He may have been dressed like one of those old guys you’d expect to see following Rickie Fowler, but Brian Gay conjured up a final-round performance that every bit matched his flashy attire.
The TaylorMade staffer dazzled on the Palmer Private Course by overhauling a six-shot deficit in the final round of the Humana Challenge with a stunning round of 9-under 63 and then edged Charles Howell and David Lingmerth at the second extra hole.
Collecting his thoughts on a first win for three and half years, the 41-year-old from Texas wasted little time in thanking his manufacturer and a certain new acquisition to his bag.
“I have so many people to thank but first TaylorMade and the new R1 driver - it was just awesome this week,” said the World No.116.
Never one to be renowned for his ability to rip up golf courses, Gay found the extra distance he was looking for without sacrificing control with the new R1 driver. That was evident late Sunday afternoon when the American cracked a 300-yard drive down the centre of the fairway to set up a birdie on the first playoff hole.
With Lingmerth removed from the playoff, Gay then split the 10th fairway - the second playoff hole - with a 297-yard bomb before once again converting a birdie from close range to deny Howell.
Gay ranked dead last on the PGA Tour in driving distance in 2012, averaging 269 yards. He now estimates he’s picked up about 10 to 15 yards - which hardly puts him in line with the big-hitters - he currently ranks 79th on Tour - but at least gives him more of a fighting chance.
“My whole game has been about accuracy and short game,” he added. “I’ve always been a short hitter on the Tour and I felt like as I was getting older I'm only going to get shorter and shorter.
“It was tough last year trying to play making those changes but I’ve come out this year, re-charged and re-focused.”
The victory marks the second win for the new R1 in the space of three weeks since launching at the start of the year.
The R1 is a one-size-fits-all driver that can be set anywhere from 8- to 12-degrees and it allows loft and face angle to be adjusted independently of each other, which will no doubt prove a welcome addition to the golfer seeking their desired ball flight.
TaylorMade has also created two movable shot-shape weights in the R1 to enable golfers to shift the clubhead’s centre of gravity location by 5mm, thereby aiding a draw or neutral/straight trajectory.
Gay added a TaylorMade RocketBladez 4-iron into his bag to close the gap between his 5-iron and 19-degree rescue, while he also trusted the new Titleist Pro V1x prototype ball and PUMA Faas Trac shoes.
What’s in Gay’s bag
Driver: TaylorMade R1 (9-degree; Oban Kiyoshi)
Fairway wood: Adams Speedline Speed LS (13-degree; Oban Kiyoshi)
Hybrids: TaylorMade Rocketballz Tour (16.5-degree; Rescue TP and 19-degree; Aldila NV)
Irons: TaylorMade RocketBladez (4), Mizuno MP-60 (5-8); Mizuno MP-32 (9, PW; Project X 6.0)
Wedges: Titleist Vokey Design Spin Milled (56 and 60-degree; True Temper DG Spinner)
Putter: Bettinardi BB8 TOUR prototype
Ball: Titleist Pro V1x prototype
Footwear: Puma Faas Trac
Humana Challenge Final Leaderboard
-25 B Gay, C Howell III, D Lingmerth (Swe)
-24 J Hahn, S Stallings
-23 N Thompson, R Palmer,
-22 K Chappell, J Kokrak
US unless stated; Gay won at the second playoff hole