David Toms is playing golf like a new man these days.
Having undergone heart surgery in 2006 and endured a winless streak lasting more than five years, Toms had begun to wonder whether he would ever win again - especially after last week’s playoff heartbreak against KJ Choi at TPC Sawgrass.
But the 44-year-old American, who squandered a seven-shot lead after a third-round 74 to trail Charlie Wi by a stroke heading into the final round, bounced back into the winners circle at the Crowne Plaza Invitational with a one-shot victory over the Korean.
Toms slipped on the plaid Colonial jacket to record his 13th PGA Tour title, marking the most satisfying W of his career.
“To win after this time frame and to come back after what happened last week certainly means more to me than any other victory,” said 2001 US PGA champion Toms.
“I played a great final round and Charlie played fantastic. He kept making putt after putt when he needed to. I feel so blessed. It’s a crazy game and I’m just so glad to be part of it.”
Toms blitzed the field during the first two days with a pair of 62s to match the PGA Tour scoring record for the opening 36 holes of a tournament, but fell behind after an uncharacteristic Saturday 74.
Yet Toms once again demonstrated the fighting spirit he has shown off the course in recent months by rebounding with a final-round 69 to finish 15-under.
The clincher for the Louisiana State player came on Colonial’s longest hole, the 635-yard par-5 11th, as Toms holed out for eagle from 83 yards.
“When something like that happens, it’s like it’s meant to be,” said an emotional Toms, who lost his grandfather five months ago - a man who taught him the game as a child.
Toms, who has climbed 47 places up the world ladder into 28th in the past fortnight, becomes the first player on the PGA Tour to reply from a playoff loss one week to winning the next since 2000, when Phil Mickelson won at Colonial.
South Korea were denied back to back wins on the PGA Tour as Wi finished one stroke behind the American veteran. Wi carded five birdies and four bogeys in a final-round 71, for his first top-5 of the season. Meanwhile, defending champion Zach Johnson charged up the board with a 5-under 65 for his second top-10 in three weeks.
Crowne Plaza Invitational Final Leaderboard
-15 David Toms (US)
-14 Charlie Wi (Kor)
-10 Bo Van Pelt (US)
-9 Zach Johnson (US)