Unharried Potter beats big names for surprise Pebble Beach win

Potter-Ted-USNews-Getty-FTR

Potter-Ted-USNews-Getty-FTR

On paper, Ted Potter Jr. did not stand much of a chance against Dustin Johnson heading into the final round of the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, tied at 14-under.

Four birdies in a six-hole stretch on the front nine lifted Potter ahead of playing partner Johnson, who picked up a shot at the par-five last to close a level-par 72 and grab a share of second.

After a bogey at the third, he rolled in birdies at the fourth, sixth and seventh - where he drained a 28-footer to get to 16-under for the tournament.

"I knew on the back nine I had a two-shot lead (and). if I played smart golf. those guys would have to catch me coming in", an emotional Potter said in a greenside interview.

A chip-in birdie on the seventh completed Potter's scoring and he parred his way in for a first triumph since landing the 2012 Greenbrier Classic.

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The victory was a remarkable comeback by Potter, who incurred a fractured right ankle in a "freak accident" in 2014 when he slipped on a path. On Sunday he'll be in the hunt along with Johnson - who opened 2018 with a dominant victory in the Tournament of Champions last month - and former world number one Jason Day of Australia.

"I had the first surgery in 2014 and then I had another surgery in 2015 to have all the screws and plates removed", he said.

"It's just so good right now, to get my second career win after five years away from it". Mickelson, searching for his first win since 2013, has now finished in the top five in two straight events.

But things got tougher coming in, with bogeys at 10, 12 and 17 before he regained a share of the lead with his closing birdie.Putting troubles derailed Rory McIlroy's first Pebble Beach National Pro-Am bid as the Northern Ireland star failed to make the cut. It was a long time coming for the feisty lefty who battled his way back to the PGA Tour after suffering an injury in 2014 that caused him to miss almost two years of competition.

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