Young American Harris English chased down and then lapped the field in record-breaking fashion at El Camaleon Golf Club to win the OHL Mayakoba Classic in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, Sunday afternoon. English fired a final round 65 to post the tournament record 21-under-par 263 as he defeated Brian Stuard by four shots. Jason Bohn, Chris Stroud and Rory Sabbatini shared third another shot adrift.
After plenty of rain soaked the Mexican Riviera over the week, Harris English drenched the field with birdies, 27 of them, as he set the tournament record. English only made two bogeys in the final three rounds after posting two and a double in his opening 18. After multiple delays over the first two days, English kept his focus and fired a bogey-free 62 to share the 36-hole lead at 12-under. His 68 on Saturday saw him trail Robert Karlsson by one as he entered Sunday. His bogey on No. 2 on Sunday saw him fall off the pace but the 24-year-old former Georgia Bulldog birdied seven of his next 11 holes to break away from the pack. It’s back-to-back weeks for the ‘Dawgs and the Sea Island Mafia on TOUR as English joins Chris Kirk in the victory circle this week.
English was my No. 1 ranked player this week and he played like it. His victory this week was based on his ability to hit greens, hole putts and keep out of trouble. His driving accuracy was only T57 (77 players made the cut) but he was T10 in GIR and led the field in putts per GIR. I guess it’s not a huge deal if you don’t keep in the fairway here when the rough is only 1.5” deep! He’s by far the longest player to add his name to the list of winners at this event.
At 24 years of age, he’s now won twice on TOUR and both of these were in his last 14 events (FESJC). Only Rory McIlroy has more victories for players under the age of 25 on TOUR. That’s not bad company.
Check out where English has had his best finishes in his three years on TOUR:
2012: T8 Harbour Town, T5 Colonial, T10 Sedgefield
2013: T9 Waialea, T7 Copperhead Course, T6 TPC Louisiana, WIN TPC Southwind
2013-2014: T7 CIMB, WIN El Camaleon
This shows gamers that he can play on tight tracks (Harbour Town, TPC Southwind, Colonial, Copperhead, Waialea) and he can play in shootouts (TPC Louisiana, El Camaleon, Sedgefield). This just confirms my suspicions that he’s really, really good and is only going to get better. There are plenty of guys who can compete in birdie fests but there are not many that can also be competitive on the tighter tracks as well. English is now 4-4 on the season and this is his second top 10 after his T7 in Malaysia. He’s been under par in 15 of his 16 rounds so far in 2013-14.
With this victory, English collects $1,080,000 and 500 FedExCup points.
Déjà vu All Over Again?
After winning 31 of 40 tournaments in 2013, the USA has now won the first six events of 2013-14 as Harris English joins Jimmy Walker, Webb Simpson, Ryan Moore, Dustin Johnson and Chris Kirk as the winners this year.
Jimmy Walker is the only first-time winner in 2013-14. There were 12 of them last season. We have seen five young studs and Walker, another player in his prime, rack up the first five wins of the year.
Only 17 of the 38, 54-hole leaders went on to win last year in full-field, stroke play events. This season, four of the first six winners have held the outright or co-54-hole lead. Robert Karlsson couldn’t hold the 54-hole lead this week.
English posted 21-under to break Brian Gay’s tournament record by one shot.
English is the fourth winner to have lifted the trophy in his maiden voyage at this event.
The best finish for a defending champion is still T12 as John Huh was a respectable T23 this week.
Harris English and John Huh make it back-to-back years of players 24 or younger winning this event.
Young Guns versus Prime Time versus Old Guys
This is the part of the column where I list the winners and their age. Jimmy Walker (34) started the season out on the right foot for the Prime Time guys and was joined by Ryan Moore (30) in Malaysia. Harris English, 24, joins Chris Kirk, 28, Webb Simpson, 28, and Dustin Johnson, 29, as the twenty-somethings on the board as the Young Guns now have four of six wins to start the season. The Old Guys were led this week by 40-year-old Jason Bohn. Folks, if you need birdies, you can do much, much worse than rolling with Jason Bohn!