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Sunday at the AT&T: Potter Improbably Holds Off World’s Best

The big names made their runs at Ted Potter, Jr.

World No. 1 Dustin Johnson took the lead with a birdie on No. 3.

Phil Mickelson put a charge into the crowd with birdies on Nos. 14, 16 and 17, and a daring attempt at eagle on No. 18.

Jason Day jumped into second with late birdies on Nos. 15 and 16.

But Potter, 34, the 246th-ranked player in the world, never flinched.

Potter shrugged off a shaky three-putt bogey on No. 1 with birdies on four of his next six holes to grab a lead he would never relinquish, and closed with 11 straight pars to shoot 17-under and win the 2018 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am by three strokes over Mickelson, Day, Johnson and Chez Reavie.

“Yesterday was a great moment, shooting 62, but starting out tied for the lead today, and finishing the golf tournament in the lead by a couple was just truly unbelievable,” Potter said.

Potter nearly shot 59 at Monterey Peninsula Country Club on Saturday — he needed to go 1-under his final three holes but finished with back-to-back bogeys — and entered the final round tied with Johnson.

“I’m sure everyone knew going into today that Dustin’s going to win the golf tournament,” admitted Potter, who had just four top 10s on the PGA TOUR in 83 previous starts. “But I had nothing to lose.”

So how did Potter win?

He channeled his inner Tom Kite, and chipped in for birdie on No. 7:

“I was just trying to get some loft and spin on it,” Potter said. “I couldn’t ask for anything else there. That was just one of those moments.”

Then Potter treated the rest of the round like a Pebble Beach U.S. Open, pumping out 11 straight pars to keep the field at double-bogey’s distance.

“I gave it a shot there on the back nine and it was a good solid round,” said Mickelson, who went 5-under his last 13 holes. “It wasn’t enough because Ted’s been playing so well. But it was nice to feel the nerves and to make a couple birdies coming in.”

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While Potter played the boring golf he needed to grab his second PGA TOUR win, there were some adventurous moments throughout Sunday’s final round. Here were a few of our favorites:

1. JASON DAY MADE A PAR FROM A PEBBLE BEACH ON NO. 18

Down by three and chasing an eagle to apply some pressure to Potter, Day hooked a driver off the deck left of the 18th green. But his shot settled on a pebbly beach during low tide, and Day excavated it back into play — into the greenside bunker. Day then made the ultimate sandy par, earning a lengthy ovation when he got up and down from the bunker.

Day also made this impossible shot look simple:

2. MICKELSON SHOWED OFF HIS FLASHY SHORT GAME.

There’s that patented flop shot. Mickelson even chipped when he was on the green:

3. LARRY FITZGERALD WON THE TEAM COMPETITION BY A TOUCHDOWN.

Playing to a 13 handicap, golfing-obsessed Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald helped his pro and fellow Whisper Rock member Kevin Streelman a whopping 28 shots to finish at 41-under.

“It’s fun to watch his passion and his competitiveness that you can see on the football field come onto the golf course,” Streelman said. “He wants to win. He struggles off the tee a little bit, that’s where his 13 comes from.”

Fitzgerald became the first black amateur to win the team competition, and the first athlete to capture the title since Dan Marino in 1988.

What was your favorite moment from this year’s beautiful AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am?

Hero Image: Jeff Gross/Getty Images


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