WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, West Virginia (AP) — Sweden's Jonas Blixt wasn't having the type of year he had envisioned — until the final round of the Greenbrier Classic came along on Sunday and he shot a 3-under 67 to win by two strokes.
Blixt emerged from a five-player chase over the final five holes to pick up the $1.1 million winner's check. He also shot from 139th to 39th in the FedEx Cup points standings.
"This is what I play for," Blixt said. "I play to win. It just confirms that if you do the right things, that you work hard, dreams can come true."
Among the perks for his victory are a spot in next year's Masters.
Blixt also will move to around No. 50 in the next world ranking, which is used as the alternate list to fill the field for this month's British Open. That would make him the top alternate in a year that about eight players from the list will get into the Open at Muirfield.
He overcame a four-shot deficit at the start of the final round and finished at 13-under 267. Third-round leader Johnson Wagner (73), Australians Steven Bowditch (68) and Matt Jones (68), and Jimmy Walker (71) tied for second at 11 under.
Blixt went from a tie to a two-shot lead when he made a 9-foot birdie putt on No. 16 to move to 13 under. No other player made a birdie after that. Wagner bogeyed the par-3 15th moments later to fall to 11 under alongside Bowditch and Walker.
Blixt also won the Frys.com Open last year as a tour rookie. But entering the Greenbrier Classic, he hadn't had a top-10 finish this season, missing as many cuts as he made.
Blixt was overcome with emotion after watching Wagner and Walker, needing holes-in-one at No. 18, reach the green but land well away from the hole.
"It's just been a hard year," Blixt said. "My game has not been on."
Defending champion Ted Potter Jr. (67), Pat Perez (69) and Brian Stuard (67) tied for sixth at 9 under.
Wagner, who had missed out on weekend play in his last seven tournaments, couldn't match the seven birdies he had in the third round on his way to a 64. He bogeyed three holes in a five-hole stretch on the back nine and never recovered.
"The swing just left," Wagner said. "I'm furious. But given where I was a couple of weeks ago, I'll take a lot of positives when I get over this disappointment right now."
Play on the Old White TPC course was halted for three hours due to thunderstorms. The last group teed off at 5:10 p.m. local time and finished just after sunset.
Walker joined four others after the Greenbrier Classic to earn spots in the British Open as the leading five players not already exempt from the top 20 in the FedEx Cup standings. He moved up to 17th. The others are Billy Horschel, Boo Weekley, Russell Henley and Harris English.