O'Hair figures out winning at Quail Hollow Championship

Monday, May 4, 2009
Sean O'Hair chips onto the 17th green during Sunday's final round of the Quail Hollow Championship in Charlotte, N.C. O'Hair won by one stroke. (CHUCK BURTON ~ Associated Press)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Standing on the 18th tee, Sean O'Hair asked his caddie where he stood in the Quail Hollow Championship and got word that he had a one-shot lead.

"Over who?" O'Hair replied.

It wasn't Tiger Woods. It might not have mattered.

Five weeks after blowing a five-shot lead at Bay Hill against the world's No. 1 player, O'Hair was determined to keep putting himself in contention until he figured out how to win down the stretch.

That time came Sunday against one of the strongest fields of the year, with Woods in his rearview mirror.

O'Hair, 26, closed with a 3-under 69 -- the only player from the last nine groups to break 70 -- and made enough key birdies that finishing with consecutive bogeys on the two toughest holes at Quail Hollow didn't cost him.

He wound up with a one-shot victory over Lucas Glover and Bubba Watson to become only the third player in his 20s with at least three PGA Tour victories. The others are Sergio Garcia and Adam Scott.

"Losing [stunk] at Bay Hill," O'Hair said. "Even though it's tough to lose like that, to lose a five-shot lead against Tiger, you still learn from it. I talked to my coach. I talked to my caddie, Paul [Tesori]. And we just all said all I have to do is keep putting myself in those situations, and at some point I'm going to learn how to win. It's just nice to win as quickly as I did after Bay Hill."

O'Hair took the outright lead with a two-putt birdie from 70 feet on the 15th, then seized control with an 8-iron to 8 feet for birdie on the 16th hole, allowing him some room for error on the frightening finishing holes.

Glover, who bogeyed the par-3 17th, had a chance to force a playoff until his approach bounded over the firm green and his birdie chip meandered left. He closed with a 71 to join Watson (70) in a tie for second.

Woods parred his final 10 holes for a 72 to finish alone in fourth, two shots behind.

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: