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Straka Steals 2022 Honda Classic To Become First Austrian-Born PGA Tour Winner

Sepp Straka entered the final round five shots back of the leader but emerged victorious after an impressive back nine.

Sepp Straka 2022 Honda Classic Champion PGA Tour
Photo: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Daniel Berger entered the final round of the 2022 Honda Classic with a five-shot lead over the field, looking to pick up his fifth career PGA Tour victory. Berger, a native of Jupiter, Florida, grew up less than an hour away from PGA National, where the Honda Classic has been held since 1972. Heading into Sunday, Berger’s five-shot lead was tied for the largest through 54 holes in the 50-year history of the tournament.

Sunday Recap

Shane Lowry, Chris Kirk, Kurt Kitayama, and Sepp Straka began Sunday’s round tied for second place at 6 under. Each golfer would need a miracle to close the gap on one of the top players on Tour.

However, Berger got off to a rocky start (to put it politely) with two bogeys and a double-bogey in his first six holes of the final round. Those mishaps resulted in him surrendering the lead to Lowry on the front nine. Lowry was handed a golden opportunity to pick up his first victory since winning the Open Championship back in July of 2019.

After an abysmal start, Berger bounced back by holing a bunker shot and regaining a share of the lead with Lowry at 8 under as the final pairing headed into the back nine. Just what the doctor ordered.

While Berger and Lowry flip-flopped positions through 11 holes, Straka wound up making a strong push down the stretch, kicked off by a birdie at the 14th. Then, on the 16th hole, Straka sunk a 19-footer from off the green to pick up a share of the lead for the first time.

As the rain began to pour down at PGA National, Straka strung together a couple of phenomenal shots on the par-5 18th hole. This led to a tap-in birdie to nab the lead at 10 under heading into the clubhouse.

With Berger at 8 under and needing an eagle on 18 to force a playoff, he aggressively went for the green from 246 yards out — and wound up slicing his ball into the water. Gut-wrenching for Berger.

Lowry only needed to birdie 18 to keep his tournament hopes alive. But once the rain began, the 34-year-old Irishman oddly never looked comfortable and rushed through his final shots. Lowry missed his birdie putt, giving Straka his first PGA Tour victory along with a nice $1.44 million payday. Straka became the first Austrian-born player to win on the PGA Tour. He has also secured his Tour card through the 2023-24 season. Heck of a Sunday for Sepp.

Reaction

“It’s unbelievable,” a visibly emotional Straka told reporters. “I still don’t really know. The words aren’t really coming to me right now. It’s just crazy. I really don’t know what to think.”

Lowry, who didn’t make a single bogey on Sunday, felt he did enough to pick up the win on such a tough track.

“I feel like I’ve got the tournament stolen from me today,” Lowry said. “You know, [Straka]’s gone 3 under the last five on this course. I played the golf perfectly to win the tournament, and that’s this game sometimes and that’s this level.”

Berger, on the other hand, knows he didn’t make enough putts to close the job for his fifth PGA-Tour win. He only made two birdies on Sunday, both of which came from off the green with his wedges. Additionally, the 28-year-old sunk just two putts from outside of three feet.

“I don’t think I made a single putt today,” Berger said. “I don’t know what happened. Just didn’t feel good over the putter today.”

Tons of Sunday drama from the Honda Classic as the PGA Tour begins to ramp up for the summer!

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