Potter Jr reigns at Pebble Beach
He was chased hard by a series of major championship winners, but unheralded Ted Potter Jr sensationally claimed the AT & T Pebble Beach National Pro-am by three shots.
The 34-year-old shot a final round of 69 for a total of 17-under 270, which left him three clear of five-time major winner Phil Mickelson, former world number one Jason Day, current world number one Dustin Johnson and the in-form Chez Reavie.
It was an extraordinary week for a man who broke his ankle midway through the 2014 season and needed nearly two years out of the game. Only last year did he regain his PGA Tour playing rights via the Web.com Tour.
The win was his first top-ten finish at this level since July 2013 and only his third since his only previous victory, the 2012 Greenbrier Classic.
"I'm definitely thrilled," he said. "So happy to get it done, and to do it playing against and with the world number one (Johnson) was special. Winning here at Pebble, too, was just beautiful.
"The way I finished the tournament, hitting a lot of quality shots coming down the stretch knowing that I had to, that gives me a lot of confidence for the future."
For Johnson, who won the tournament back-to-back in 2009 and 2010, it was another case of what-if. In fact it was his fifth top-five finish at Pebble Beach as he seeks to complete a hat-trick of titles.
"Just didn't have it," he admitted. "Even when I hit some really good shots it ended up in some terrible spots. I just never got in a rhythm out there.
"All in all still a good week. T2 is not terrible, but I would have liked to put more pressure on Ted."
Meanwhile, Mickelson leaves the Monterrey Peninsula excited about the rest of his season.
"When I drive it well I play to the strengths of my game which is my iron play," he said. "Distance is a factor too. I've increased my club head speed by four miles an hour. I'm not going to be one of the longest out here, but I'm top third again and I feel like I can compete from there."
Johnson is 11/1 to win the Masters in April while Mickelson is 18/1. Their fellow runner-up Day is rated a 18/1 shot for Augusta National glory.
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