Daniel Berger picked up his first PGA Tour win on Sunday, taking the FedEx St. Jude Classic by three shots over a trio of higher-profile challengers.
At 13-under 267, Berger beat out nearly 46-year-old Phil Mickelson, 49-year-old Steve Stricker and Brooks Koepka, who last month lost to Sergio Garcia in a playoff for the Byron Nelson in Texas.
Final-round play was suspended mid-afternoon on Sunday, with weather rolling through TPC Southwind. In that delay, Mickelson may have given Berger the motivation to finish off his first win.
“It was just funny because we were sitting in the lunch room today during the rain delay, and Phil was giving me crap,” Berger said. “He was wondering if in the history of the Rookie Of The Year had any [player won it, like Berger did last year] without winning a tournament. He said that, and it kind of pissed me off a little bit. But to kind of get it done today just means a lot.”
After the delay, Berger played the final 12 holes in 3 under par, making three birdies from Nos. 12-15.
“To do that with so many great players, Hall of Famers behind me, it’s something that I’ll never forget and I just love the way I hung in there and was able to get it done,” he said.
On the back of an eye-popping, 7-under 63 on Sunday, Dustin Johnson finished alone in fifth at 9-under total. Former Memphis winner Brian Gay was sixth, another shot back.
Now Berger turns his eyes to Oakmont Country Club, site of the U.S. Open. It would be hard to fathom making his first two PGA Tour wins in such a fashion, but Berger’s back-nine poise on Sunday would come in handy a week from now.
“I got to do what I did this week,” he said, “and if I can do that, then I’ll be just fine next week.”
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