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Jeff Maggert's *what if*: If he hadn't five-putted from five feet on Friday, he might have won on Sunday

March 10, 2019
The Ally Challenge 2018


What if is a familiar lament in golf circles, even a cliché, though Jeff Maggert would be forgiven for using it in the wake of his tie for third in the Hoag Classic on Sunday.

On the final hole of his first round at Newport Beach Country Club on Friday, Maggert had a five-foot birdie putt on the par-5 18th. He missed. He missed the comebacker for par. He missed his bogey putt, then missed his double-bogey putt, before tapping in his fifth putt for a triple-bogey 8.

He shot a five-over-par 76, 12 shots behind the first-round leaders in the PGA Tour Champions event.

Then he received a putting tip from his friend Billy Ray Brown, who was on site working for Golf Channel. Brown noticed that Maggert’s forward press was causing him to hit the ball with a descending blow. He told him to move hands back slightly.

On Saturday, Maggert shot the best round of the day, an eight-under-par 63 and followed it up with a six-under-par 65 that equaled the best round of the day on Sunday. In the end, Maggert impressively finished one shot out of a playoff and tied for third. It was Maggert's best finish in five starts on the PGA Tour Champions in 2019 and his best result since finishing solo second at the Constellation Senior Players Championship last July.

Of course, what might have been had he not five-putted was that he likely would not have received the tip from Brown that Maggert rode to his runner-up finish.