On Sunday, Jack Nicklaus appeared on NBC’s coverage of the Honda Classic and remarked that he didn’t like starting final rounds with a significant lead during his career.
After his Sunday at PGA National, Daniel Berger might be feeling the same way.
The four-time Tour winner opened with back-to-back 65s on Days 1 and 2, then rode a third-round 69 to a five-shot lead over Shane Lowry and Sepp Straka in the final round, but it vanished in a flash. The advantage was cut to one when a bunker error on No. 3 resulted in a double bogey. And he’d bridge the gap completely after bogeys on Nos. 5 and 6 placed him at 4 over for the first six holes.
Berger remarked after his final-round 74, “I did a really nice job the first three days of not short-siding myself, and then as the day wore on today I hit a lot of shots that were just in some bad situations.” “I couldn’t seem to get up and down.” It wasn’t going to be a par unless you hit a 20-footer. Yes, that’s how golf works.”
Berger’s lone birdies of the day were a bunker hole-out on No. 7 and a chip-in on No. 14, but he couldn’t overcome his putter woes. He finished second-to-last in the field in strokes gained: putting in Round 4, with an average of -3.807. He only made two putts that were longer than 3 feet and none that were further than 7 feet. Only 16 feet of putts were made by the world’s 21st-ranked player through 15 holes.
“It was just a bad round,” he explained. “It may happen at any time,” says the narrator. I’m not going to go into detail about it. Simply put, I wasn’t hitting great shots at the proper moment. If I’d made a couple more putts, I probably would’ve had a chance to win.
“I’m quite sure I didn’t make a single putt today.” I have no idea what happened. I just didn’t feel like putting today.”
Berger, a Jupiter, Florida native, could have won his local tournament if he had made more putts. Despite his stumbles, the 28-year-old said he’ll use Sunday as a learning opportunity.
Berger, however, disagrees with the Golden Bear and believes his 4-over final round was not the result of him being overly comfortable with his 54-hole lead.
He stated, “I felt fine today.” “To be honest, I warmed up quickly and felt excellent. I simply did not make many, if any, putts. And you won’t shoot a nice score if you don’t make putts. That is exactly what occurred today.”