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The final leaderboard for the 2016 Zurich Classic of New Orleans at TPC Louisiana in Avondale, Louisiana is in. Brian Stuard won his first PGA Tour event, which was shortened to 54 holes due to adverse weather, in a playoff with runners-up Jamie Lovemark and Byeong-Hun An. Below is the truncated top-10 leaderboard:
(1) Brian Stuard (-15)
(T2) Jamie Lovemark (-15)
(T2) Byeong-Hun An (-15)
(4) Bobby Wyatt (-14)
(T5) Chris Kirk (-13)
(T5) Jason Day (-13)
(T5) Jhonattan Vegas (-13)
(T8) Bryce Molder (-11)
(T8) Patton Kizire (-11)
(T8) Harold Varner III (-11)
Here are my thoughts on the champion and runners-up in the playoff:
Winner: Brian Stuard (-15) – This is Stuard’s first win on the PGA Tour; although it will always be marked with an asterisk because it was shortened to 54 holes, a win is still a win. Previous finishes at the Zurich Classic for Stuard are a T65 in 2015 and a missed cut in 2013 — no evidence of any course form that could have served him this week. He finished T55 at the Valero Texas Open last week and missed three consecutive cuts prior to that — no current form to speak of either. Either he found lightning in a bottle this week or it was just the luck of the draw, something that is not at all uncommon in professional golf and in the game at large. I somewhat doubt that he will be able to maintain much consistency moving forward into the next few tournaments, but anything can happen.
Final round: 3 birdies and no bogeys for a 3-under 69. He had to make a 7-footer for birdie on the par-5 18th to get into the playoff. Scores in regulation: 64, 68, 69 (201). Playoff results: 5, 4 (Win)
Jamie Lovemark (-15) – This would have been Lovemark’s first win on Tour as well. A similar close call came at the 2009 Frys.com Open, which he lost in a playoff with Rickie Fowler and then-winner Troy Matteson. He missed the cut in both of his prior starts at the Zurich Classic in 2014 and 2012. His best and worst results in his last four Tour starts excluding this week were, respectively, a T6 at the Arnold Palmer and a MC at the RBC Heritage. Although he has no Tour wins, Lovemark does have two Web.com Tour wins under his belt.
Final round: 4 birdies and no bogeys for a 4-under 68. Scores in regulation: 67, 66, 68 (201). Playoff results: 5, 5 (Eliminated)
Byeong-Hun An (-15) – Like Stuard and Lovemark, An had no wins and didn’t have much of a Tour record to speak of coming into this event. He has only really been active for three years (2016, 2015 and 2010). This was his first showing at the Zurich Classic, which is pretty impressive. He’s a young gun who seems to have a lot of talent and potential for breakthrough. Some of his greatest achievements up until this point are wins at the 2009 U.S. Amateur and 2015 BMW PGA Championship. An had some nice words for tournament staff and volunteers:
thanks to @Zurich_Classic for this wonderful opportunity
— Byeong Hun An (@ByeongHunAn) May 2, 2016
Final round: 7 birdies and no bogeys for a 7-under 65. Scores in regulation: 68, 68, 65 (201). Playoff results: 6 (Eliminated)