Coming down the stretch of the RSM Classic on Sunday at Sea Island Golf Club in Georgia, the bunched-up leaderboard relaxed, and four contenders separated themselves from the field. With the final group on the 16th hole, Sahith Theegala, Callum Tarren, Brian Harman and Adam Svensson all shared the lead at 17 under.
The player with the most holes left had the advantage, and Svensson, playing in the final group of the day, capitalised.
The Canadian rolled in an 18-footer at 16 and followed with a flagged approach at the par-3 17th to 10 feet. He converted his sixth birdie of the day and coasted down 18 with a two-shot cushion on his way to his first Tour victory.
“It’s been a dream of mine since I was 10-years-old, 8-years-old. It’s just incredible,” Svensson said of his first title from him. “I don’t think money really does anything. It’s the feeling of coming down the stretch and winning and all that stuff, you just can’t beat it
Svensson came into the day a shot off the lead of Patrick Rodgers and Ben Martin, but it was good enough to earn a place in the final group, where now nine of the 13 winners of this event have come from. Martin and Rodgers never got anything going Sunday and finished tied for 21st and tied for 10th, respectively.
Svensson’s bogey-free 64 was tied for the best round of the day, with conditions less than ideal at the Seaside Course. Temperatures never broke out of the 50s as players were clad in beanies, hand warmers and mittens for the final official round on the PGA Tour for 2022.
“I knew I was playing great, I just had to stay out of my own way,” he said. “At the start of the day I told myself just don’t make a bogey and I’m putting well and I just had to keep myself under control.”
Svensson took the lead thanks to back-to-back birdies to open the back nine, but the tournament looked set for a four-way playoff, especially considering 16 players entered the final round within three strokes of the lead.
Harman and Theegala both capitalized on the par-5 15th, making eagle and birdie, respectively, as Tarren birdied the last to take the clubhouse lead at 17 under.
Svensson failed to take advantage of the throwable 15th in the final group, leaving his approach from 60 yards 30 feet short. But after his birdie on 16 forced Theegala and Harman to match him on 18, Svensson’s birdie putt on 17 just caught the low lip, looped around the cup and dropped to slam the door shut.
“I looked on the leaderboard on 15, the par-5 there, and hit a poor wedge shot and made par,” Svensson said. “But I knew there’s a couple good birdie chances on 16 and 17 with a front flag. And the shot on 16, it kind of spun back but it was kind of an easy putt uphill left to right and I just knew I hit it hard enough and it went in. And the one on 17, I didn’t think it was going to go in and somehow it just dove in, I don’t know.”
Harman was trying to become the first Sea Island resident to win this event while Theegala is still looking for his first PGA Tour win after a standout rookie season.