In the PGA TOUR’s first tournament since COVID-19 delayed the season back in March, Florida State Men’s Golf Alum Daniel Berger won a sudden-death playoff against Collin Morikawa to win the Charles Schwab Challenge held at Colonial Country Club.
Berger finished at 15-under (65-67-67-66) and made a nice up-and-down par on the 17th hole playoff to put pressure on Morikawa’s short putt for par. However, Morikawa’s putt lipped out to give Berger his third PGA victory.
“To go out and win an event with one of the best fields recorded takes a special golfer and person,” FSU Head Coach Trey Jones said. “Daniel is one of the most talented people I have had the opportunity to coach. He plays golf the way it should be played with imagination, feel and confidence.
“It’s obvious to me that Daniel has recovered from his injury to become one of the elite players. In my opinion, this was simply a matter of time.”
The Jupiter, Fla., native won back-to-back FedEx St. Jude Classic’s in 2016 and 2017 prior to Sunday’s win. All three tournaments have been played in the second week of June.
“It’s a range of emotions, “Berger said in the post-tournament interview. “I’ve grinded so hard in the last two months to be in this position. I’m so thankful that all the hard work paid off.”
Prior to the pandemic delaying the golf season, Berger had been playing the best golf of arguably anyone on tour. He recorded three consecutive Top 10 finishes at the Waste Management Phoenix Open (T9th; Feb. 2), the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am (T5th; Feb. 9) and The Honda Classic (T4th; March 1).
Berger has now recorded an astonishing 28 straight rounds at par or better.
“I don’t really know if there is a key,” Berger said when asked about how he came back from the layoff just as strong. “When I came back I came back stronger than I ever have before. And I wanted it more than I ever have before. It’s the greatest feeling in the world.”
Berger needed a birdie putt on the 18th hole on Sunday to head into the clubhouse tied for the lead at 15-under with Morikawa and Xander Schauffele. A lipped-out putt from Schauffele on the 17th hole then set him back, while Morikawa wasn’t able to convert his final putt in regulation on 18.
Berger becomes the eighth Seminole to record three or more wins on the PGA TOUR. He also secured the 59th tour win by a Seminole.
While at FSU, he previously set the single-year scoring average record at 69.79 in 2012-13 and was a Golfweek and Golf Coaches Association of America First-Team All-American.