Hudson Swafford takes CareerBuilder Challenge for first PGA win

By The Sports Xchange  |  Jan. 23, 2017 at 7:25 AM
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Hudson Swafford recorded three consecutive birdies before tapping in for par on the 72nd hole to earn his first PGA Tour victory, a one-shot win in the CareerBuilder Challenge on Sunday in La Quinta, Calif.

Swafford, a 29-year-old University of Georgia product, recorded a 5-under-par 67 in the final round at PGA West's Stadium Course, giving him a four-round total of 20-under 268.

"This is a dream come true," Swafford said. "I really didn't get ahead of myself, didn't really look at leaderboards, didn't really know where I was."

Canada's Adam Hadwin, the leader after a third-round 59, claimed second place at 269 following a 70.

Swafford was competing in his 93rd event on tour. His best previous results were a pair of ties for eighth place, at the 2014 Sony Open in Hawaii and the 2015 Safeway Open.

The win comes with some nice perks, as Swafford is now qualified for the Masters, the Players Championship, the Dean & Deluca Invitational, the Memorial, the PGA Championship and the 2018 SBS Tournament of Champions.

In the 58-year history of the Coachella Valley event, long known as the Bob Hope Classic, Swafford is the eighth player to earn his first tour win. The others were Bill Rogers (1978), Craig Stadler (1980), Donnie Hammond (1986), Charley Hoffman (2007), Pat Perez (2009), Bill Haas (2010) and Jhonattan Vegas (2011).

"I felt like my posture was good all day, and it just allowed the club to be in a perfect slot," Swafford said. "That's all we focused on this week. I had really good rhythm, was standing tall and was hitting it beautifully.

"I didn't make every putt I looked at, but I felt like I was hitting some pretty good putts, and to make three of the last four, and I felt like I actually made the one on the last hole, it was pretty special."

Hadwin was competing in his 73rd PGA Tour event, and he is still searching for his first title. His best result before Sunday was a tie for fourth in the 2011 RBC Canadian Open.

Of the nine players to card a 59 (or better) on tour, Hadwin is the fourth who failed to win the event.

Brian Harman and Bud Cauley each closed with a 69 to share third place at 270.

Dominic Bozzelli, who grabbed the first-round lead with a 64, finished in fifth place at 271, closing with a 71.

Brendan Steele (final-round 70) and Chad Campbell (71) tied for sixth place at 272. Scott Stalling (66) took eighth at 273, and Sean O'Hair (69), Richy Werenski (70) and Scotland's Martin Laird (69) all came in at 274, tied for ninth.

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