Eight-year PGA Tour veteran Hudson Swafford, whose best finish in eight previous starts in the 2021-2022 season was a tie for 32nd at The CJ CUP@SUMMIT, shot 66-64 on the weekend to capture his third Tour title at the American Express in La Quinta, California.
After a bogey five on the par four 15th hole dropped him into a tie for the lead, he went eagle – birdie on the next two holes to take a three-shot lead, and he finished off the round with a closing par to defeat Tom Hoge by two shots.
Swafford’s victory came over a field that included top-ranked Jon Rahm and reigning FedEx Cup champion Patrick Cantlay, as well as Scottie Scheffler, Sungjae Im, and Tony Finau. The 34-year-old out of the University of Georgia began the week with odds of +25000 despite being a former champion of the 2017 American Express.
The victory was worth $1.368 million for Swafford, as well as 500 FedEx Cup points, entry into the Masters Tournament, the PGA Championship, the Sentry Tournament of Champions, and an exemption on the PGA Tour through the 2023-2024 season.
Depending on where he ends up in the Official World Golf Rankings (OWGR), the victory could also open up other opportunities, like entry into World Golf Championship (WGC) events and other major tournaments.
Rookie Lee Hodges appeared to be poised to capture his first PGA Tour event but was eventually challenged by veterans like Swafford, Tom Hoge, Brian Harman, Lanto Griffin, and Francesco Molinari. Hodges began the final round in the lead at 18 under par but could manage no better than a two under par 70 on the Stadium Course at PGA West to finish in a three-way tie for third place.
The first three rounds of the tournament were played in a pro-am format, with each professional paired with an amateur partner, and play taking place over three courses: The Stadium and the Nicklaus Tournament courses at PGA West along with La Quinta Country Club. Following a 54 hole cut for the professionals and the end of the pro-am competition, the tournament concluded on the Stadium Course.
Betting Favorites Results
Jon Rahm, the 2018 American Express winner, was the big favorite at +500 but never could gain much momentum and ended up in a tie for 14th at 14 under par 274 after a closing one under par 71.
Cantlay, last year’s runner-up in the event, had odds of +900 and jumped out with a ten under par 62 to lead with Hodges after the opening round but was derailed by an even par 72 on Saturday to finish in a tie for ninth at 18 under par 270.
Scheffler was next with odds of +1600 but never got into contention and finished in a tie for 25th, while Im fared better at +1800, closing with a six under par 66 to tie for 11th at 16 under par 272.
Tony Finau at +2000 finished in a 40th place tie, while popular Rickie Fowler (+6000) and Phil Mickelson (+10000) each missed the cut, which came at seven under par on the three par 72 layouts.