After 70 starts and a trip back to the Korn Ferry Tour, Adam Svensson is officially a winner on the PGA Tour. Emerging from a crowded leaderboard at the 2022 RSM Classic, the Canadian staked his claim on the final event of the calendar year with a flawless final round of 6-under 64 to get the better of Sahith Theegala, Brian Harman and Callum Tarren by two strokes.
"It's not even real right now. I'm just so happy. I've just put so much work in and to win on the PGA Tour means everything to me," Svensson said while attempting to hold back tears. "It's been an up-and-down journey. I've had lows, I've had highs, but I just kept believing in myself and here I am."
Svensson was one of many players to hold a share of the lead Sunday at Sea Island as a total of 16 players entered the final day within three strokes of the lead. Making just one birdie in his opening seven holes, it wasn't until the middle of his round when the 28-year-old began to heat up in the chilly Georgia weather.
Adding three birdies in a four-hole stretch from holes Nos. 8-11, Svensson reached 17 under and matched the clubhouse lead set by Tarren. Unable to take advantage of the gettable par-5 15th, Svensson quickly made amends with back-to-back birdies on 16 and 17 to separate himself from Theegala and Harman who were surging in the group ahead.
"I just tried to make no bogeys today. I didn't even look at the scoreboard until 16. I just said if I make no bogeys, I am putting well, so that's kind of what I did," said Svensson. "I was actually feeling pretty good over them [the birdie putts on Nos. 16 and 17]. The one on 17 I didn't think was going to go in and somehow the golf gods let in."
Finishing the tournament at 19 under, Svensson utilized a red hot weekend performance to claim his first title on the PGA Tour. Carding 13 birdies and an eagle against just one bogey over his final 36 holes, the 28-year-old will now reap the benefits that come with a trip to the winner's circle.
Ascending to sixth in the FedEx Cup standings, Svensson will also receive invitations into the Tournament of Champions, Players Championship, Masters and PGA Championship. For a player yet to compete in a major championship, simply put, this triumph is career changing.
"Two years ago I made a decision to give it 100%," Svensson said. "There was no going back, I was quitting because I was going the wrong way. I'd say it was a good choice." Grade: A+
Here is a breakdown of the rest of the leaderboard at the 2022 RSM Classic
T2. Sahith Theegala (-17): It was all setting up for Theegala's breakthrough as he was a member of the penultimate group and thus avoided the final round pressure of bringing up the rear. Getting off to a solid start, the 24-year-old will look back to a double bogey on the par-5 seventh as his eventual downfall. Fighting back with four birdies on his back nine, Theegala shared the lead at one point before ultimately falling two strokes short of Svensson. Grade: A
T5. Cole Hammer (-15): The former standout at Texas had a rough start to his professional career. Narrowly missing out on conditional status on the Korn Ferry Tour, Hammer was playing with house money this week as he gained entry into the tournament through a sponsor's exemption. He took full advantage of the opportunity and collected the first of what should be many top-10 finishes. For his efforts, Hammer will have a place to play to begin next year as he is now firmly in the field for the Sony Open.
"Pretty darn content with what happened out there," Hammer said. "Yesterday I had a tough start, but fought back. Missed a few putts coming down the stretch, but gave myself a chance. Was only four back going into today, the leaderboard was jam packed and knew a good round would go a long way in some tough conditions. I'm just so proud of the way that I fought and battled out there. It gives me a lot of confidence moving forward and leaves a great taste in my mouth going to the offseason." Grade: A
T5. Joel Dahmen (-15): The 2022-23 season marks the final campaign Dahmen will be fully exempt on the PGA Tour for his victory at the 2021 Corales Championship. With added motivation and pressure to play well, Dahmen did just that throughout the entirety of the swing season. With his T5 result at the RSM Classic, he ended his fall with three straight top-10 finishes and inside the top 20 of the FedEx Cup standings.
"I was already in a pretty good position, I was way ahead of the game, I guess, but to gather more points today was huge," Dahmen said. "You never want to take weeks off because you always feel like you're falling behind, but with the good finish today it will be easier to take time off." Grade: A
T5. Seamus Power (-15): It is not Rory McIlroy, but rather Power who will enter 2023 atop the FedEx Cup standings. Winning the Bermuda Championship and adding close calls at Mayakoba and now Sea Island, the Irishman put himself squarely on the radar of captain Luke Donald for the 2023 Ryder Cup in Rome while rising to the top of the PGA Tour season-long race. Impressive as it may be, moving forward it will be interesting to see if Power can begin to contend in elevated events where the competition is much steeper. Grade: A-