Victory for Hahn is a reward for hard times

Despite eight missed cuts, James Hahn won a play-off to claim the Wells Fargo Championship title on Sunday.
Despite eight missed cuts, James Hahn won a play-off to claim the Wells Fargo Championship title on Sunday.

WASHINGTON • James Hahn parred the first hole of a sudden death play-off on Sunday to beat Roberto Castro for the Wells Fargo Championship title, ending months of PGA Tour misery.

Korean-born American Hahn arrived in Charlotte, North Carolina having missed eight straight cuts. He had not produced a round in the 60s since February.

He had to fight back tears after sinking a four-foot par putt at Quail Hollow's demanding 18th to seal his second career title. He closed with a two-under 70 while Castro shot 71.

Both finished at nine-under 279, one shot in front of England's Justin Rose.

Hahn, 34, said: "Eight straight missed cuts is tough. You start to question yourself - are you good enough, will it ever happen again?"

But he needed only a routine par for the victory as compatriot Castro was in trouble right away in the play-off, sending his tee shot into the stream guarding the fairway. His third shot from the bank landed in the shoe of a spectator and after his chip rolled past the pin, he settled for a bogey.

Hahn, who earned his first career title via a play-off at the 2015 Northern Trust Open in Los Angeles, noted: "It's crazy to call myself a two-time PGA Tour champion. To do this on the first play-off hole is amazing."

Rose carded a 71 for solo third place on 280. Five-time Major winner Phil Mickelson and Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy led a group on 281, both climbing up the leader board with 66s.

They were joined by overnight leader Rickie Fowler, who carded a 74 and Andrew Loupe, who signed for a 71.

World No. 3 and defending champion McIlroy was four-over on the 18th for the week.

"Any time you walk off the golf course and shoot 66, you can't be too disappointed," said McIlroy, who nevertheless regretted that he "had a chance on the back nine to post a number for the guys to at least think about, and I didn't".

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 10, 2016, with the headline 'Victory for Hahn is a reward for hard times'. Print Edition | Subscribe