Hudson Swafford, behind a nine-birdie final round, wins American Express

Hudson Swafford

Hudson Swafford on Sunday after his par putt on the 18th hole at the PGA West Stadium Course.

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Saturday felt like 2017, and no, we’re not talking about the Green Bay Packers losing in the NFL’s postseason, though that happened again, too. (Sorry, Packer fans.) But as Hudson Swafford walked off 18, fresh off a ball-striking-rich 66 and sitting three shots out of the lead at the American Express, it was all reminiscent to five years ago, when he broke through and won his first PGA Tour tournament. 

“Yeah, I might have drove it a little better in ’17, it’s been a — haven’t hit quite as many fairways, but really hit my irons beautifully, putting great, doing everything else pretty good,” Swafford said. 

“It’s kind of got that feel the way I feel like I’m rolling it.”

If he had just a feeling on Saturday, then Sunday was full-blown goosebumps. In 2017, he fired a five-under 67 at the PGA West Stadium Course to win by one. In 2022, he was three better in the final round, as Swafford shot an eight-under 64 — the day’s low round — for a 23-under total, a two-shot win and his third Tour victory. 

Notably, he bogeyed the 446-yard, par-4 1st, — like he did in the 2017 final round. From there on Sunday, he made two more bogeys — and nine birdies and an eagle. His birdie on the 609-yard, par-5 11th pulled him into a share of the lead, and his birdie on the 368-yard, par-4 12th gave him his first outright lead. 

Swafford clinched it with his play on 16, 17 and 18. Tied for the lead entering the 543-yard, par-5 16th, he hit his second shot, from 198 yards out, to 8 feet, he eagled, and his lead was two. On the 177-yard, par-3 17th, Swafford hit his tee shot to the near-island green to 19 feet, he birdied, and his lead was three. And on the 438-yard, par-4 18th, he rolled in an 8-footer for par, and when Tom Hoge failed to hole-out from the fairway, Swafford was the winner.     

Just like in 2017. 

The big takeaway 

A nine-birdie, one-eagle final round? Impressive.

The 18 big shots 

— Lee Hodges and Paul Barjon begin the final round at 18-under, and they lead by one shot over Tom Hoge, two shots over Seamus Power, and three shots over Harry Higgs, Hudson Swafford, Lanto Griffin, Cameron Young, Francesco Molinari and Harold Varner. 

— Bargon bogeys the 381-yard, par-4 1st after missing the fairway on his tee shot, and he falls out of a share of the lead. Hodges is at 18-under, Bargon and Hoge are at 17-under, and Roger Sloan is at 16-under. 

— Hoge birdies the 171-yard, par-3 4th on a 12-foot putt, and he pulls into a share of the lead. Hodges and Hoge are at 18-under, Varner and Barjon are at 17-under, and Sloan is at 16-under. 

— Varner birdies the 546-yard, par-5 8th after hitting his second shot to 3 feet, and he pulls into a three-way tie for the lead. Varner, Hodges and Hoge are at 18-under, Swafford and Barjon are at 17-under, and Sloan, Molinari, Will Zalatoris and Denny McCarthy are at 16-under. 

— Hodges, after six-straight pars to start his round, birdies the 351-yard, par-4 7th after hitting his second shot to 9 inches, and he takes a one-stroke lead. Hodges is at 19-under, Varner and Hoge are at 18-under, Swafford and Barjon are at 17-under, and Sloan, Molinari, Zalatoris, McCarthy, Si Woo Kim and Brian Harman are at 16-under. 

— Hodges nearly eagles the 546-yard, par-5 8th, as his putt from just off the green pops up out of the hole, and he grabs a two-shot lead. He’s at 20-under, Swafford and Hoge are at 18-under, Kim, Harman and Varner are at 17-under, and Sloan, Zalatoris, McCarthy, Griffin, Molinari and Sungjae Im are at 16-under. 

— Swafford rolls in a 45-footer for birdie on the 402-yard, par-4 10th, and he pulls within one shot of Hodges. Hodges is at 20-under, Swafford is at 19-under, Harman, Barjon and Hoge are at 18-under, and Kim and McCarthy are at 17-under. 

— Swafford drops a 6-footer for birdie on the 609-yard, par-5 11th, and he moves into a share of the lead with Hodges. Hodges and Swafford are at 20-under, Kim, Harman and Barjon are at 18-under, and McCarthy, Griffin, Molinari and Hoge are at 17-under. 

— Swafford sinks a 4-footer for birdie on the 12th — his third-straight birdie and seventh overall for the round — and he grabs a one-shot lead. He’s at 21-under, Hodges is at 20-under, Griffin is at 19-under, and Harman, Molinari, Barjon and Hoge are at 18-under. 

— Swafford three-putts the 195-yard, par-3 13th, and he falls back into a tie for the lead with Hodges. Hodges and Swafford are at 20-under, Griffin and Hoge are at 19-under, Harman and Molinari are at 18-under, and Zalatoris, McCarthy, Barjon and Patrick Cantlay are at 17-under. 

— Hodges misses a 4-foot putt for par on the 13th, and he drops out of the lead. Swafford is at 20-under, Hodges, Harman, Griffin and Hoge are at 19-under, Molinari is at 18-under, and Zalatoris, McCarthy, Barjon and Cantlay are at 17-under. 

— Swafford rolls in a 10-footer for birdie on the 381-yard, par-4 14th, and he takes a two-shot lead. He’s at 21-under, Hodges, Harman, Griffin, Hoge and Zalatoris are at 19-under, and Molinari is at 18-under. 

— Swafford fails to get up and down after hitting to the left of the green on his second shot on the 480-yard, par-4 15th, and his lead falls to one. He’s at 20-under, Harman, Zalatoris, McCarthy, Griffin, Molinari, Hodges and Hoge are at 19-under, and Cantlay is at 18-under. 

— Harman birdies the 438-yard, par-4 18th to shoot an eight-under 64, and he pulls into a share of the lead with Swafford. Swafford and Harman are at 20-under, Zalatoris, McCarthy, Griffin, Molinari, Hodges and Hoge are at 19-under, and Cantlay is at 18-under. 

— Molinari birdies the 543-yard, par-5 16th, and he moves into a three-way share of the lead with Swafford and Harman. Swafford, Harman and Molinari are at 20-under, and Zalatoris, McCarthy, Griffin, Hodges and Hoge are at 19-under.

— Swafford eagles the 16th after hitting his second shot to within 8 feet, and he takes a two-shot lead. He’s at 22-under, Harman and Molinari are at 20-under, and Zalatoris, McCarthy, Griffin, Hodges and Hoge are at 19-under. 

— Swafford rolls in a 19-footer for birdie on the 177-yard, par-3 17th, and he grows his lead to three shots. He’s at 23-under, and Harman, Griffin, Molinari, Hodges and Hoge are at 20-under. 

— Swafford drops an 8-footer for par on the 438-yard, par-4 18th, and he finishes with an eight-under 64 and at 23-under overall. He clinches the victory when Hoge, in the group behind him, did not hole out from the fairway. Hoge, after a 68, finishes two back, three back are Harman, Griffin and Hodges, and four back are Zalatoris, McCarthy and Molinari. 

The final word 

“The way I was rolling it this week, I knew if I kept giving myself chances I would be just fine.” — Swafford on Golf Channel after the victory 

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Nick Piastowski

Nick Piastowski

Golf.com Editor

Nick Piastowski is a Senior Editor at Golf.com and Golf Magazine. In his role, he is responsible for editing, writing and developing stories across the golf space. And when he’s not writing about ways to hit the golf ball farther and straighter, the Milwaukee native is probably playing the game, hitting the ball left, right and short, and drinking a cold beer to wash away his score. You can reach out to him about any of these topics — his stories, his game or his beers — at nick.piastowski@golf.com.

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