English Lesson In Memphis

MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE | It seemed just a matter of time before Harris English would get his first PGA Tour victory. That time came Sunday. English, who has a powerful elegance to his game, made four back-nine birdies to win the St. Jude Classic by two strokes ahead of Phil Mickelson and Scott Stallings. Why the sense of inevitability with English? A former Tennessee high school champion, English was an All-American at the University of Georgia and became only the third amateur to win on the Nationwide Tour when he did it in 2011. He had a solid rookie season on the PGA Tour in 2012 and had three top-10 finishes this year when he arrived at the TPC Southwind. He shot 66-64 to open at Memphis to grab the 36-hole lead then came from behind on the final nine holes Sunday. English became the fourth member of the 2011 U.S. Walker Cup team to win a professional event this year, joining Russell Henley, Peter Uihlein and Patrick Cantlay. The victory, however, did not get English a spot in the U.S. Open at Merion. “I was just really relaxed out there,” English said. “I bogeyed 8 and 9 but I knew if I kept at it, I could make a run at it.” For Mickelson, it was a nearly ideal tune-up for next week’s U.S. Open. Since finishing third at the Wells Fargo Championship where he bogeyed two of the last three holes, Mickelson had missed the cut in the Players Championship then taken a three-week break. Playing the 18th hole, it looked as if he might pull off a classic Mickelson moment. Two behind Stallings and English, Mickelson liked his approach shot so much he barked, “Go in” as he watched it descend. “I thought that one on 18 might go in,” Mickelson said. It didn’t but was close enough for an easy birdie that pushed Mickelson to 10-under par and tied with Stalllings, who bogeyed the closing hole. It wasn’t enough to catch English but it sent Mickelson to Philadelphia with good vibes. If Mickelson had few regrets, Stallings was left with the feeling of what might have been. He was 12-under par and had a two-stroke lead standing on the fairway on the par-4 15th when things went bad.


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