By John Raby
The Associated Press
NORMAN — WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. — Jonas Blixt shot a 3-under 67 Sunday to win the rain-delayed Greenbrier Classic by two strokes.
The Swede emerged from a five-player chase over the final five holes to pick up the $1.1 million winner’s check. Among the perks for his victory are trips to this month’s British Open and next year’s Masters.
Blixt overcame a four-shot deficit at the start of the final round and finished at 13-under 267. Third-round leader Johnson Wagner (73), Australians Steven Bowditch (68) and Matt Jones (68), and Jimmy Walker (71) tied for second at 11 under.
Blixt went from a tie to a two-shot lead when he made a 9-foot birdie putt on No. 16 to move to 13 under. No other player made a birdie after that. Wagner bogeyed the par-3 15th moments later to fall to 11 under alongside Bowditch and Walker.
Blixt also won the Frys.com Open last year as a tour rookie. But entering the Greenbrier Classic, he hadn’t had a top-10 finish yet this season, missing as many cuts as he made.
Blixt was overcome with emotion after watching Wagner and Walker, needing holes-in-one at No. 18, reach the green but well away from the hole.
Defending champion Ted Potter Jr. (67), Pat Perez (69) and Brian Stuard (67) tied for sixth at 9 under.
Wagner couldn’t match the seven birdies he had in the third round on his way to a 64. He bogeyed three holes in a five-hole stretch on the back nine and never recovered.
The 54-hole leader has yet to win the Greenbrier Classic, now in its fourth year.
While Bowditch couldn’t make up a five-shot deficit, he earned his first top-10 since Pebble Beach in 2011.
Play on the Old White TPC course was halted for three hours due to thunderstorms and the last group finished just after sunset. The tour narrowly avoided going past a Sunday finish for the fourth time this year.
Many players in the Greenbrier Classic field are entered in the John Deere Classic that starts Thursday, including Walker, Blixt and Jordan Spieth.
Spieth ran off nine straight pars to start Sunday’s round, then had two bogeys in a four-hole stretch. He shot 73 and finished tied for 23rd at 6 under. The 19-year-old Texan is still searching for an elusive win that would give him his PGA Tour membership and make him eligible for the FedEx Cup playoffs. He is assured of a tour card when the new season starts in October.