Mitchell wins Honda Classic for 1st PGA Tour title

Mitchell wins Honda Classic for 1st PGA Tour title
Keith Mitchell holds up his trophy after winning the Honda Classic golf tournament Sunday, March 3, 2019, in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. (AP) — Keith Mitchell made a 15-foot birdie putt on the final hole Sunday to win The Honda Classic for his first PGA Tour victory to earn a trip to the Masters.

Mitchell closed with a 3-under 67 to finish at 9-under 271 at PGA National, one stroke ahead of Brooks Koepka and Rickie Fowler.

“I was trying to focus on what was going on,” Mitchell said. “My mind started wandering there a little bit at the end ... and then I hit a great putt.”

Mitchell was one shot behind going into the final round, bogeyed the opening two holes and fell as many as four shots behind before slowly getting back into the mix, and then pouring it on with four birdies over his last seven holes.

All he had to do was hold off Koepka, the reigning PGA Tour player of the year and three-time major champion, and the always popular Fowler. Koepka finished with two birdies on the last three holes for a 66, while Fowler made three birdies over his last four holes, including a 45-foot putt on No. 17, for a 67.

But Mitchell didn’t waver in the wind.

He was on the upslope of a fairway bunker on the par-5 closing hole, about 205 yards from the pin for his second shot. All he could do from there was blast out to the fairway, leaving a wedge to the green. That checked up about 15 feet below the hole, giving him a putt to win.

He made it, pumped his fist and waited for the final group of Wyndham Clark and Vijay Singh to finish about five minutes later.

Mitchell finished at 9-under 271 and earned $1,224,000.

Singh, at 56 trying to become the oldest winner in PGA Tour history, was among those tied for the lead on the back nine. He fell back with a tee shot into the water hazard on the 17th hole. Singh closed with a 70 and finished sixth.