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Potter holds off big guns to win Pebble Beach title

Ted Potter Jr poses with the trophy after winning the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am at Pebble Beach Golf Links on Sunday in Pebble Beach, California. AFP
Ted Potter Jr poses with the trophy after winning the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am at Pebble Beach Golf Links on Sunday in Pebble Beach, California. AFP

Potter holds off big guns to win Pebble Beach title

Ted Potter got off to a hot start for the second straight day en route to a closing round of 69 to capture the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am tournament by three strokes on Sunday.

Potter found his groove this week in the California sunshine as he has bounced back from a broken ankle in 2014 to record just his second win on the USPGA Tour and first in five years.

Potter maintained his deft touch on Sunday to finish with a 17-under 270 total and hold off a star-studded chasing pack that included Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson and Jason Day of Australia.

“It is pleasing,” Potter said. “I struggled when broke I my ankle. You don’t know what is going to happen with your golf swing or your career. To come back from that it is unbelievable right now.”

Mickelson, who shot a five-under 67, Day (70), Johnson (72) and Chez Reavie (68) finished in a tie for second at 14-under 273.

American Kevin Streelman (68) finished alone in sixth and Scott Stallings (66) was seventh at 12-under 275, five shots adrift of Potter.

Potter’s only prior USPGA Tour win came at the Greenbrier Classic back in 2012. In 2014, he broke his ankle in a freak accident stepping off a kerb. The injury required surgery and he has battled back since, earning his PGA Tour card via the Web.com Tour last season.

“It feels so good right now,” he said. “I get my second career win after five years away from it.”

Potter shot a 62 on Saturday, grabbing the solo lead with four birdies on his back nine. But it was on the front nine that he really sizzled, playing the first seven holes in seven-under par with five birdies and an eagle.

On Sunday, he drained four birdies in his first seven holes to extend his lead. That included a birdie chip from the rough on the par-three seventh hole.

His only blemish on Sunday was a three-putt bogey on his first hole, but after that it was smooth sailing the rest of the way.

Johnson was hoping for a victory this week to strengthen his grip on his world No1 ranking.

He closed with a birdie on 18 on Sunday for his fourth of the round. Johnson, who was going for his second straight win having won by eight strokes at Kapalua to start the season, also had four bogeys and 10 pars to finish at 14-under 273 total.

“I felt like I played OK,” Johnson said. “A few bad iron shots cost me. It is still a good week and finishing tied for second is not terrible.”

Johnson is hoping to defend his title next week when the tour travels to Los Angeles for the Genesis Open at the Riviera Country Club.

“My game is in pretty good form and I have a golf course I really like playing next week,” he said.

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