Luke List won when he least expected it, getting into a five-way playoff Sunday in the Sanderson Farms Championship and ending it quickly with a birdie putt from just inside 45 feet for his second career PGA Tour victory.
The playoff would not have been possible if not for Ben Griffin struggling down the stretch at the Country Club of Jackson. Griffin missed an 8-foot par putt on the final hole.
That gave a chance to List, Swedish sensation Ludvig Aberg, Henrik Norlander and Scott Stallings, all of whom returned to the par-4 18th hole alongside Griffin. None looked to have a reasonable birdie chance until List poured in his putt and slammed his fist in celebration.
List closed with a 2-under 70 and missed a birdie chance from just inside 10 feet on the final hole, giving away his cap to a fan because he figured that would be the last hole he played.
“It’s been a full roller coaster,” List said. “I hung in there. I didn’t think it was going to be enough, but here we are. It’s been a crazy 20 minutes.”
Griffin had a birdie putt in the playoff from about 35 feet and slapped his left knee when he realized it was going to miss on the low side. This was his tournament to win, starting with a three-shot lead and still leading by two shots with three holes to play.
But he went from the right rough to long and right of the 16th green, chipping to some 20 feet and missing the putt to take bogey. Still with a one-shot lead, he was in the left rough when he pulled his approach to the 18th hole near the grandstands. He chipped 8 feet by the hole and his par putt for his first PGA Tour win grazed the right edge of the cup.
“I hit the wrong shot at the wrong time,” Griffin said of his approach into the 18th in regulation. “I needed to keep it low with the wind up there, and I chose a club that I was hitting it high. I wish I had maybe taken a bit more time and really thought through the shot.
“It’s a bummer,” he said. “I thought I was going to still be able to get it done today.”
Griffin had gone 44 holes without a bogey until making one on No. 8, and it was a wild ride the rest of the way. He closed with a 74 and finished with four others at 18-under 270.
Norlander, also going for his first PGA Tour title, briefly had the lead until he hooked his approach on the par-5 14th into the water and made bogey, and then pulled his approach on the 17th and wound up missing a 12-footer for par. He closed with a 70.
Norlander had the last chance to extend the playoff, putting from off the green on the 18th about 20 feet away. It had too much pace and was offline.
Stallings also shot 70, getting up-and-down for par from left of the 18th green to keep alive his chances. In the playoff, he was just over the back of the green but had a tough putt through the fringe and a ridge from just outside 30 feet.
Aberg, casual as ever, was at a table when he finished his round of 68. Given a surprise chance, he pushed his approach to the 18th in the playoff well to the right to some 55 feet. He lagged it just left of the hole and it looked as though he would get another chance until List made his improbable birdie putt.
“To be fair, I thought whenever I was on the golf course that 18 (under) wasn’t going to make it,” Aberg said. “It ended up the way it did, and I was very fortunate for that. But congrats to Luke for that last putt. It was unbelievable. Kudos to him.”
List won for the first time since another playoff victory at Torrey Pines in early 2022. He had not finished in the top 10 since then, and he stopped playing in the middle of July to cope with injuries to his thumb and his foot.
Now he is headed back to the Masters, and he starts the new year at Kapalua for The Sentry.
The final hour was so unpredictable that two others also had a chance to win. Mark Hubbard stood over a 12-foot birdie putt on the 17th hole to take the lead. He three-putted for bogey, took bogey on the final hole and shot 67 to miss the playoff by one shot.
Carl Yuan was seemingly out of it until he holed out on the fly for eagle on the 17th hole, putting him one shot behind Griffin. But he came up well short of the 18th hole, made bogey and shot 72 to miss the playoff by one shot.