Shepherd finished with a 66 to less than 4, its 28th round in a row at par or better, dating back to the 11th of October at the Open of Houston.
Even during the last hour, a half-dozen players were still in the mix. All that was missing was the sound and the energy of a gallery, the PGA Tour does not allow to spectators of the first five events on his return.
Shepherd has won for the third time, all the victories of this week on the calendar, but not in circumstances like this. It was the first event of the PGA Tour since 12 march, when the spread of the new coronavirus has put an end to the golf and other sports.
No positive test to a dynamic to the Colonial rich in history, the commissioner of the PGA Tour, Jay Monahan, has evaluated the week by saying: “It has been a beginning phenomenal for our return. ”
Morikawa has been just as stable. Since he graduated from Cal a year ago, he won and made each cut, a sequence of 21 events, the longest run of a newcomer since Tiger Woods.
He took a share of the lead with a putt from 50 feet on the 14th hole. These are the courts that have done wrong. Morikawa has also missed a putt birdie from 6 feet on the 18th hole in a 67.
Shepherd has been the only issue, making a birdie from 10 feet on the last hole that was placed at 15-under 265. The last time that Shepherd was in a playoff, Jordan Spieth managed a shot from a bunker to beat him to the championship of the travellers. He could feel the way that Morikawa had felt at the loss.
“It will hurt for a little while, but he’ll get over it and it will win again,” said Berger.
Even the optimism to be back in golf has not eliminated the sting, and more that Morikawa has felt.
Xander Schauffele has given a new meaning to the phrase “Horrible Horseshoe” at Colonial.
He hit into the water on the 15th from a bunker to the fairway, hit a poor chip after the penalty shot, and then did a walk of 30 feet to escape with a bogey. He followed with a birdie from 25 feet to regain a share of the lead. And then his putt by 3 feet on the 17th hole was dipped in a side of the hole and turned to the other.
His putt for birdie from 25 feet to reach the playoffs was very short and he shot 69.
Bryson DeChambeau creaked teeth when his putt from 12 feet on the 18th just missed, giving him a 66 and leaving him a shot out of the playoffs. Ditto for Justin Rose, whose birdie from 18 feet on the last hole was a short ride. It was also 66. Jason Kokrak finished far in front of the whole world. He also missed a birdie at the last hole of his round of 64.
Spieth, trying to end three years without a victory, walked away with a consolation prize of progress. He missed a putt by a foot to 2 feet on the sixth hole – a part of three bogeys in a stretch of four holes – but was always in the mix until a tee shot out of bounds on the 14th. Even then, he made a putt from 35 feet to save bogey. He ended up with a 71 and tied for 10th place.
Rory McIlroy has had seven consecutive tournaments not less bad than the fifth, a sequence that has stopped dramatically. Starting the final round with three shots of late, he was 5 over through seven holes and finished with a 74 to tie for 32nd.
The final round was as wild as expected with eight players to take turns or share time in the head, all without any idea that the fans give an overview of what was happening.
“If there are fans and with the “oohs” and “aahs” , I would probably be a little more (ticked), ” said Schauffele. “It may be a good thing for me at this time. But it was really weird. It was a sort of internal battle, which is always the case for me, but even more so this week, just without the fans. ”
Monahan has conceded that his biggest concern in the course of the week, even with its tests and its safety procedure, was that the positive tests arose. “It is something, frankly, that I’ve lost a lot of sleep during the weeks that preceded my arrival “, he said.
All 487 tests at Colonial have been negative, and the golf course was at the height of his role with a leaderboard full of stars.
The next step is the RBC Heritage at Hilton Head on the coast of South Carolina, and Monahan has stated that the first week would not be complete until then to see how the players have managed to travel inter-state. Those on the charter have been tested for the new coronavirus after the third round. All the others would be tested upon their arrival at Hilton Head.
“It is a steady return,” said Monahan. “But I think as we sit here late in the day on Sunday, there is no doubt that this week has been exceptional. “