Sepp Straka rallies from five-stroke deficit to win Honda Classic

Sepp Straka lines his putt on the eighth green during the final round of the Honda Classic on Sunday.
(Marta Lavandier / Associated Press)

Sepp Straka is going back to Georgia in a few weeks. He’s headed to the Masters, after pulling off a huge comeback to win the Honda Classic.

Straka, down by five shots entering the final round, tapped in for birdie in the rain on the final hole and ended up beating Shane Lowry by one shot to become the first Austrian winner in PGA Tour history. He shot a four-under 66 on Sunday to finish at 10 under and earn $1.44 million.

Lowry shot his third consecutive round of 67, his nine-under total for the week coming up one short. First-round leader Kurt Kitayama (68) was alone in third at eight under, and Daniel Berger — who led by six shots with 19 holes left in the tournament — simply fell apart Sunday, his round of 74 leaving him seven under for the week and three shots behind Straka.

During No. 12 UCLA’s busiest stretch of the season, coach Mick Cronin is ensuring players are given the needed rest and mental preparation.


Lowry needed to make a 45-footer for birdie on the final hole to force a playoff. It missed, and with that, the Honda had a new champion — one who came into the week ranked No. 176 in the world, has never been higher than No. 129 on that list, and whose claim to fame as a pro probably was being the first round leader at the Tokyo Olympics last summer.

Champions Tour

Miguel Angel Jimenez had his second hole-in-one of the tournament and closed with a seven-under 65 to win the Cologuard Classic in Tucson.

Jimenez started the final round with a two-shot lead and got off to a birdie-eagle start at Tucson National. Reigning Charles Schwab Cup champion Bernhard Langer cut the lead to three with a birdie on the par-five 12th, but Jimenez followed with one of his own in the group behind.

The 58-year-old Spaniard ended any hope of a late rally with an ace on the 186-yard par-three 14th to match the one he had at No. 7 in the opening round. Jimenez closed with four straight pars to finish at 18-under 198 and win for the second time in three PGA Tour Champions starts this season.

Langer shot 65 to match Woody Austin (66) at 14 under.

Jimenez won the season-opening Mitsubishi Electric Championship in Hawaii and was fifth last week at the Chubb Classic in Florida. He opened the Cologuard Classic with a 66, thanks in part to his ace, and overcame two closing errant drives to shoot 67 in the second round.