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The final leaderboard for the 2016 CareerBuilder Challenge (formerly known as the Humana Challenge) in partnership with the Clinton Foundation at the PGA WEST TPC Stadium Course in La Quinta, California is in. Jason Dufner edged out David Lingmerth in a sudden-death playoff for his fourth Tour win and first since the 2013 PGA Championship. Below is the truncated top-10 leaderboard:
(1) Jason Dufner (-25)
(2) David Lingmerth (-25)
(T3) Andrew Loupe (-21)
(T3) Phil Mickelson (-21)
(T3) Kevin Na (-21)
(T6) Luke List (-20)
(T6) Jamie Lovemark (-20)
(T6) Adam Hadwin (-20)
(T9) Si Woo Kim (-19)
(T9) Bill Haas (-19)
Here are my thoughts and a few statistics on the champion and some notable golfers near the top of the leaderboard:
Winner: Jason Dufner (-25) – This win gets Dufner back into the winner’s circle. He has been playing good golf for at least a couple months now, with two T9 finishes in his previous two Tour starts as well as a win at the Franklin Templeton Shootout (alongside Brandt Snedeker) last month in December. His previous finishes at the CareerBuilder/Humana/Bob Hope include a MC (2015), T12 (2012), T33 (2011) and a T18 (2010), so he doesn’t exactly have a history of playing particularly well at PGA WEST. Still, Dufner says he’s been working hard on his game, and it will be interesting to see how much of a factor he’ll be in the tournaments leading up to the Masters and beyond.
Today: 4 birdies and 2 bogeys for a 2-under 70. He started off the back nine firing 3 straight birdies, but was derailed to some extent with a following bogey. Playoff: Two pars on the par-4 18th to win. Scores over four rounds: 64, 65, 64, 70 (263).
David Lingmerth (-25) – With a T15 at the 2016 Hyundai TOC and a T13 at last week’s Sony Open, You could say Lingmerth has been on the uptrend leading up to the CareerBuilder. Unlike Dufner, Lingmerth does have a history of good performance here — he lost in a 3-man playoff at the 2013 Humana (his finishes in other years have been unremarkable). He has one Web.com Tour win, and his lone win on the PGA Tour remains the 2015 Memorial. At 28 years of age and given his record, I expect him to be a force and get into contention often moving forward.
Today: 7 birdies for a bogey-free 7-under 65. Playoff: Lost on the second play of the 18th to a par from Dufner. Scores over four rounds: 68, 68, 62, 65 (263).
Phil Mickelson (-21) – Since 2010 and aside from this week, he hasn’t finished better than T24 at the CareerBuilder. A T3 is certainly a great start to the season for 45-year-old Mickelson. The last individual stroke play tournament he played in was the BMW Championship in September, where he finished T32.
Many viewers and pundits may be surprised to see Mickelson this far up the leaderboard of a golf tournament at this point in the season. Nevertheless, this was a great finish and he should by no means be counted out moving forward. I think the guy still has the game to win professionally against today’s talented field, but how it will actually turn out remains to be seen. Does he still enough left in him to win another major, maybe the U.S. Open to finally complete the Career Grand Slam he’s coveted for so long now?
Today: 4 birdies for a bogey-free 4-under 68. Scores over four rounds: 68, 65, 66, 68 (267).