Mark Wilson is the winner of the 2012 Humana Challenge. His 24-under-par 264 and closing birdie held off hard-charging Johnson Wagner, Robert Garrigus and John Mallinger by two shots. Jeff Maggert rounded out the top five by posting a final round eight-under 64 to get to 21-under for the week.
Wilson, who shot all four rounds in the 60’s, including a 62 in round two, won for the fifth time in his career.
Wilson’s victory ends a streak of eight consecutive winners who had not won on Tour the previous year before winning in the desert. Weird but true.
Wilson, 37, now has three wins in the last 12 months, more than anyone else on Tour.
Déjà vu All Over Again?
This time last year Mark Wilson was tearing up the PGA Tour.
Wilson won the Sony Open and the Waste Management Phoenix Open within four weeks to become 2011’s first multiple-winner.
In early 2012, he’s on-pace to matching last year’s great start.
After a quiet T18 at Kapalua and MC at Sony, Wilson --who’s best finish at the Humana in the last 10 years was T33--wasn’t considered to be among the favorites this week.
Looking back to last year’s performances early in the season, he should not have been written off so quickly.
When you think of Mark Wilson, you think of solid iron play and great putting. He didn’t disappoint this week as he was T3 GIR, fourth in strokes gained-putting and T7 in putts per GIR. He only made four bogeys all week in the desert.
This solid play led to carding all four rounds in the 60’s, including a magnificent 62 in round two.
Mark Wilson lives in the Chicago suburbs. Think he’d like to be on the Ryder Cup team this fall at Medinah? Time to get back to paying attention to the Elmhurst, IL resident.
We constantly hear about the youth movement on tour but the “old” guys have won two of the first three tournaments of year. Wilson, 37, joins Steve Stricker, 44 and Johnson Wagner, 31, as this year’s winners.
Mark Wilson claims 500 FedExCup Points and $1,008,000 for his victory.
Johnson Wagner: After his win last week at the Sony and his T2 this week, I would think it’s safe to say there is NO CHANCE IN HADES that he is shaving off his moustache anytime soon. How about this for a start to the year? T9 at Kapalua, WIN at Sony and T2 at the Humana. Guess who was first in strokes gained-putting again this week? Maybe I should grow a moustache…
Robert Garrigus: In shape. Lost weight. Went to the belly putter. T2. Known for his length off the tee, Garrigus’s new putter helped him to finish T9 in putts per GIR and his iron game was T14 GIR. He was absolutely magnificent on Saturday in the wind shooting 61 at Nicklaus Private. Makes us all forget that he was absolutely awful in round one going out in his first nine in 41. After that first nine he bagged 29 birdies and an eagle against only three bogeys. Yikes, that’s hot. I’ll be following the “new” Garrigus.
John Mallinger: Made only three bogeys all week and only one after the first round. Being T5 GIR helped his cause tremendously as did solid putting. Mallinger is no stranger to the Tour as he was runner-up to Brandt Snedeker for Rookie of the Year in 2007. Also has a P2 at Milwaukee and a T3 at TPC -- both from 2009-- so he’s been close before. No longer bothered by a shoulder injury and with full status from finishing in the top 25 on the Nationwide Tour, he’ll be worth keeping an eye on this season.
Jeff Maggert: The 47-year-old Maggert is aging like fine wine in early 2012. He led after three rounds at Sony before closing with a disappointing 74 to finish T13. This week, he didn’t stumble in the final round, closing with eight birdies against no bogeys to hit the board at fifth alone. Putter was hot this week as he finished top 15 in the three major putting categories. Iron play was better as he was second this week in approach shot proximity to the hole. Led to T3 in birdies made for the week. Not biting, yet.
John Senden: Fantastic week for the Aussie as he made the second most birdies and second most GIR. Always has been a solid player off the tee and into greens. If he can get his putter to cooperate on a more consistent basis, watch out. T6 this week paired with T23 at Sony last week makes for a solid start. Eyes opened.
David Toms: Fantastic putting returned this week after slow start in Hawaii. I guess he is over the disappointment of LSU losing and is back to his old self. Blitzed La Quinta, the hardest course of the three in rotation, for a 9-under 63 on Thursday. Ran into bogeys and a double on Saturday to halt his momentum but rallied for T6 after 4-under on Sunday. I’m still confused. Geaux Toms?
Bobby Gates: Matched David Toms’ 63 at La Quinta. Gates finished T8 GIR and went bogey-free 67 on Sunday to collect his fourth career top 10. He finished third at Q-School to regain his playing privileges on Tour this year. Made only 11 cuts on 29 starts in 2011, but is now two for two in 2012. This should improve his confidence heading forward. Time to take notice.
Ben Crane: Two events, two top 10’s and no mention of the hip issue. Started hot carding 16-under after two rounds with 15 birdies and three eagles. Three bogeys and a double during those same two rounds gave the field a chance to stay close. Six birdies and three bogeys on the weekend wasn’t enough. Made over 211’ of putts to lead the tournament which is testament to his putting. Very solid start to 2012.
Brandt Snedeker: Any question to how he was recovering from hip surgery should be answered for now. How it feels playing back-to-back weeks has yet to be seen. “Opie” looked to be running a little low on gas Sunday, but that’s to be expected the first time out after an injury. Always worth a look as well as he putts.
Zach Johnson: As Golf Channel mentioned, a tough day for the Drake University boys. Billy Cundiff missed the game-tying field goal for the Ravens and Zach Johnson’s putter let him down on the back nine. Made two bogeys in the first three rounds but added four to that total on Sunday. A pair of 65’s in rounds two and three show he’s ready for 2012. Better from Zach this week after T54 last week. If he’s in the field, I’m taking a look.
“Hey, what ever happened to…?”
Martin Laird: All four rounds in the 60’s but never went “super low” to jump up the leader board. Nice and steady performance with a top 10 GIR. Finished T14.
Matt Kuchar: Had 65 on Sunday to end the week in the desert with some momentum. Last year: Played 24 events, made 22 cuts and finished in the top 25 a whopping NINETEEN times. Jumped 26 spots on Sunday to finish T22. Almost “Stricker-ian” in his consistency in cashing.
Dustin Johnson: Surprised most by committing to play this week after coming back from knee surgery and rehab sooner than expected. The original thought was he would be back for The Farmers Insurance Open in San Diego. The other surprise was withdrawing this week with a back injury after completing nine holes in round two. With the power he creates with his swing, this new injury has me concerned for the near future, especially next week in San Diego.
Phil Mickelson: No practice rounds? No problem. Phil made 22 birdies and an eagle on the week. Still had some early season rust as he made two doubles and triple in his first two rounds. Made the cut by a shot but was never a factor. I’ll bet he’s a factor next week at Torrey Pines…Finished T49.
Bill Haas: Thankfully for most of you, he hit the cut line on the number and advanced to the weekend. Finished in the bottom five in all three putting categories, wiping out his T14 GIR. Finished T64. Only two rounds in the 60’s (of eight rounds played) on some of the easiest courses on Tour. Time to make note of that.
Jhonattan Vegas: The defending champion had to get low during the windy third round but couldn’t and was cut. Nine bogeys over three rounds were his downfall as he struggled with the putter. Only two rounds of 11 under 70 this year. Twelve consecutive cuts- made before this weekend. Johnny Miller is the only player to defend this championship (’75-’76).
Anthony Kim: The hometown favorite couldn’t get anything going this week. Shot four of six nine-hole scores over par. Erratic driving and averaging almost 30 putts a round didn’t make Kim a factor this week. Starting to wonder when we’ll see the AK live up to the unlimited potential he has shown in the past.
Harrison Frazar: Down goes Frazar for the first time this season. After being 8-under after two rounds, Frazar couldn’t out-battle La Quinta in the wind on Saturday. After T5 at Kapalua and T2 at Sony, I doubt there’s much disappointment right now. If he stays healthy, he stays on my radar.