Another year, another early season triumph for Mark Wilson.
The American finished strongly at the Humana Challenge in La Quinta, California, to win his fifth PGA Tour title since his maiden win in 2007 – all of which have come in the first three months of the year.
The 37-year-old, three strokes clear when the weather-delayed third round was completed earlier on Sunday morning, closed with a 3-under 69 on the par-72 Palmer Private course at PGA West to beat compatriots Johnson Wagner, winner of last week’s Sony Open in Hawaii, John Mallinger and Robert Garrigus by two shots.
Garrigus, who had dropped a shot at 17 to stumble out of his tie for the lead with Wilson, had a chance to finish alone in second place but missed from nine feet for birdie on the last.
Wilson, after carding a sluggish 1-over 37 on the front nine, found he had been reeled in and was tied at the top with Mallinger and Garrigus heading down the final stretch, but he kept his patience and composure and broke clear again – including a ten-foot birdie put at 18 to finish at 24-under-par.
“I was amazed at the peace I felt after the start I had,” said the Wisconsin-born golfer. “I just hung in there and yes, it’s great to win.”
And speaking of his regular early season form, he added: “The only thing I can think of is that during the break in November and December, I can clear my mind of golf,” he said.
“I tend to remember the good things I did in the season before, and when I came out the last two years I really just had a clear mind and was really focusing on what I was doing, not worrying about my standing in the world rankings or my standing in the money list or FedEx Cup.
“I feel like I’m more into my zone so I’ve altered my schedule this year with a two and a three-week break in the middle of the season to try to simulate a clear mind. We’ll see how that works.”
Humana Challenge Final Leaderboard
-24 M Wilson (US)
-22 J Wagner, J Mallinger, R Garrigus (all US)
-21 J Maggert (US)
-20 J Senden (Aus), D Toms (US)