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Players Championship

Players 2023: Tour rookie spends a quick million with shocking stretch at 15, 16 and 17 at Sawgrass

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Sam Greenwood

PONTE VEDRA BEACH — Taylor Montgomery is going to be just fine. The big-hitting PGA Tour rookie is already well on his way to a successful first campaign on tour. He's projected to remain inside the top 20 of the FedEx Cup standings after this week, and at 56th in the Official World Golf Ranking, he still has an opportunity to play his way into the Masters over the next two weeks. He's going places.

But man, his finish at the Players Championship on Sunday is going to sting for at least a little while.

Montgomery, 31, began the day at seven under, well off the lead of Scottie Scheffler but in prime position to make a run at some serious coin. A top-10 finish at TPC Sawgrass this week will earn players over $600,000. Top five? Over $1 million. Hell, Montgomery could have shot even par on Sunday and still made over half a million.

But the Las Vegas resident was clearly dreaming bigger in the middle portion of his round, when he began ascending up the leaderboard and increasing the size of his paycheck with every birdie. After starting one over through five holes, Montgomery birdied Nos. 7, 9, 11 and 14 to climb to three under on his round, 10 under for the tournament. If he simply parred in, he would have earned a share of third place with Viktor Hovland and Tom Hoge. That would have been a $1.325 million pay day, more than half of what he's made this season already.

Even after making bogey at the par-4 15th, Montgomery could have still won over a million by parring in. With the gettable par-5 16th awaiting, that was a virtual certainy. Turns out, it was anything but. Montgomery made a double-bogey 7 at the 16th without hitting a ball in the water. At the 17th, he found the water twice. Watch if you dare:

Welp, that's about as gutting as it gets. Fortunately, Montgomery was able to par the 18th for a three-over 75, securing a T-44 finish. For his troubles, he'll make just over $75,000. That's nothing to scoff at, as long as you ignore the fact that he spent a million-plus in three holes.