Scott McCarron held a lead in the PGA Tour Champions’ season-long Charles Schwab Cup race from April until Sunday’s dramatic final moments at Phoenix Country Club in the season’s last event, the Charles Schwab Cup Championship.
He couldn’t have come any closer to losing it, but his advantage was just enough to hold on after Jeff Maggert holed out from the fairway for eagle to defeat Retief Goosen on the third playoff hole. With McCarron (above) having finished T27 in the tournament, Goosen would have clinched the Schwab Cup with a victory.
“Jeff Maggert is my favorite player on the PGA Tour Champions,” McCarron joked afterward. “My goal was to win the Schwab Cup when I first came out here, and after a few close finishes, I’ve finally done it. It was just something I wanted so bad and I didn’t handle the pressure that well the last two weeks, but it was just enough to get it done.”
Although McCarron entered the Schwab Cup Championship as a three-time winner in 2019, his finish toward the bottom of the 34-player field Sunday opened the door for others, with double points being awarded in the season finale.
Luckily for McCarron, third-round leader Maggert appeared to have a firm hold on the tournament. Maggert came into the week ranked No. 31 in the standings and did not have a chance to win the Schwab Cup,
Maggert holed a birdie bomb on the par-3 13th to take a two-stroke lead on Goosen. Goosen missed a short birdie attempt at No. 14 just a few moments after Maggert reached 20-under par, and it appeared to be positive news for both Maggert and McCarron.
However, Maggert (pictured) couldn’t convert several makeable birdie opportunities on the next four holes and came to the par-5 18th hole suddenly trailing Goosen by one stroke. Goosen made birdies on Nos. 15, 16 and 18 to reach 21-under 263 and waited to see if Maggert could match him.
After pulling a drive well left of the fairway, Maggert opted to pitch out into the fairway. That left him with a pressure-packed wedge shot, which he hit to within 10 feet. He holed the ensuing birdie putt and punctuated it with an emphatic fist pump to send the event into a playoff.
When both players missed short downhill birdie efforts on the first playoff hole, they came back to play the par-5 18th for a third time. Maggert and Goosen both made birdies and went to the par-4 17th for a third sudden-death hole.
With sunlight diminishing, Goosen faded his tee shot into a fairway bunker and then hit a magnificent approach to set up a good look at birdie. It didn’t matter. Maggert drove his ball in the center of the fairway and then holed his approach, sending McCarron and the rest of the onlookers into a frenzy.
“I’ve struggled with the putter at times this week, so it just goes to show that sometimes you don’t need a putter,” Maggert said. “I think Scott owes me some red wine.”
By winning the Schwab Cup, McCarron earned a $1 million annuity.
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