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Monday, May 9, 2016

The Limerick Summary: 2016 Wells Fargo Championship

Winner: James Hahn

Around the wider world of golf: Ariya Jutanugarn got her first LPGA win at the Yokohama Tire LPGA Classic; rookie Nuria Iturrios won the Lalla Meryem Cup on the LET in only her second pro start; Madelene Sagstrom won the Self Regional Healthcare Foundation Women’s Health Classic, her second win in the last three Symetra Tour events; Jeunghun Wang won the Trophée Hassan II on the ET; Jesper Parnevik got his first Champions Tour win at the Insperity Invitational; Sam Fidone won the Honduras Open on the PGA TOUR Latinoamérica; and Lexi Thompson won the World Ladies Championship Salonpas Cup, the first major on the JLPGA (bangkokbobby has details).

James Hahn with wife Stephanie, daughter Kailee and trophy Wells Fargo

It's been a long time since the Gangnam Style dance in Phoenix. It's been over a year since the playoff win at Riviera. In fact, it's been eight consecutive missed cuts since James Hahn felt good about his golf.

You sure couldn't tell it at Quail Hollow this week. And boy, did he pick an interesting place to find his confidence.

For those of you who don't know where the Green Mile name came from, it's from a Stephen King novel (and movie starring Tom Hanks). In the story, the Green Mile is the final path criminals walk from their Death Row prison cells to the electric chair. (The 'Green Mile' nickname comes from the color of the floor's linoleum.) Perhaps ironically, water plays a big part in the electrocutions in the story.

Water plays a big part in the final three-hole stretch of Quail Hollow as well, and I suppose you could draw some parallel in Hahn surviving largely because he avoided the water both during the final round and in the playoff while that long meandering creek on 18 caught Roberto Castro in the playoff. Fortunately for both men, the only electricity was in the crowd!

We often talk about how difficult it is to win a tournament, but how much mental toughness does it take to win after eight missed cuts? How hard is it to find that toughness on one of the hardest three-hole stretches in professional golf? It's a measure of the man that James Hahn did it... and did so with apparent ease. There were only eight scores lower than his 70, and none of those players finished better than T4.

So this week I salute James Hahn, who strolled down the Green Mile to victory. I'm sure Stephen King would be terribly confused by this turn of events, which is why I write the Limerick Summaries and not him:
The Green Mile leaves many dumbfounded.
Its fairways and greens are surrounded
With water and sand
That few pros can withstand—
But James Hahn’s mental strength was unbounded.
The photo came from the tournament upshot page at PGATOUR.com.

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