Monday, July 8

'Hard Year' Turns Victorious for Jonas Blixt

WHEN I READ IN THE ROANOKE TIMES that no 54-hole leader had won The Greenbrier Classic, I thought uh-oh. That didn't sound good for Johnson Wagner, the local story since he played collegiate golf at nearby Virginia Tech. Sure enough, Wagner faded in the final round with a 3-over 73 and Swede Jonas Blixt rallied to claim his second PGA Tour victory.

Blixt was a model of consistency at The Old White, shooting 66-67-67-67 for a 13-under total of 267 and a two-shot win over a quartet of players that included Wagner. A final-round 67 got it done on a golf course on which someone usually goes low (or very low) to steal the prize. It meant a lot to Blixt, who came into the week ranked 139th in the world. He'll move up to about 50th when the new rankings come out.

"It's just been a hard year," Blixt said.

"I just haven't played that well and it just feels really weird, missing the cut last week and I felt like the ball was going everywhere, trying to find some stuff going into this week and kept working on it, never really felt that I got, you know, that slot in my swing where I can just rip at it. It was kind of constant work.

"I don't know what it was; someone must have looked down on me and said the ball's going to go in the right direction."

Not only did Blixt collect a check for $1.34 million, his second tour win will get him into this year's PGA Championship and next year's Players Championship and Masters. His first win was at the 2012 Open.

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