C.T. Pan used Dustin Johnson’s back-nine meltdown to his advantage to win the RBC Heritage in Hilton Head, S.C., for his first PGA Tour victory.
Pan, a 27-year-old from Taiwan, closed with a 4-under-par 67 on Sunday at Harbour Town Golf Links for a one-stroke victory over Matt Kuchar. Pan finished at 12-under 272.
Along with $1.242 million, the win opens a world of opportunities for Pan: He’s exempt on tour through 2020-21, in line to make the Presidents Cup International team this year and will have an opportunity he’s dreamed about since taking up the game in the mid-1990s by playing at Augusta National.
“It’s a good problem to have,” Pan said.
Johnson, the world’s top-ranked player and the third-round leader in his home-state event, had a 77 to tie for 28th at 4-under. He played a five-hole stretch in 7-over, making bogeys on Nos. 11-13 and double bogeys on Nos. 14-15.
Pan led for good after a 9-foot birdie putt on the par-4 16th.
• Scott McCarron completed a wire-to-wire victory in the Mitsubishi Electric Classic for his third victory at TPC Sugarloaf in Duluth, Minn. The winner of the PGA Tour’s defunct BellSouth Classic at the course in 1997 and 2001, McCarron closed with a 1-under 72 for a two-stroke win over Jerry Kelly, Joe Durant, Kirk Triplett and Kent Jones in the PGA Tour Champions event. McCarron, 53, finished at 7-under 209 for his ninth victory on the 50-and-over tour. He won three times on the PGA Tour.
Fognini brings life
to childhood dream
On the clay courts where he once practiced as a boy with big dreams, Fabio Fognini won the biggest title of his erratic career by beating Dusan Lajovic 6-3, 6-4 in the Monte Carlo Masters final.
The lad from nearby San Remo, a 40-minute drive away along the Mediterranean coast and over the Italian border, made a breakthrough at the highest level so far at age 31. Lajovic, 28, lost the first final of his career.
It was Fognini’s ninth career title but his first at Masters level, and will help him push closer to the top 10 when he climbs six places to 12th in the rankings.
“I was born in San Remo, and I was practicing here when I was young. I know really well this tennis club,” Fognini said. “My friends and family are happy now, because I have my name on this tournament that it’s something that when I was really young, I was dreaming about.”
Fognini’s first title of the year came the day after he stunned defending champion Rafael Nadal in straight sets, becoming the first player to beat Nadal at the Monte Carlo Country Club since Novak Djokovic in the 2015 semifinals.
• Sofia Kenin and Sloane Stephens won matches to give the United States a 3-1 victory over Switzerland in a Fed Cup World Group playoff in San Antonio.
Soccer: Before returning to the top of the Premier League, Liverpool got to savor a Manchester United humiliation.
Now, unusually, Liverpool needs a swift recovery by its great rival after United’s despair at being routed 4-0 by Everton.
Liverpool’s hopes of ending a 29-year English title drought could hinge on a big favor from sixth-place United when it hosts Manchester City on Wednesday.
After beating Cardiff 2-0, Liverpool is two points ahead of City with three games remaining. But Pep Guardiola’s champions have a game in hand over Liverpool, so defending the title is still in their control — unless they fail to beat United.
For Arsenal, the challenge in its remaining four matches is sealing a top-four finish to qualify for the Champions League. That mission was hampered by a 3-2 home loss to Crystal Palace that left Unai Emery’s side in fourth place but ahead of Chelsea only on goal difference and a point behind Tottenham.
• Neymar returned from injury and prolific Kylian Mbappe reached the 30-goal mark as Paris Saint-Germain celebrated retaining the league title earlier Sunday with a 3-1 home win against Monaco. Mbappe, 20, increased his league-leading tally with his third hat trick of the season.
• Karim Benzema hit a hat trick to lead Real Madrid to a 3-0 win over Athletic Bilbao in the Spanish league, extending his scoring run since the return of coach Zinedine Zidane.
After not finding the net in Zidane’s first game back, Benzema has struck eight times in five matches.
• In MLS, Carlos Vela scored two goals, Mark-Anthony Kaye had three assists and host Los Angeles FC beat Seattle 4-1 to hand the Sounders their first loss of the season. … Heber Araujo dos Santos scored and assisted on Alexandru Mitrita’s goal and New York City FC beat host D.C. United 2-0 for its first victory of the season.
Horse racing: Abel Cedillo, the leading jockey this season at Golden Gate Fields, will be sidelined an estimated three to four weeks because of injuries sustained in a spill in Saturday’s eighth race. Cedillo’s mount, Unusually Green, fell in a chain-reaction bumping incident leaving the final turn of the 1-mile grass race. Cedillo was stepped on by another horse, Secreto Primero, who also fell.
According to track physician Dr. David Seftel, Cedillo suffered a fractured rib, small lung puncture, a forehead laceration and chipped front teeth. Luis Ocasio, who rode Secreto Primero, and the two horses escaped injury.
— Larry Stumes,
Special to The Chronicle
This post was originally posted at https://www.sfgate.com/sports/article/C-T-Pan-rallies-to-win-RBC-Heritage-for-1st-PGA-13784421.php.