James Hahn hadn’t made a cut all year entering the Wells Fargo Championship last Thursday. When he finally did, he came out smelling like a rose.
The 34-year-old native of Seoul, South Korea,took the best advantage of Rickie Fowler’s Day 4 meltdown, edging Roberto Castro on the first hole of a playoff to finish 9-under and cash in on a $1.314 million payday and his second win in as many years.
Fowler, who had a 1-stroke lead entering Sunday off the strength of back-to-back 68s on Friday and Saturday, plummeted to a tie for fourth with a closing-round 74, the worst score in the top 20 on the final day.
In a wild finish to the fourth round, Hahn took a 1-stroke lead to the final hole as Castro bogeyed 16 and 17. Hahn bogeyed 18 to fall back into a playoff, then parred the 18th on the first playoff hole while Castro bogeyed it to finish second.
Hahn shot a final-round 70, carried by two birdies and an eagle on the front nine.
Justin Rose finished a stroke back at 8-under, although he looked like the man to beat early on, sitting 3-under for the round through 10 holes before bogeying 12 and 16.
Fowler tied for fourth with Andrew Loupe, Rory McIlroy and Phil Mickelson. Mickleson and McIlroy both shot 66s on Sunday to make things interesting.
After starting the round with a bogey, McIlroy rattled off eight birdies between No. 14 and No. 16, but a bogey on 18 knocked him back. It was Mickelson’s fourth Top 10 finish of the year, and McIlroy’s fourth in nine PGA Tour events.
Fowler was in trouble early on Sunday and never recovered. He bogeyed No. 1 and No. 4, got a stroke back with a birdied, then triple-bogeyed No. 7 to plunge down the leaderboard. He had previously recorded two birdies and a par on the hole. He was only 1-over on the back nine, but the damage had already been done.