Berger Wins Playoff in First US PGA Tournament Since COVID Layoff

Daniel Berger
Daniel Berger (PGA Tour)

After 28 consecutive rounds of par or better, Daniel Berger returned to the winner’s circle and won the first US PGA Tour event to be played since the enforced COVID-19 layoff at the Charles Schwab Challenge in Texas.

Berger earned his 3rd career victory and his first in three years with a playoff win over Collin Morikawa when Morikawa lipped out a par putt from 3 feet on the first playoff hole.

Two off the 54-hole lead, it was Berger who emerged from the chase pack as the first man to post 15 under par when he jarred a 10-footer for birdie at 18 to cap off a round of 4-under 66.

He then watched from the clubhouse patio as Morikawa missed his birdie try at the end of regulation, sending them both to a playoff.

On the first extra hole, Berger nestled a chip near the cup and cleaned up for a routine par.

It looked as though both men were headed for a second extra hole before Morikawa lipped out a 3-footer to hand Berger the win.

Speaking after his victory Berger said he took victories for granted when he first started winning on the tour but now works his butt off to be in a position to win.

“I’ve been on the other end of playoffs, I was 0-2 coming into this one,” Berger related.

“You gotta get the ball in the hole, it’s unfortunate it [today’s playoff] ended that way, but that’s just the way golf goes.”

Due to the coronavirus protocols, Berger rented a house near the golf course with his uncle cooking his meals but he felt the tour did everything they could possibly do to keep the players and staff safe during the weekend.

“I felt 100% safe. Other than going to the golf course I didn’t go anywhere else in public. I felt really safe with the protocols they had in place and I think they did a great job.

“I just tried to do everything I can to be safe. You wash your hands, you don’t touch your face, you wear a mask when you can, you social distance and we obviously got tested early in the week so I knew I was healthy before I got here, we had the temperature readings before we got on-site every single day, I knew that all the employees and staff were doing the same thing so I felt completely safe, very comfortable.

Daniel Berger
Daniel Berger of the United States celebrates with the plaid jacket and Leonard Trophy after defeating Collin Morikawa of the United States in a playoff during the final round of the Charles Schwab Challenge on June 14, 2020 at Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images for PGA Tour)

“The PGA Tour did an unbelievable job, the staff at Colonial, the greenkeepers, everyone involved with making this tournament go did an unbelievable job. It was a little different without fans, it didn’t feel like it wasn’t a PGA Tour event, you still felt that pressure you still felt like there was so much on the line.

“Making a putt on the 18th hole to tie the lead and not hearing any roars is a lot different but there are some holes where you get the crowd standing on the left or right-hand side of the tee when you spray one and they are kinder there and it just wasn’t like that.”

Berger won $2.1 million (NZD) for his victory.

Kiwi Danny Lee carded two rounds of 70 to finish at even-par and missed the cut at two-under.

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