There’s no doubt the 18th hole on The Old Course at Broken Sound in Boca Raton can be described as pretty much a birdie hole.
Not so for Scott McCarron.
He turned the 18th, a 507-yard par-5, into an eagle hole on Sunday, and every golfer knows there’s no such thing as a sure-fire eagle hole on any course. That eagle gave McCarron the 2017 Allianz Championship in dramatic fashion by one stroke as he shot rounds of 66-66-67 for a 17-under 199 total.
Unfortunately for McCarron, he never saw the crucial shot that provided him with the title and also the $262,500 winner’s check.
Describing the 18th hole, McCarron said: “I hit a beautiful drive right down the middle.”
That left him 179 yards from the pin and he took out a 7-iron.
“As soon as I hit it, I couldn’t see it at all,” he recalled. “The ball went right into the sun so I had no idea, but it felt good.”
The crowd surrounding the green let him know how good the shot was as their cheers worked their way down the fairway.
“I thought it was at least inside 10 feet, and I was pleasantly surprised to get up there and see it was only six feet,” McCarron said.
Making the putt was almost a foregone conclusion.
“Straight up the hill,” McCarron described it. “I didn’t take much time just like I always do and hit it. Stroked it just the way I wanted.”
So much so, McCarron was fist-pumping as the ball fell in the hole dead center.
Shortly thereafter, his wife, Jenny, jumped into his arms.
McCarron was asked jokingly if she did it because of him or the money he had just won.
“Hopefully, it was because of me,” he said with a laugh. “She has been amazing for me.
“I don’t know if you have followed our story, but we got married last year, April 23. I had been kind of just playing OK up until that point. After that, I kind of went on a tear.”
As McCarron played the 18th in the final group, waiting in the wings and figuring a playoff was upcoming were Carlos Franco (68-67-65—200) and Kenny Perry (65-69-66—200).
With three strokes on that last hole (driver, 7-iron, putter), McCarron, 51, definitely destroyed their plans and their day with his eagle that gave him a one-shot victory.
For Franco, 51, and Perry, 56, second-place money of $140,000 each was their consolation prize.
Eagles are no stranger to McCarron, and they certainly were his friend on Sunday — he had two of them, on No. 7 and the 18th. The eagle on No. 7 came on what McCarron called “a ridiculous 80-foot putt.”
Franco was pleased with his play, which included eight final-round birdies, a feat accomplished despite compensating for tendinitis in his left elbow that limited him to hitting driver only three times.
“You see, after the second day, how many guys have a chance to win,” Franco said. “I came out very confident in trying to make a low score. But everybody played well, and I’m happy that in the second tournament of the year I had a chance to win.”
Perry said of his consistent play, “I was never in any trouble. I think we hit all 18 greens. I didn’t chip one time. I hit a lot of quality shots.”
Perry hit every green in regulation for his final 25 holes of the tournament.
Other notable finishing scores were defending champion Esteban Toledo (69-67-66—202); Colin Montgomerie (68-68-66—202); Fred Couples (68-65-69—202); first-day leader Olin Browne (63-69-71—203); Miguel Angel Jimenez (68-68-70—206); and Boca Raton resident Bernhard Langer (71-71-67—209).
Also making his presence felt, and not in a good way, was John Daly, who took a bogey on No. 7, threw his putter in the water and walked off the course.