Ex-Tide golfer picks up first PGA Tour win
by Associated Press
Mar 03, 2013 | 2381 views |  0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend | print
PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. — On a long, hard day at the Honda Classic, former Alabama golfer Michael Thompson relied on a superb short game to win for the first time on the PGA Tour.

Thompson seized control early today with a 50-foot eagle putt on the third hole, then kept his distance with clutch par saves and closed with a birdie from the bunker. It gave him a 1-under 69 — one of only five rounds under par at PGA National — and a two-shot win over Geoff Ogilvy.

"This week was magical," Thompson said. "Just had a groove and kept feeling it."

Luke Guthrie, tied with Thompson for the 54-hole lead, fell behind with a bogey on the second hole and closed with a 73 to finish third.

Thompson, who finished at 9-under 271, had made only one cut this year and finished at the bottom of the back. He was solid from the start Sunday on another windswept day in south Florida, one of only three players who shot par or better all four rounds.

"You don't have to do much wrong to be making a bogey out there, so it's pretty impressive," Ogilvy said of Thompson's final round. "It's a great effort, really. As you say by the rest of the scores, it's a very hard golf course and it seems to get progressively harder in some ways. There's a disaster waiting everywhere.

"There's a lot of golf courses on tour that it might be easy to close out a golf tournament — or easier — but this is not one of them."

Thompson dropped only one shot on the back nine, a three-putt on the 16th when he missed from just inside 3 feet. He rattled another short par putt in on the 17th, and then played away from the water on his second shot at the par-5 18th, into a bunker. Once his ball stopped rolling 4 feet from the cup, the tournament was over.

The win moves Thompson to No. 45 in the world and gets him into his first World Golf Championship next week.

"This is everything," Thompson said. "This is a childhood dream come true. I've dreamed of playing out here since I was 7 years old and to win, it's just unbelievable. I just can't put it into words. The whole day was awesome."

Thompson's short game was superb during the pivotal part of the final round. He twice chipped to tap-in range for par on the 10th and 11th holes, and he built a four-shot lead with four holes to play. The only thing that kept him from an easy walk to this first win was Ogilvy's late birdies.

"I am so proud of Michael,” Alabama head coach Jay Seawell said in a news release from the Crimson Tide's athletics communications office. He has worked so hard and this is a great moment for him and his wife Rachel. He has always represented Alabama golf with class."

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