On the Mark!

Posted: January 24, 2012 by Kodi in Hitting the Greens

Mark Wilson takes his 5th PGA victory at this years Humana Challenge

Johnson Wagner and his mustache were back in the hunt

While David Garrigus choked away his opportunity to take the lead. . .

Mark Wilson became the 2nd Wisconsin native to win in the 2012 season with his 2 stroke victory in La Quinta, California at the Humana Challenge. Wilson finished with a -24 264 over the four rounds and defeated a threesome who finished at -22, last weeks winner Johnson Wagner, John Mallinger, and Robert Garrigus. It is Wilson’s 5th PGA Tour victory but what is most surprising is that Mark’s best finish in this tournament up until this year was when he finished 33rd in 2007. Wilson had a three stroke lead heading into the fourth and final round and his competition seemed to be hitting birdies all day long but he struggled until the final 8 holes which he shot -4 at.

All five of Wilsons victories have come before the end of March so he is used to making an early charge but he almost blew this one. He shot a final round -3 and was lucky to pull it off after Ben Crane and David Toms faded away from an early 3 way tie going into the weekend. After shooting an opening round 65 and following it up with a 63 Crane went on to shoot a 70 and final round 71 falling into a tie for 8th finishing the tournament at -19. David Toms had similar problems shooting an even par 72 on Saturday and scrambled around for a final round 68 finishing his tournament tied for 6th with the score of -20. The early rounds had great weather and just 2 golfers in the opening 2 rounds were unable to shoot under par but the latter part of the tournament was heavily affected by colossal gusts of wind.

Wilson was paired with David Garrigus and Zach Johnson to finish out the Humana Challenge and it was Garrigus who was battling back and forth with him. It was surprising because Garrigus had double bogeyed two of his first three holes in the back 9 of his opening round and was 6+ when he was in the tee box at 18. Garrigus turned towards his caddy and said “we’re probably not going to win the tournament but let’s do something”. Garrigus birdied that 18th hole but he was remarkably -28 in his final 55 holes including shooting the tournament’s low round with his third round score of 61. Garrigus had a chance to hit a 28 foot eagle putt to pull into a one stroke lead but ultimately missed and Wilson went on to hit his 10 foot birdie putt.

Garrigus had the chance to put the pressure on Wilson and make that mediocre putt seem like the 28 foot breaking putt he would have hit. Wilson was open with reporters after his victory and explained “that’s what we play for, you want somebody to win it, not necessarily lose it” but is that really how he felt? Or was he ecstatic to see that Garrigus couldn’t pull off a tough putt and was clearly rattled after missing a short 6 foot putt for par on 17? Did those events give him the confidence to knock in his putt and walk away with a cool million bucks? Sometimes I wish that golfers would go what I refer to as WR Diva during an interview. Wouldn’t you love to see an emotional Terrell Owens moment when Garrigus comes up to the media after the round? What about if Ben Crane came up to the mic and had a Stevie Johnson moment, including the Twitter drama? I personally think that it would tarnish the game and the tradition of golf but it would make these press conferences a hell of a lot more entertaining.

The biggest story for me so far this season is talking about the facial hair of a golfer who has been to Q school 5 times but seems to have garnished incredible confidence after pulling off his best Tom Selleck. Johnson Wagner and his mustache have played extremely well in the three opening tournaments and he shot a -7 in the final round pulling within two of Wilson. Wagner made big news when he pulled off a victory last week and people are wondering where this guy’s confidence is coming from. “Obviously I don’t think I would have had as much confidence as I have had for these last couple weeks if it weren’t for the mustache” Wagner explained to the media. There’s no doubt in his mind where the great play is coming from, it’s the hairy caterpillar hanging on his upper lip because clearly he thinks it’s awesome and has newfound confidence and dare I say it, swagger? “It’s amazing how much an awful mustache like this could garner so much attention. It’s pretty funny” Wilson told reporters that its worth it for “all the trouble I’ve been getting for it for the entire winter and now it’s kind of defining me, but it’s cool and I’m excited for the attention.”

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