Just when it looked like it would be another crunch-time showdown between world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and surging newcomer Jon Rahm, Brian Harman walked through the door and seized the trophy at the Wells Fargo Championship.
Johnson, who made the cut on the number in search of a fourth-consecutive win, had grabbed the clubhouse lead at Eagle Point Golf Club in Wilmington, N.C., with a second-straight weekend 67. Playing the weekend in 10 under par, Johnson seemed in good shape to at least land in a playoff with a look at extending his winning streak.
Then Pat Perez managed to tie Johnson with birdies on two of his final three holes.
Two players after Perez had a chance to at least join the party at the top, if not win outright.
Up first was the left-hander Harman, whose second shot to the par-5 finisher wound up well left of the green. After a free drop, Harman somewhat stubbed his chip shot, landing on the green but 28 feet away and in need of a birdie to take the lead at 10 under par. With a confident stroke, Harman made the putt and erupted in celebration as the crowd cheered the new leader, the man who put an official end to Johnson’s winning streak.
The only player left that could catch Harman was Jon Rahm, seeking a second win in 20 career PGA Tour starts. Rahm didn’t find the green in two, and he was unable to pull off a miraculous hole-out for eagle. And with that, Harman picked up his second PGA Tour win, following on the 2014 John Deere Classic. It was a tough wait for the University of Georgia product.
“It’s very hard to stay patient because you know what it feels like to win, you know what it takes,” he said. “You feel like you’re capable of it but it just doesn’t happen. And then it doesn’t happen again and it doesn’t happen again, and then that’s where the doubt starts to creep in. So this one feels very good.”
Johnson, who was returning after pulling out of the Masters in April following a slip down a short flight of steps, seemed pleased heading into The Players Championship next week.
“Not much has changed,” he said. “The first couple days I didn’t play that great, but really played nicely on Saturday and Sunday, and so I’m happy with where the game is going into next week.”