Daniel Berger won his first PGA Tour event at the FedEx St. Jude Classic in Memphis, beating out a stellar group of veterans. Here are my three takeaways from the final round.
1. Daniel Berger Holds His Own
Berger began the final round with a three-stroke lead over D.A. Points, Steve Stricker and Phil Mickelson. At even-par through 10 holes, and with his lead cut to one, the 2015 Rookie of the Year ran off three birdies over a four hole stretch (12-15) for his first PGA Tour title. Berger will tee it up next week at Oakmont, and try to achieve something that no golfer ever has before – follow up a tour win with a US Open victory in back to back weeks. With the win, Berger moved up to a career-best ranking of 29.
2. Mickelson’s Final Charge
Starting the day three shots behind Berger, Mickelson shot a 67 (-3) to finish T-2 along with Brooks Koepka and Steve Stricker. The 45 year-old, who finished No. 1 this week in Strokes Gained: Putting, cut the lead to just one stroke with a 44-foot birdie at the 12th Hole. His putter then went cold and he ended up missing from 11 feet and 17 feet on the 13th and 14th. Mickelson is no doubt going into Oakmont with some much needed confidence and will be looking to win the only major championship that has eluded him.
3. Dustin Johnson’s Final Nine
Dustin Johnson followed his third round 73 (+3) with a final round 7-under 63 to finish in 5th place. Johnson began the day at 2-under, eight shots behind the leader, Berger. The tournament favorite shot a 29 on the final nine with four birdies and an eagle on the 16th. With his strong finish this week, the 9-time winner on tour will be more than pumped up for Oakmont.
Bonus: Open Championship Spots
With the St. Jude Classic being part of the (British) Open Qualifying Series, four spots were up for grabs for players who finished in the Top 12 and had not already qualified. Steve Stricker, Brian Gay, Russell Henley and Seung-Yul Noh earned the honors, and will be teeing it up at Royal Troon next month.