C.T. Pan shot a 4-under-par 67 to finish at 12-under for the tournament and win the RBC Heritage at Harbour Town on Hilton Head Island, earning his first PGA Tour victory in the process.
Pan finished one shot ahead of Matt Kuchar, who had previously won the RBC Heritage tournament in 2014.
Pan Earns Masters, PGA Championship Berths
The win moved the 27-year-old Taiwanese golfer up to 55th on the Official World Golf Ranking. It also earned him a host of benefits, as he will now be guaranteed a position in the PGA Championship this May as well as the 2020 Masters.
Pan wasn’t entirely sure he had won the tournament when he finished up the 18th hole on Sunday. He saw a long birdie putt roll off the edge of the cup before tapping in for par, which left the door slightly ajar with a couple groups behind him. But when Shane Lowry failed to hole out from the fairway on 18, the final threat to his title had been dismissed, allowing Pan to savor his win.
“It’s still really hard to me to believe,” Pan said after the tournament ended. “I’m processing. My phone has been vibrating the last 10 minutes. I’m so happy I finally got it done.”
Pan took advantage of a disappointing final round from Dustin Johnson. The top-ranked golfer in the world came into the final round with a one-shot lead, and looked to be playing reasonably well on the front nine, carding a par 36 to remain in the mix.
Johnson Has Disastrous Back Nine
But the back nine proved to be disastrous for Johnson. After bogeying the 11th hole, he would proceed to card bogeys on 12 and 13 as well. Things only got worse from there: Johnson double-bogeyed both the par-3 14th hole and the par-5 15th, a run that saw him fall far off the leaderboard. A closing round 77 saw Johnson ultimately finish at 4-under for the tournament, tied for 28th place.
In was Kuchar who ended up giving Pan his toughest challenge down the stretch. Birdies on 13 and 15, combined with a bogey on the 15th for Pan, put Kucher in a tie for the lead with three holes to play.
But Pan retook the lead with a birdie on the 16th hole, after which a bogey by Kucher on 17 extended the deficit to two shots. While Kucher would birdie the final hole, it wasn’t enough to catch the leader. Still, Kuchker took plenty of positives from his performance.
“It was so much fun,” Kuchar told reporters. “Getting in the mix on the back nine here on Sunday. That back nine, I was really, really enjoying myself.”
The victory will help put Pan on the map, considering he wasn’t a name on the mind of most golf fans: in fact, most sportsbooks don’t even have him listed as a potential winner for the PGA Tour yet, where Tiger Woods is the 8/1 favorite according to William Hill. But for Pan, the win means a lot more than simply helping him become a household name.
“It means the world to me,” Pan said of the victory. “That’s why I came to the US. That’s why I went to college, to go through all those necessary steps to be here. I’m just very, very happy that I finally did it.”