Brendon Todd, a 34-year-old journeyman who as soon as practically walked away from the sport to open a pizzeria whereas mired in a droop that will break lesser males, was attempting so as to add his identify to that heady checklist with a victory on the Vacationers Championship at TPC River Highlands.
Todd took a two-shot lead into Sunday’s closing spherical and will have joined Tiger Woods, Brooks Koepka, Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas, Bubba Watson, Jordan Spieth, Bryson DeChambeau, Jason Day, Jim Furyk and Hideki Matsuyama as gamers who’ve gained at the least three tournaments in a single yr since 2010.
However he didn’t.
After taking part in golf’s model of rope-a-dope for the primary 11 holes, parring each one in all them, Todd’s probabilities to win — and his day — got here unhinged on the par-4 12th gap. The top end result was a 5-over-par 75 and a tie for 11th.
On 12, Todd was in the midst of the green 148 yards from the flag, left his strategy to the precise and his ball got here to a relaxation in some thick tough on the aspect of a grassy financial institution of greenside bunker.
His subsequent shot, whereas uncomfortable with the awkward stance and gnarly lie, was a shot most mavens will, on the very least, get safely onto the inexperienced. However Todd did what many 20 handicappers do: He skulled it over the inexperienced with the ball coming to relaxation within the tough some 62 toes from the opening.
Todd then left his subsequent chip wanting the inexperienced, 44 toes from the flag. Then got here yet one more chip that failed to succeed in the inexperienced. Two putts later, he staggered to the 13th tee with triple bogey.
He went from 18-under par and two photographs behind eventual winner Dustin Johnson to 15-under and 5 photographs again.
It was a deficit he couldn’t overcome.
Todd gained the Bermuda Championship and the Mayakoba golf Traditional in back-to-back weeks in November, taking pictures a mixed 44-under par in these two occasions. He awakened Sunday morning feeling prefer it could possibly be one other magical day like these two weeks in November.
Based mostly on what he did in these back-to-back wins, we knew Todd was able to going low. He, in spite of everything, positioned himself with a two-shot lead with the 9-under-par 61 he posted on Saturday. And that got here after a 66-65 begin, hardly to be thought-about scrap-meat rounds.
Johnson, who additionally shot 61 in Saturday’s third spherical, entered the day two photographs behind Todd at 16-under and swallowed Todd up within the closing spherical — regardless of his personal gaffes on the again 9.
Todd, a Pittsburgh native who now makes his dwelling in Georgia, is likely to be some of the under-the-radar, faceless gamers on the PGA Tour regardless of his two wins in November. He, too, is a man you root for based mostly on the depths he spiraled to throughout a few mind-numbing slumps.
In a single stretch between 2016 and 2018, Todd missed the reduce in 37 of 41 tournaments. He was so misplaced together with his swing yips that he learn a guide by Rick Ankiel, the previous Cardinals pitcher who famously battled his personal yips.
The droop prompted Todd and his spouse, Rachel, to satisfy with their monetary advisor to determine whether or not it was time to drag the plug on his taking part in profession and take a look at one thing else out. Shopping for right into a pizza chain franchise in Athens, Ga., was mentioned.
“It wasn’t that we have been working out of cash,” Rachel instructed PGATour.com after her husband gained Mayakoba. “It was, ‘We have to look into different choices. What can be greatest for our household?’ ’’
Happily, they determined what was greatest was for Todd was for him to energy on.
At first of the 2019 season, months earlier than he would win these two November tournaments, Todd was ranked No. 2,006 on this planet. His rating plummeted as little as No. 2,043. The membership champion at Bethpage Black might be ranked No. 2,044.
Earlier than his win in Bermuda, Todd was ranked 525th on this planet. He started this week 58th and was projected to maneuver to 26th if he had gained Sunday.
“A yr in the past, I wasn’t certain if I used to be going to maintain taking part in,” Todd mentioned after profitable the Bermuda Championship.
“Not many guys come again from that deep,’’ Vaughn Taylor, a fellow College of Georgia alum, instructed PGATour.com after Todd gained in Mexico. “The scars on this sport run deep.’’
Todd added one other of these scars Sunday in that fateful 12th gap.
Extra to beat for a man who’s been there and achieved that.