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Rory McIlroy's final shot in a closest-to-the-pin playoff caps big day at Seminole for COVID-19 relief efforts

Tom D'Angelo, The Palm Beach Post on

Published in Golf

"It was very nice to be a part of something so cool," Johnson, the Palm Beach Gardens resident, said. "Just to get back out and play golf again, a little bit competitive. It was a lot of fun."

While Fowler clearly had the best day with seven birdies, Wolff, who said before the match he had the most to prove, impressed, too.

The 21-year-old and defending NCAA champion won both long drive holes. His tee shots on No. 2 sailed 356 yards and on No. 14 traveled 368 yards.

"I care so much and I'm trying to raise so much money," said Wolff, who joined the PGA Tour last June after his career at Oklahoma State. "I felt like maybe I was a little nervous to start the day, but I definitely settled down. I'm happy to raise a lot of money with the long drive."

The match, played on the 7,265-yard, Donald Ross designed course, gave us a bit of a sneak peak to the new guidelines that will be implemented to help fight the coronavirus pandemic when the Tour re-starts June 11 in Fort Worth, Texas. All participants and officials were subject to testing and asked to practice social distancing, all facilities were disinfected, there were no bunker rakes and players were asked not to touch the flag sticks. When the Tour returns, players will pull their clubs from their bags.

At one point, McIlroy thanked Wolff for doing his part to social distance when Wolff hit a tee shot into the sand dunes.

McIlroy and Johnson won the first three skins when Johnson birdied the Par 5 third hole after two carryovers.

After Fowler drained a short birdie putt on No. 4 for his team's first skin, McIlroy reminded him, "You can't get shut out, now."

After McIlroy and Johnson won the next two skins, giving them a 5-1 lead, Fowler took over ... winning the next six.

 

Fowler birdied No. 9, which was worth three skins, No. 11 worth two skins and No. 12.

With the last six skins carrying over, McIlroy and Johnson entered the closet-to-the-pin playoff not having won a skin since the sixth hole.

Maybe it wasn't like being in contention in a major, but still it was pressure ... a different kind of pressure.

"When you're not playing for your own money, playing someone else's, or you're playing for another cause, it sort of starts to weigh on you a little bit," McIlroy said.

That look of relief and fist pump said it all.

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