Keith Mitchell rolled in a 16-foot birdie putt on the closing hole Sunday to finish at 9-under par 271 and garner a one-shot victory, his first on the PGA Tour, at the Honda Classic.
Mitchell, playing in the next-to-last group, fired a 3-under 67 that featured six birdies (four of them in the final seven holes) and three bogeys under windy conditions at the PGA National Resort’s Champion course in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.
Reigning PGA Tour Player of the Year Brooks Koepka, the two-time defending U.S. Open champion, fired a 66 on Sunday to finish at 8-under par and in a tie for second with Rickie Fowler, who carded a 67 in the final round.
Ryan Palmer scored a 63 early in the day to assume the lead in the clubhouse and then waited to see Lucas Glover, the 2009 U.S. Open winner, match his total about 90 minutes later following a 66. They both ended up in a tie for fourth, two shots in back of Mitchell.
Vijay Singh, who, at the age of 56 was making a bid to become the oldest-ever winner on the PGA Tour, finished alone in sixth after an even-par 70. Third-round leader Wyndham Clark shot a 72 on Sunday and ended up tied with tied for seventh with Kyoung-Hoon Lee of South Korea (71) at 5 under.
The 27-year-old Mitchell, who was born in Tennessee and played collegiately at Georgia, is in his second season on the PGA Tour. Until this week, his best finish was a runner-up at last year’s Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship in the Dominican Republic.
Mitchell’s best result this season was at The CJ Cup @ Nine Bridges in South Korea, where he tied for 14th.
Mitchell took the lead on the 15th hole with a 3-foot birdie putt after a tee shot over the water on the first hole of the “Bear Trap.”
Koepka and Fowler eventually joined him at 8 under but had to settle for second as Mitchell laid up on his second shot on the par-5 18th after finding the bunker off the tee and wedging his approach to close range.
Koepka, who finished his round with a two-putt birdie on the par-5 closing hole, waited about an hour as the final groups completed play. Fowler, whose win at last month’s Waste Management Open was his fifth victory in his PGA Tour career, birdied three of the final four holes to post a 67 and slide into a short-lived tie for the lead.
It was a wild day, as birdies by Mitchell, who was the second-round co-leader, and Lee at No. 13 tied them for the lead, resulting in a six-way logjam at the top with the final group still having six holes to play.
Jim Furyk (67), Jason Kokrak (68), and Spain’s Sergio Garcia (69) tied for ninth at 4 under.
First-round leader Jhonattan Vegas of Venezuela tied for 16th at 2 under. Second-round co-leader Sungjae Im of South Korea ended up tied for 51st after a 71 on Sunday, which followed a 77 on Saturday.
The PGA Tour heads inland to Orlando next week for the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill.