Wilson takes Phoenix Open in playoff

BY Bruce Young | US PGA Tour | 2011 Phoenix Open | Wrap | 08 Feb 2011

Mark Wilson holed an eight foot putt at the second hole of a playoff at the Waste Management Phoenix Open to win his second event of the season and his fourth PGA Tour title.

With frosty conditions early in the tournament having forced delays to the event’s schedule, many players were required to return to the TPC Scottsdale on Monday morning with Wilson leading by one over Tommy Gainey when play resumed.

Wilson, who three weeks ago won the Sony Open in Hawaii, was unable to break clear and while Gainey faltered with a triple bogey at the 17th hole, it would be Jason Dufner who would emerge as the threat.

Dufner birdied the 16th, holing a 40 foot putt to do so, then the 17th. At the 72nd hole he all but holed his bunker shot for a final par and a score of 18 under.

Playing two groups behind, Wilson created one last opportunity when his approach to the 72nd hole finished 15 feet from the hole. The putt to win in regulation time missed but at the second extra hole he holed from 8 feet for birdie and it was all over.

Wilson has benefited in 2011 from a conscious decision to focus on scoring and playing the game rather than getting too bogged down with technique. Two wins in three starts in 2011 highlights the impact of that decision.

He talked about the help of a number of people but a revisit to the some of the teachings of Bob Rotella has paid huge dividends for him and might be a lesson for many others also.

“I’ve always been a searcher in terms of my technique and my golf swing, trying something new here or there, it might work for a little bit, and even switching during the rounds. When I saw Dr. Rotella, I said, okay, do I spend a few months and just try to engrain a new habit in the swing, trying to get my club a little more on plane, certain little things I’d like to change, or do I just go with it and trust it and try to just do the same thing every day. And he says, the sooner you decide to just trust what you’ve got, the quicker you’re going to become a better player. And I skated right through Q-school and then I won three months later at the Honda, my first win in 2007

“That was the mentality that I’ve taken ever since. I stray from that every once in a while, but for some reason at the end of last year, which was one of my worst years in recent history, it just popped back into my head, hey, I’ve got to just trust what I’m doing and just play my own game, not try to put my swing on camera every afternoon after the rounds and try to make it perfect, because I looked around and I see everyone has got a different swing.

“Even some of the best swings on TOUR, if they can’t dial in the yardage then it is not going to help them. So just focus more on myself, and that’s what Bob really helped me with.”

Vijay Singh produced his best finish on the PGA Tour in more than two years when he finished with a final round of 66 for a share of third with Scot Martin Laird whose final two rounds of 64 and 65 were by far the best of the final 36 holes.

Geoff Ogilvy finished as the leading Australian in 13th position. Ogilvy was on the edge of contention for much of the tournament but bogies at his final two holes cost him the chance of a top five or better.

Aaron Baddeley was 37th, Marc Leishman 41st, Nathan Green 57th, with Jarrod Lyle and Robert Allenby 62nd.

The PGA Tour now moves back to California for the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro Am.

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    About the Author: Bruce Young

    A multi-award winning golf journalist, Bruce's extensive knowledge of the game comes from several years caddying the tournament circuits of the world, marketing a successful golf course design company and as one of Australia's leading golf journalists and commentators.


    Read all of Bruce's articles »




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