Seamus Power surprisingly faded on Sunday at the American Express but there was consolation aplenty with the new world number 47 moving a step closer to his Augusta National debut.
It was a day that promised much more for the West Waterford star who had the leaders within his sights, just two back as the field took on the Pete Dye stadium course on the final day at La Quinta.
However, the fast starts that have been the hallmark of Power’s relentless play of late for once abandoned him; the 34-year old taking three-off the tee after a wayward drive on the first before opening with a double-bogey, dropping another shot at the second and finding the water at the par-3 sixth and letting slip two more.
Power rallied of course. Having played his previous 198 holes in 55-under, no doubt he was reeling but a brace of birdies followed at 7 and 8 before another two gains at 11 and 12. Back to one-over for his round, Power was again sniffing a top-10 finish but a sloppy bogey from the middle of the fairway on 15 put paid to that with Power eventually signing for a two-over 74, dropping 10 places on Sunday to tie 14th at 14-under.
Still, there was consolation to be found, although Power would’ve struggled to see the positives in the aftermath. Up two spots to 12th on the FedEx standings. Up two spots to 47th on the world charts, leapfrogging Shane Lowry who’s down one to 49 after also suffering Sunday blues.
Power also banked $119,700 for his latest effort but it’s moving that bit closer to a first Masters appearance that will no doubt give him the most satisfaction once he gets over the disappointment of Sunday.
If he remains within the magic top-50 by March 28, he’ll be invited to take that famous drive up Magnolia Lane. You can be sure, however, that Power was sniffing victory at the Amex intent on putting his place in the Cathedral amongst the Pines beyond all doubt.
Power returns to action in a fortnight’s time at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am where John Murphy’s also teeing up for his first PGA Tour start on invite. Power will then go to the raucous Waste Management Phoenix Open and the Genesis Invitational at Riviera before heading home to Waterford for a week of R&R.
Meanwhile, there was no denying Hudson Swafford a special victory on Sunday after the American raced home in 31, finishing eagle, birdie, par to snatch a two shot win in California.
Swafford signed off with an eight-under 64 to take his third title by two from Tom Hoge after a particularly emotional spell for Swafford.
“This was definitely a special one, a third win, and about a month ago, my father passed away and his birthday was this week, so I know he was following and watching and to get it done, it was awesome,” Swafford said.
“He hadn’t really watched me since I think 2017 Masters. I think it was the last time he came out and followed me around on the golf course… So to get a W while he’s pushing me from above, it’s so special.”
Victory lifts Swafford from outside the world’s top-150 to 61st and earns him another trip to the Masters this April.
Graeme McDowell completed the Irish scoring, posting a closing two-under 70 to claim a tie for 40th at 10-under par. It was GMac’s first weekend pay cheque on the PGA Tour since October’s Bermuda Championship.
- Full scoring HERE