Archives for May 8, 2017
WILMINGTON NC – The Wells Fargo Championship appeared to be headed for a playoff on Sunday until Brian Harman seized the title with a birdie-birdie finish in Wilmington, N.C. Harman drained a 30-foot birdie putt on the final hole for a closing 4-under-par 68, giving him a dramatic one-shot victory over Dustin Johnson and Pat Perez at Eagle Point Golf Club. Harman finished 72 holes at 10-under 278.
The top-ranked Johnson was denied an opportunity to win his fourth consecutive title on the PGA Tour because of Harman’s heroics. Playing for the first time since a slip down some stairs resulted in a back injury that knocked Johnson out of the Masters last month, he posted back-to-back 67s after barely making the cut on Friday.
On the decisive par-5 18th hole, Harman’s second shot sailed over the green near a corporate tent. After Harman got relief, his chip barely landed on the edge of the green. From there, however, he made the winning putt.
“I didn’t hit a great chip. It didn’t turn out very good,” Harman said, “but I guess it went where it was supposed to.”
Harman won for the second time in his career. His only other victory was in the 2014 John Deere Classic.
The victory almost didn’t come to pass after Harman made a three-putt bogey on No. 15.
“It’s surreal,” Harman said. “I three-putted that 15th hole, knew it was going to be tough to birdie those last couple. But I stuck to my game plan and just did it. Did the best I could.”
Johnson made a 15-foot birdie putt on 18 that gave him a share of the lead until Harman came along. Then Johnson waited in the clubhouse with Perez for a possible playoff.
“I didn’t really know what to expect this week because I didn’t really get to practice leading into this tournament,” Johnson said. “Not much has changed. The first couple days I didn’t play that great, but really played nicely on Saturday and Sunday, and so I’m happy with where the game is going into next week.”
Perez recovered after he stumbled with a double bogey on No. 14 with birdies on Nos. 16 and 18 to finish with a 68.
Jon Rahm of Spain, who shared the lead on the back nine for a time, needed an eagle on the final hole, but his approach shot went over the green and his chip wasn’t close. He finished alone in fourth at 280 after a final-round 71.
Patrick Reed, the 54-hole leader, was doomed by four bogeys in a six-hole stretch on the back nine. He shot 40 on the back nine and wound up tied for 12th at 283 following a 75.
Phil Mickelson tied for 18th at 285 after a 72 on the final 18 holes
Where: Verizon Center, Washington, DC
WASHINGTON DC — The goal for any team is playing the best when the stakes are highest. Based on how the Wizards carved up the Boston Celtics in consecutive wins, Washington is doing just that. Bradley Beal scored 29 points, and the Wizards produced 26 unanswered points in the third quarter en route to a 121-102 win over the Boston Celtics on Sunday night in Game 4 of their Eastern Conference semifinal playoff series.
The Wizards evened the best-of-seven series 2-2 after the Celtics won the first two games in Boston. Game 5 is Wednesday night in Boston. Beal’s backcourt mate, John Wall, had 27 points despite missing his first nine shot attempts, and he added 12 assists. Washington shot 52.4 percent from the field overall.
The Wizards outscored the Celtics 42-20 in the third with Wall, Beal and Markieff Morris combining for 34 points in the period.
The series shifts back to Boston after the latest two contests followed familiar scripts, including Celtics star Isaiah Thomas being kept quiet on offense for long stretches. Washington won a feisty Game 3, 116-89, after taking control with a 22-0 run in the first half.
“We played inspired basketball for each other,” Wizards coach Scott Brooks said of the similar surge Sunday. “It’s probably our best stretch of basketball.”
“It was all our defense,” Beal said of the decisive run.
The Celtics committed nine of their 20 turnovers in the period, which the Wizards converted into 21 points.
“We just turned the ball over a lot,” Celtics center Al Horford said. “It’ll be interesting to go back and look at the game and see what we can do. They just turned us, and (it) kept leading to layups for them.”
Thomas finished with 19 points for the Celtics, but he scored 15 on 5-of-5 shooting from beyond the 3-point arc in the opening 13:05.
“We just have to corral him right,” Morris said. “He’s a small guy. At the end of the day, if he’s got three players around him, how can you make a pass? How can you make a shot? That’s basically what we’re doing.”
Terry Rozier had 16 points and Kelly Olynyk added 14 points for the Celtics.
After the Celtics broke a 48-48 halftime tie with the first five points of the second half, they went scoreless for a stretch of 6:28 while committing eight turnovers.
In between, the Wizards went up 74-53 on Otto Porter Jr.’s layup with 5:00 remaining. Porter had 18 points.
Morris contributed 16 points and 10 rebounds. His two free throws gave Washington its largest lead at 86-60.
The Wizards outrebounded the Celtics 45-31 and scored 56 points in the paint.
Washington played without reserve forward Kelly Oubre Jr., who was suspended one game for charging and pushing Olynyk in the second quarter of Game 3 following a hard pick set by Olynyk. Eight technical fouls were called in that game along with Oubre’s flagrant-2 foul.
Tensions didn’t run as hot in Game 4, though Thomas was called for a technical in the fourth.
Thomas scored 33 and 53 points, respectively, in the series’ first two games, but he was held to 13 points on 3-of-8 shooting during Game 3 as Washington turned up the defensive intensity and pressure.
The 5-foot-9 guard started white hot in Game 4 but attempted only one 3-pointer over the final 35 minutes and never got to the free-throw line. He finished 7 of 14 from the field. Thomas also committed six turnovers.
“They were very physical,” Thomas said. “The refs were allowing them to hold and grab and do all those things. … Especially in the third quarter, I may have hit the ground five or six times.”
Washington dominated Game 3 by maintaining a healthy margin established following a 39-17 first quarter. That was something the Wizards could not accomplish in the opening two games in Boston, both won by the Celtics.
Boston flipped the script Sunday. The Celtics entered the second up 24-20 when Thomas hit back-to-back 3-pointers. The margin reached 12, but Wall roared from there with all 14 of his first-half points coming in the second quarter.
Horford scored 11 points.
NOTES: Since Dec. 8, the Wizards are 30-5 at home. … Boston alternated its starting lineup for the fourth time this series by reinserting F Amir Johnson. F Gerald Green started Game 1 and 3 with Johnson in that spot for Game 2. Johnson had seven points in 12 minutes. … PG John Wall has finished with at least 20 points and seven assists in all 10 of Washington’s playoff games this season.