At the 2021 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro Am, Daniel Berger captured his fourth PGA TOUR title in emphatic fashion with an eagle on the final hole.
His heroics on the world-famous 18th at the Pebble Beach Golf Links layout, set the seal on a stunning 7-under round of 65 that propelled him to a two-shot victory over Maverick McNealy.
As the PGA TOUR’s finest get ready to tee it up once again on the iconic Monterey Peninsula, Berger recalls his moment of brilliance and his memories about a tournament that was special for more than one reason.
“I remember coming here to Pebble and it being a different week to what it has been in the past with Covid going on and no amateurs in the field,” the 29-year-old told Eurosport.
“And we only played two golf courses – we didn’t play Monterey Peninsula Country Club which is different [than usual], but I played well during the week and had a chance coming down the stretch on Sunday.”
Berger entered the final round two shots adrift of leader Jordan Spieth, thanks largely to a double-bogey seven on the very same hole that would eventually punctuate his most recent PGA Tour success.
However, four birdies and an eagle during an eerily quiet final round brought him to within sight of victory as he reached the 18th tee.
“You kind of step up onto the tee and it is one of those iconic holes in all of golf,” said Berger, reflecting on the beauty of the hole that is framed by the Monterey Peninsula.
“I hit a good drive on 18, and I was tied for the lead, so I knew I had to make a birdie to win it outright,” he continued.
“The one thing I can recall is the wind being in off the right which for me is a good wind as I am a cutter of the golf ball. I think I had 250 to the hole which for me, you know, I hit 3-wood 265-270.
“So it was playing long and you’ve got the ocean to the left, you’ve got the bunker and the tree to the right. It’s kind of a do or die shot, you really have to step up there and hit a great shot to win that tournament.”
Berger, who was unable to defend his title last year due to a back injury and who is also set to miss this year’s event, wasted little time in contemplating his options.
“You know, I could have laid up and I could have hit a wedge on the green and given myself a 15-footer,” he explained, “but I felt confident in my game, I felt confident in the shot shape that I had with that club.”
Explaining the secret to his epic approach, Berger also offered some advice to anyone hoping to replicate his efforts.
“If you had a 3-wood in your hand, I think what I see with a lot of amateurs is that they try and lift the ball up to get it up in the air, and it’s almost better to feel that sensation of hitting down on the ball which is really what gets the ball to go up in the air.
“Trust your natural golf flight, if you’re a drawer of the golf ball to really hone in on hitting a draw and if you’re a cutter to hit the cut, go with your gut instinct on the shot.”
Berger was no stranger to success, having captured what was his third PGA Tour title at the Charles Schwab Challenge the previous year but that doesn’t mean he didn’t feel the pressure of the moment.
“There was a little bit of nerves obviously, whenever you have a chance to win a golf tournament you’re excited, you’re tuned into the moment,” he explained.
“I wanted to be the guy to hit that shot, I didn’t want anyone else to be in a position to take the golf tournament away from me.
“I stepped up there, hit a perfectly solid 3-wood, 30ft from the flag, it was tough to just hit that green with a wedge so to do it with a 3-wood was special and I rolled in the putt, so was able to win the golf tournament which was awesome.”
Read the full article here
Leave a Reply