As there usually is, the Humana Challenge had a complete log jam of players at the top of the leader board on Sunday. Four players started the day tied for the lead, with another four only one shot back. On a course that averages 3-4 shots under par in scoring, you truly had no idea who was going to come away with the win. Most would agree that it was unfortunate Erik Compton – a two-time recipient of a heart transplant who redefines the term “journeyman” – wasn’t that guy. Compton has been on a journey through professional golf unlike any other, including his impressive T2 at the U.S. Open last year, but a win on the PGA Tour is something that still alludes him. Compton began the round as one of the players tied for the lead, but failed to get things going on Sunday.
Bill Haas, on the other hand, continued his magic in La Quinta and stayed on top of the field to earn his 6th win on tour. Things look to be back on track for Haas, who injured his wrist last April while coming to the aid of his son, who was having a seizure. He put together an impressive Sunday stand while claiming he is still battling through pain in his wrist. In a tournament when everyone is going low and the leader board is congested at the top, you have to forget about the race and just play your game. Haas was able to do that, and after a bogey on the third hole, he made four birdies and an eagle, and never looked back. Aside from a good look at birdie on the 18th for Matt Kuchar, that would have forced Haas to birdie the last, there wasn’t much drama at the very end.
Three things we are taking away from the Humana Challenge: Matt Kuchar, with his second top 5 finish in a row, is again looking like he could be a factor in every tournament he plays. Webb Simpson, who followed up a T13 in Hawaii with a T7 this week, shows no signs of struggle in transitioning away from the anchored putter. And finally, Lefty had the kind of ho-hum top 25 finish, ending with three straight rounds in the 60s, that indicates he could return to relevancy, and the winner’s circle, this season.
Now, let’s take a look at our results in what can easily be described as an improvement from last week.
PGATour.com: Keegan Bradley (T48/20 points), Matt Kuchar (T2/167 points), Cameron Tringale (T30/36 points), Charley Hoffman (T2/167 points). Overall grade – B
We like our results here, picking two of the 5 players who finished in a runner-up spot, and all four of our picks making the cut. That is not an easy thing to do in a shoot-out tournament that cuts after the third round. Just look at some of the players who didn’t make the cut: Zach Johnson, Brandt Snedeker, Jason Dufner, and Luke Donald. It would have been nice to trade Bradley or Tringale for Haas, who we picked in the Golf Channel league, and who was a favorite going into the tournament, but we will take these results any week.
Golf Channel: Patrick Reed (T24), Bill Haas (1st), Stewart Cink (Cut), Robert Garrigus (72). Total Earnings: $1,083,342. Overall grade – B-
Despite picking the winner in this league, we graded our performance slightly below the PGATour.com results. Yes, whenever you correctly predict the winner, your total points for that week will skyrocket. But when the correctly picked winner is also a heavy favorite, as Haas was, the victory just doesn’t taste as sweet. Had Stewart Cink won the whole thing, we would immediately jump to A grade territory, but instead we whiffed on Cink, essentially whiffed on Garrigus, and even Reed did not deliver, considering Kuchar was a much safer pick in the top tier. So while we may be satisfied with the monetary results, we’d like to see at least 2 strong picks to earn the solid B or better.