Lee Hodges won the 3M Open this past weekend in impressive wire-to-wire fashion, notching a seven-stroke margin of victory — the largest on Tour in almost three years — to vault his career to the next level. That’s wonderful news for him and his family. But with all due respect to Mr. Hodges, the real drama on Sunday at TPC Twin Cities in Minnesota happened one notch lower on the leaderboard.
J.T. Poston, a two-time winner on the PGA Tour, stepped to the final tee on Sunday three strokes behind Hodges, but three strokes ahead of the next-closest competitors. All Poston needed was a double bogey on the hole and he would claim solo second place in the tournament, along with its tidy paycheck of $850,200. Not bad for a week’s work.
Poston’s tee shot ended up close to the water, and there, his troubles began, as you can see by the shot chart below:
Poston was 213 yards from the pin, with an awkward lie, but rather than try to work his way around the dogleg-right hole, he opted to go big … and, as you can see from the position of the number 2 there, sent his approach shot to a watery grave. The approach came up just short, pinging off rocks around the green to bounce back and hit the 3M sign floating in the water nearby:
After taking the penalty stroke, Poston laid up to 98 yards. But his second attempt at an approach again came up short, and once he did get onto the green, he missed a five-footer that would have given him that precious double-bogey. The result: a triple-bogey 8, dropping him back into a tie for third place with Martin Laird and Kevin Streelman.
So rather than taking home $850,200 all for himself, Poston had to settle for a “mere” $590,200, one-third of the total prize pool of second, third and fourth places. (Laird and Streelman ended up with a sudden free, unexpected $130,000 apiece, so they better be picking up dinner every time they see Poston for the next decade.)
Poston, for his part, took the aggressive approach once again on Twitter:
“Not out here to finish 2nd,” he wrote. “Trying to win. Would make that decision 10 times out of 10 under circumstances.”
Ranked 49th on the FedExCup standings list after Sunday, Poston will have more chances to win this season. We’ll see if he takes the same approach should opportunities present themselves.