Wed, Nov 11, 2015 - Page 18 News List

Malnati claims Sanderson Farms title

SO NEAR, YET SO FAR:American William McGirt saw his 30-foot putt on the final hole fall agonizingly short of the cup, meaning he finished one stroke behind the winner

Reuters

Peter Malnati of the US, center, celebrates with the winner’s trophy after winning the Sanderson Farms Championship in Jackson, Mississippi, on Monday.

Photo: AFP

Peter Malnati on Monday churned through the mud to clinch a one-stroke victory at the US$4.1 million Sanderson Farms Championship in Jackson, Mississippi.

In his 22nd start on the PGA Tour, Malnati sank a three-foot par putt at the last to card 67 and finish at 18-under 270, edging fellow Americans David Toms (69) and William McGirt (68) at the soggy Country Club of Jackson.

The 28-year-old PGA Tour sophomore became the fifth winner in as many tournaments in the new 2015-2016 PGA Tour season, joining Emiliano Grillo (Frys.com Open), Smylie Kaufman (Las Vegas), Justin Thomas (CIMB Classic) and Russell Knox (WGC-HSBC Champions).

Knox, at 30, is the oldest of the quintet.

Malnati said he had not been mentally ready for his first season on tour in 2014-2015, but returned this time better prepared.

“Two years ago, when I was on this tour, it was so hard for me to be in the moment,” he told Golf Channel.

“I knew the work I have put in would prepare me for this moment when it came. This is pretty cool right now,” he added.

Torrential rain earlier in the week sent the event to a Monday finish on the saturated course, where preferred lies were allowed.

A dozen or so players looked capable of winning at one stage or another during the final round, but none rued what might have been more than joint runner-up McGirt, who agonizingly missed a 30-foot birdie putt at the last that would have forced a playoff.

His ball looked headed for the bottom of the cup, only to break to the right at the end and stop just short of the hole.

“It just kind of ran out of steam and fell off the hole instead of falling in for me,” said McGirt, who was also seeking his first win. “It somehow missed.”

McGirt, whose wife is due to give birth on Friday, closely watched the leaderboard after learning from his mistake at the 2012 Canadian Open, where he was unaware of his position down the stretch and bogeyed the final hole to finish one shot back.

A few weeks later, he received some blunt advice from Tiger Woods.

“We had a nice little conversation and he [Woods] goes: ‘You are an idiot.’ I took that and kind of learned from it,” McGirt said.

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