a 35-footer to clinch the 2018 PURE Insurance Championship Impacting the First Tee. Trailing two-time tournament champion Kirk Triplett and Marco Dawson by a stroke, Tanigawa leap-frogged them with his epic putt to capture his first PGA TOUR Champions title.

The 50-year-old PGA TOUR Champions rookie played at UCLA with Schwab Cup leader Scott McCarron, but gave up on professional golf after missing 18 of 23 cuts on the Tour in 2003.

“I pretty much fired myself because I was really bad,” Tanigawa admitted.

Tanigawa then caught lightning in a bottle when he entered PGA TOUR Champions Q-School — the Phoenix resident only tried out because neighboring TPC Scottsdale hosted it — and earned medalist honors, which gave him status for a year.

And now, Tanigawa will live in Pebble Beach lore.

Enjoy our favorite highlights from this year’s tournament, headlined of course, by Tanigawa’s historic shot:


Amazingly enough, Tanigawa eagled the 18th hole on Saturday at Poppy Hills to take a two-stroke lead into the final round. But not all eagles are equal.

“Just, wow!” said Tanigawa as he tried to process the moment. “I’m a little speechless right now, a lot going on. It was a hard round for me, but I fought back, and to be able to eagle the last hole, just unreal.”

Tanigawa birdied Nos. 2 and 3 on Sunday, but bogeys on Nos. 4 and 5, and a double-bogey at No. 8 gave away the lead. Tanigawa righted the ship with nine straight pars before his epic finale.

“I was just trying to hang in there,” Tanigawa said. “It was hard to play with the lead, I’ve never done it out here. I made a couple birdies early, but then I made a few bogeys and I started playing a little defensive. Then I doubled eight and I just kind of hung in there. You never know and it just happened to work out.”

(We would be remiss if we didn’t shout out Christopher Meyers’ 2014 walk-off double-eagle to win the pro-junior competition.)


The 2012 and 2013 champion was zeroing in on Jeff Sluman’s three titles at the PURE Insurance Championship until bogeys at Nos. 16 and 17 dropped him a shot behind Marco Dawson. Triplett was probably still feeling pretty good after this tap-in birdie at the last caught Dawson.

But then Tanigawa struck.


Another eagle shook up the leaderboard a couple hours earlier.

Woody Austin jumped to 7-under on his day and into the lead at 11-under when he dunked this approach shot on No. 11.

Unfortunately Austin ran out of steam, going 4-over his final 4 holes to finish in a tie for fifth, three strokes behind Tanigawa.


Kevin Sutherland has been a runner-up at the TaylorMade Pebble Beach Invitational Presented by Dell Technologies each of the last three years.

His nephew Matthew was able to help him get over the hump at Pebble Beach.

The uncle and nephew duo from Sacramento teamed up to win the pro-junior title, finishing at 16-under and surviving a scorecard playoff with two other teams. Kevin Sutherland finished at 5-over for the championship, so Matthew helped out the team a staggering 21 shots over three rounds.

“Before the week I was thinking of all the players who have played competitive golf at Pebble Beach, and it’s a short list,” said Matthew Sutherland. “To put yourself in a category of people who have won at Pebble Beach is on another level, and I’m just happy to be a part of that.”


The oldest player to win on the PGA TOUR Champions was 63. That’s what made Hale Irwin’s opening 5-under 67 at Pebble Beach such a head-turner. Irwin is 73.

Irwin ultimately faded to a tie for 42nd at 3-over, but for one day, he had us nostalgically considering the impossible.

“I haven’t played for a couple of months, so just to be out here, and to shoot the score I did, it was fun,” reflected Irwin, who pitched in for eagle on No. 2. “But I’m here to enjoy these kids. I learn as much from them hopefully as they learn from the rest of us. They’re terrific kids, and they just make it fun.”

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