Luke List had already been waiting 14 years for his first PGA Tour victory. What was another two hours?
The 37-year-old Vanderbilt product notched tour victory No. 1 by overcoming a considerable layoff, and ousting Masters runner-up Will Zalatoris on the first playoff hole at the Farmers Insurance Open. The win came in List’s 206th career tour start.
On a very talented and crowded leaderboard at the famed Torrey Pines Golf Course in San Diego, List was largely overlooked going into the final round. Sitting five strokes back of the 54-leader duo of Zalatoris and former World No. 1 Jason Day, List was in a share of 19th place; usually too many positions to make up on one day, particularly amid a world-class leaderboard.
It did not take long for List, who began the week 151st in the world ranking, to assert himself legitimately into the mix. A birdie on the par-3 3rd hole led to three additional birdies on the next three holes. Suddenly, List was 4-under through six holes on the day. He made the turn at that same number.
List kept himself relevant on the leaderboard, but a victory still seemed highly unlikely, given the talent with more holes remaining, most notably world No. 1 Jon Rahm who has a stunning history of dominance at Torrey Pines.
List went on to birdie Nos. 12 and 16 before his sole blemish of the day on par-4 17th when he missed a 4-foot par putt. He immediately rebounded with a brilliant birdie on the par-5 18th to shoot a 6-under 66 and take a handle on the clubhouse lead.
He would not know his fate for more than two hours, as he had been in the eighth to last group for the final round. He did well to stay warmed up over the layoff, also frequently visiting with the family he had on hand.
Meanwhile on the course, it mostly looked like a three-man battle between Zalatoris, who was also searching for his first career win, Day and Rahm. A bogey on 17 badly hurt Day’s chances, as the two-time Farmers’ winner fell two back twith ne hole to go.
Rahm, largely considered the favorite, could have joined List at 15-under and the clubhouse lead, but was unable to convert on a 17-foot birdie putt on the final hole. Rahm shot a disappointing 1-under 71 to finish T3.
Zalatoris, a 25-year-old American, who posted top 10s in three majors last year, looked prime to notch an inevitable first career victory when he arrived at the 18th tee box tied with List and needing just a birdie on the par-5. He had parred each of the previous 11 holes. Unfortunately for Zalatoris, his birdie putt attempt from about eight feet lost speed and skidded just left of the hole. Zalatoris matched Rahm’s Sunday 71.
With sundown quickly approaching, not much extra time was likely, but List only needed one hole. Going back to the 18th, their drives landed next to each in a fairway bunker. Both layed up safely from the sand, but List followed his layup with the shot of his life: a pristine approach that landed to tap-in range for birdie. Zalatoris could have extended the playoff with a birdie himself, but his attempt for ten feet narrowly missed. List had his first win.
List and Zalatoris finished one stroke ahead of Rahm, Day, and another vet looking for his first win, 34-year-old California native Cameron Tringale.
Farmers Insurance Open Leaderboard
1. Luke List -15 (-6)
2. Will Zalatoris -15 (-1)
3. Cameron Tringale -14 (-2)
3. Jon Rahm -14 (-1)
3. Jason Day -14 (E)
6. Joaquin Niemann -13 (-5)
6. Justin Rose -13 (-4)
6. Pat Perez -13 (-4)
6. Sungjae Im -13 (-1)
6. Aaron Rai -13 (E)
11. Billy Horschel -12 (-1)
11. Si Woo Kim -12 (-1)
16. Marc Leishman -11 (E)
20. Scottie Scheffler -10 (-1)
20. Daniel Berger -10 (-1)
20. Justin Thomas -10 (+2)
25. Dustin Johnson -9 (+1)
30. Hideki Matsuyama -8 (-4)
34. Xander Schauffle -7 (E)
39. Gary Woodland -6 (+1)
46. Patrick Reed -5 (+1)
62. Francesco Molinari -3 (+2)
64. Matthew Wolff -2 (+2)
65. Keegan Bradley -1 (+4)
67. Camilo Villegas E (+4)
70. Rory Sabbatini +1 (+5)
How Luke List Won The Farmers Insurance Open
Luke List’s seven final-round birdies, with just the single bogey on 17, allowed him to score the second-lowest round of Sunday. His 22 birdies for the week was second in the field, and while he did not have any bogey-free rounds, he put up two with just one bogey (rounds 2 and 4).
While that approach on the playoff hole will be remembered most, he gained an impressive 5.7 strokes to the field tee-to-green, and his 7.4 for the week was the fifth best in the field.
List was fourth in the field in strokes gained: approach-the-green and eighth in strokes gained: putting, the latter of which should be encouraging for him, given that he was ranked 185th on Tour in strokes gained: putting, and has been consistently awful his entire pro career in that regard.
List’s Winning Numbers
Driving: 314 yards (17th)
Fairways: 51.8%, 29/56 (T75)
Greens: 73.6%, 53/72 (T21)
Putts/GIR: 1.717 (T40)
Birdies: 22 (T2)
SG Tee to Green: 7.443 (5th)
SG Total: 11.174 (T2)
What It Means For Luke List
List is a resident of Augusta, Georgia, and with this win, he finally gets to play The Masters (located in Augusta) for the first time as a tour professional. His one Masters start came 17 years ago when he qualified as an amateur. List made the cut that year and finished T33, which is still his second-best result in a major, after his solo-6th at the 2019 PGA Championship.
This victory further validates what has been an excellent season for List: coming into the week, he had finished T22 or better in four of his last five starts. He jumped all the way up to fourth in the FedExCup standings, all but guaranteeing that 2022 will be his best FedEx finish. His previous high was in the 2017-18 season, where he finished 45th.
List is also now just $400,000 from securing his highest-earnings for a season, despite only having made nine starts.
List’s 2022 Season
Cuts Made: 9
Wins: 1 (Farmers)
Additional Top 10s: 2
Earnings: $2,310,030 (3rd)
FedExCup Pts: 797 (4th)
OWGR Before/After: 151/56
The only player in the Sunday field to shoot better than Luke List came from well back in the standings. Lanto Griffin started on the back nine, and then went on a tear on the front nine with four birdies and an eagle to shoot a 7-under 65.
Griffin vaulted 41 spots up the leaderboard from T71 to T30. He finished in a share of third a week ago at The American Express.
The young Chilean Joaquin Niemann birdied seven holes on Sunday and shot a 5-under 67 to move 21 spots up the leaderboard, from T27 to T6. It was his second top-10 of the season, with the other occurring at an event in Mexico in early November. Niemann matched List’s 22 birdies for the week.
Little-known Austin Smotherman had the best round of his young Tour career, rebounding from bogeys on his first two holes to shoot a 6-under 66, and rocket 27 spots up the final leaderboard from T38 to T11. The wikiless 27-year-old is a California native enjoying his first season on Tour.
Justin Thomas, the 14-time PGA Tour winner, came into the week off back-to-back top-five finishes, and a 68-63 start at Torrey Pines had him in the lead at the halfway point. Unfortunately for Thomas, the reigning PLAYERS Champion followed up a Saturday 73 with a 2-over 74 in the final round, dropping him 15 spots from T5 to T20. For the weekend, Thomas managed just six birdies to nine bogeys.
World No. 4 Dustin Johnson shot in the 60s in each of his first three rounds, but Sunday was a different story, as the two-time major winner had just two birdies in a final-round 1-over 73. Johnson dropped 12 spots down the final leaderboard from T13 to T25. He is still looking for his first victory since he dominated the 2020 Masters more than a year ago.
California native and Stanford University product Maverick McNealy appears to be on the verge of breaking through for his first Tour victory, but he will not win much playing the way he did on Sunday. Despite finishing his round birdie-eagle, McNealy shot a 3-over 74 that dropped him T8 to T30. He had 22 birdies for the week to match List and Niemann, even though he carded just a single final-round birdie. (He had a hole-in-one on the par-3 8th on Saturday.)
“She’s been telling me for a long time, ‘Daddy, I want a trophy!,’ and I finally got her a trophy. I don’t think there’s any candy in there.”
– Luke List, Farmers Insurance Open Champion