Ernie Els drains a ridiculous bomb for the win and 2 other stories you might’ve missed
As the PGA Tour’s fall season marched on last week in Las Vegas, Martin Laird completed his comeback from knee surgery. But beyond the comeback tale, there were other intriguing storylines playing out. Here are three stories you might’ve missed.
Trey Mullinax wins 16 months after scary head injury
In May 2019, a stray ball at a Wednesday pro-am sent Trey Mullinax’s world into a tailspin. It resulted in a concussion that had months of lingering effects and him losing his PGA Tour card. But thanks to some stellar play at the Orange County National Championship, he’s on the road back to the big leagues.
Mullinax won the final event of the Korn Ferry Tour season on Sunday, firing a final-round 69 to claim the title by one over Brandon Wu and Stephan Jaeger. Mullinax made birdie at the par-5 18th as he earned his second career KFT title.
“After my injury, to come back and win, it means the world,” Mullinax said.
With the win, Mullinax moves to 32nd on the KFT points list as he tries to earn his way back onto the Tour. With the 2021 season ahead, he’s in excellent position to do so.
Ernie Els sinks 40-footer to cap comeback
When Ernie Els teed off for the final round of the SAS Championship, he was tied for 9th and needed a huge day to give himself a chance at victory. He did just that.
Els fired a closing 66 at Prestonwood Country Club on Sunday as he made seven birdies to come back from a three-stroke deficit to earn his second Champions Tour victory of the season. The highlight of the day was when he sunk a 40-foot bomb on the 18th green to post the clubhouse lead that would be enough to ensure a one-shot win over Colin Montgomerie.
“I had 64 in my mind to try to get to 14 under par,” Els said. “It was tough scoring out there … So seven birdies, it was just good enough.”
With the win Els became the third player with two wins this season, joining Miguel Angel Jiménez and Jim Furyk, and moves atop the Charles Schwab Cup standings for the first time.
LPGA rookie has massive major debut
Bianca Pagdanganan’s first taste of major golf did not go as expected as she fired a 77 during the opening round of the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship. But over the last three rounds, she showed why she is one of the most promising young prospects in the game.
The 22-year-old followed up her disappointing opening round with back-to-back 65s to get herself into contention heading into Sunday, relying on her jaw-dropping power to attack Aronimink Golf Club. She stumbled a bit on Sunday as she shot 73, but a T9 finish in your first major start is nothing to scoff at.
“It’s been unbelievable,” Pagdanganan said of her week at Aronimink. “Honestly, obviously I try to aim high, but I feel like I continue to exceed my own expectations every time I play, so I feel like this whole week has just been unbelievable.”
The top 10 is her first on the LPGA Tour since turning pro this summer and earned her a spot in the U.S. Women’s Open in December. If this week was any indication, she’ll be a name to keep an eye on in Houston.