It’s picturesque, it’s impressive, but the final stretch at TPC Sawgrass is also brutal.
You’d struggle to find another sequence of holes that can wreck your scorecard so badly – and crush the dreams of contenders at the Players Championship.
Scottie Scheffler seemed immune to the carnage on Sunday afternoon as he romped to his sixth PGA Tour title.
But before he and Min Woo Lee arrived at the famous 17th hole, the previous 18 players had accumulatively played that treacherous par 3 in 16-over-par.
One player right in the heart of that chaos was Taylor Montgomery, who threw away dollar bill after dollar bill in a late collapse that saw him plummet down the leaderboard.
With birdies on holes 7, 9, 11, and 14, the rookie reached 10-under-par. Had he finished on this score, it would’ve been good enough for tied third and a healthy sack worth $1.325 million.
A bogey on the par-4 15th was tolerable but mistakes on the 16th hole led to a double-bogey seven. Incredibly, the worst was yet to come.
Montgomery hit his tee shot on 17 through the green and into the water, and, after taking a drop, then chipped past the pin and into the lake again.
It became a tough watch for a 28-year-old who has started his first season on the PGA Tour with such promise. He has four top-10s, including a third-place finish at the Fortinet Championship.
After the catastrophic quadruple-bogey, he valiantly parred the 72nd hole to sign for a 76. He finished in tied for 44th.
This paid $75,035.71. Hindsight is a wonderful, but playing the last four holes in even-par would’ve secured a pay rise of over $1 million.
After the third round, Montgomery spoke of how he controlled his emotions on the iconic 17th which he birdied in rounds two and three.
As the wind began to swirl late in the day at Ponte Vedra Beach, Tommy Fleetwood and Max Homa were just two other players to get beaten up by the island green.
Montgomery will be back, there’s no doubt. But his plight at the $25 million purse event just showed that every shot is crucial and your pockets can become lighter with one bad swing.
On the other end of the spectrum, Tyrrell Hatton made seven birdies to tie the back-nine course record at Sawgrass to finish in outright second, banking himself $2,725,000.
Scheffler scored his biggest payday yet with the $4.5 million winner’s prize at the Stadium Course, with the WGC Match Play and the Masters in his sights.
Do the Ryder Cup captains actually matter?