Brian Gay rallies to win Bermuda Championship in playoff

Brian Gay

Brian Gay claimed his first win in seven years after a sizzling Sunday at the Bermuda Championship.

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A Sunday filled with leaderboard jockeying led to a photo finish at the Bermuda Championship from Port Royal Golf Course. Here’s how it all went down.

The winner: Brian Gay (seven-under 64; 15-under overall)

How it happened: Doc Redman held the 54-hole lead at 10 under, but a lackluster Sunday performance opened the door for someone to kick down — and a trio of players obliged. Denny McCarthy came out of nowhere to vault himself into contention with a final-round, eight-under 63. The blistering performance was enough to land him comfortably inside the top five, but not enough to force a playoff with either of the names above him on the leaderboard.

Instead, the tournament came down to two: Brian Gay and Wyndham Clark. Gay (-8) and Clark (-9) entered Sunday neck-and-neck, and the two would battle all afternoon at Port Royal. Clark jumped out to an early lead, building a three-stroke advantage over the field with seven birdies through the first 11 holes, but it wouldn’t be enough to separate himself from Gay late. The two pulled even after Clark bogeyed the par-3 16th (his first bogey or worse on the closing stretch all week), but Gay gave the stroke right back after making bogey on the 17th.

After a miraculous birdie on the 18th by Gay, he and Clark headed into a playoff, where a birdie on the first playoff hole sealed the deal for Gay.

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Biggest shot: There’s no question, the best shot of the day belongs to Gay, who stuffed his approach from the rough on the 18th to a little over 2 feet, then made the birdie putt to tie for the lead. Not only did the birdie cement Gay atop the leaderboard, but it also placed all the pressure on the 26-year-old Clark, who had just teed off on the 18th behind Gay.

Why it matters: The win is the first for Gay since the Humana Championship in 2013 (!). The 48-year-old Gay now holds five career PGA Tour victories, the same number as Rickie Fowler.

A card confirmed: Will Zalatoris earned special temporary membership on the PGA Tour on Sunday. The Korn Ferry Tour star finished the week in Bermuda at eight under and finished T-16. With the finish, the 24-year-old secured himself entrance to every PGA Tour event through the remainder of the 2021 season. The membership is just the latest feather in Zalatoris’ cap following a T-6 finish at the U.S. Open in September.

What’s next: The PGA Tour turns up the heat in the last open field event prior to the Masters, the Houston Open. Memorial Park Golf Course is expecting many of the game’s best players in attendance as they take advantage of the final opportunity to prepare for Augusta National. Viktor Hovland, Jason Day and Phil Mickelson are among the players in the field in Houston this week.