Wow, List hits it to a foot and Zalatoris misses his birdie putt. List wins his first PGA Tour event.
It's not unusual for a golfer to hit his two best shots of any event on consecutive holes. It is unusual, though, for those shots to come two hours apart. That's what happened Saturday night in primetime at the 2022 Farmers Insurance Open as Luke List birdied the 18th hole at Torrey Pines twice to win the first PGA Tour event of his career.
The first came at the end of his final round. List started the day well outside the top 10 but had charged hard before a bogey at the 17th seemingly upended him. His third on the par-5 18th came from 108 yards away in the rough, and he hit it to 13 feet before making the putt, which happened to be his second-longest putt made over the final 36 holes. His 66 was the second-best round of the final day.
That got List in the house at 15 under, and from there, he waited ... and waited ... and waited ... and waited. As the rest of the field finished up, cameras showed List putting on the practice green, hitting shots on the range, messing with his phone, talking to his caddie and myriad other things professional golfers to while waiting to see if they're going to be in a playoff.
Will Zalatoris, who was playing in the final group, looked to be in control all day. Though the leaderboard bobbed and weaved Saturday, he was the constant at the top. After 11 straight pars, he went to his 72nd hole needing birdie to finish at 16 under and break the tie with List. His 8-foot birdie putt to win ducked left at the last centimeter, and List finally got his playoff opportunity.
Both golfers hit into the same bunker off the tee -- somewhat incredibly, within 4 inches of each other -- and both left themselves 130 yards on their third shots. With darkness rendering this the final hole of the day, List hit his to 11 inches. Zalatoris once again missed a birdie opportunity that would have sent the event to another playoff hole and another day. Nearly 240 yards of approach shots on the 18th for List over the course of two hours, and he got up and down both times for the win.
It was as heroic as it gets for the first victory of your career.
List has played well at big-time events before. He has five top-five finishes over the course of his career and a T6 at a PGA Championship. But nothing like this. No wins over No. 1 players in the world in one of the best fields of the entire first quarter of the year. At age 37, after 206 PGA Tour events in his career, Saturday marked a pair of shots (and a victory) he's going to remember for the rest of his life. Grade: A+
Here are the rest of our grades for the Farmers Insurance Open.
Will Zalatoris (2nd): As great as the ending was for List, it was just as heartbreaking for Zalatoris, who got into a playoff despite finishing outside the top 50 in putting. The most impressive part of his final round was how decisive he was with his approach play and how much conviction he hit his shots with. Some of the biggest shots of his life, and he was just stepping into them and flushing them all over one of the hardest golf courses on the PGA Tour. The putter is an issue (we'll talk about it later on), but I have nothing but optimism for Zalatoris who also showed off some low-key swagger to go with his world-class tee-to-green game. Grade: A+
Jon Rahm (T3): Rahm came on strong down the final 12 holes, but it wasn't enough to win his third Torrey Pines title. In the end, he was submerged by some shaky play around the greens at Torrey where his normally steady hands let him down. He finished 71st (!) in the field in strokes gained around the greens. Much of this happened on Friday in the third round when he made double at the par-4 10th hole. It's a disappointing finish for the No. 1 player in the world who was also playing in the final group in Round 3, but it's also another in a long line of incredible finishes over the last nine months. In his last 10 events, excluding the Fortinet Championship last fall where he was sick, Rahm has lost to just 35 total golfers. Grade: A-
Jason Day (T3): What a fun week for Day, who touched off his first top-five finish on the PGA Tour since the 2020 PGA Championship at TPC Harding Park. It was vintage Day, too. He played well in every statistical category but excelled with the putter, which has been a problem in recent years. Day was ranked No. 129 in the Official World Golf Rankings coming into the week but in the final group on Saturday. After some early wobble, he tied the lead with a hole-out eagle on No. 14. He faded from there, but it's not outrageous to think this could be a bit of regeneration for him for the rest of 2022 and push him back where he belongs in the top 100 in the world. Grade: A