Adam Long bounced around golf’s backwoods for years, winning only a lone Hooters Tour event. Now he’s headed to the Masters as a PGA Tour winner.
Long won the Desert Classic on Sunday at PGA West in La Quinta (Riverside County), beating Hall of Famer Phil Mickelson and Adam Hadwin by a stroke with a 14-foot birdie putt on the final hole after a 6-iron approach from an awkward stance.
“In some ways, it’s been a little bit of a roller-coaster, but it’s been a steady improvement throughout my career,” Long, 31, said. “I’ve played in pretty much most tours around the world that there are and just kind of steadily progressed.
“It kind of can seem like it came out of nowhere, but my game’s been trending in the right direction for really the last two years.”
Long closed with a 7-under-par 65 on the Stadium Course, holing the winning putt after Mickelson’s 40-foot birdie try curled left at the end. Long was 26-under for the tournament.
Mickelson, the leader after each of the first three rounds, shot 69. “I had a terrible putting day — one of the worst I can recall in a while,” Mickelson said. “I hit a lot of good shots today, but just couldn’t get the ball to go in the hole.”
LPGA Tour: In Lake Buena Vista, Fla, Eun-Hee Ji closed with a 1-under 70 to finish at 14-under 270 for a two-shot win over Mirim Lee in the Tournament of Champions.
Lee closed with a 68 in the LPGA Tour’s season opener, which was limited to winners from the previous two seasons.
Nelly Korda, after a 71, finished third.
The event also included a celebrity field of athletes and entertainers who competed for a $500,000 purse using the modified Stableford scoring system. Hall of Fame pitcher John Smoltz had 33 points in the final round for a three-point victory over former A’s pitcher Mark Mulder.
Asian Tour: Jazz Janewattananond closed with a 6-under 65 to finish at 18-under 266 and win the Singapore Open by two shots over Yoshinori Fujimoto (68) and Paul Casey (65).
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