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Dream deferred, but finally fulfilled for Adam Long at Desert Classic – Daily News

Dream deferred, but finally fulfilled for Adam Long at Desert Classic – Daily News

LA QUINTA — This will not have come out of nowhere, essentially, but the end of the 60th anniversary Desert Classic was definitely a stunner.

For 3 days, the Coachella Valley’s PGA Tour cease was Phil Mickelson’s to lose. The man who was the face of The Event Previously Recognized As The Bob Hope — the official event host, whose visage adorned billboards throughout the valley — led for 54 holes after rounds of 60, 68 and 66 and carried a two-shot lead into Sunday.

Alas, the ultimate spherical was a type of days when putts simply wouldn’t cooperate, sliding simply left or proper or arising brief. So halfway via the spherical, the narrative appeared targeted on Adam Hadwin, the Canadian and, presumably, favourite of these scads of snowbirds who alight right here by way of the winter. Hadwin, who had come shut right here two of the final three years, went from a two-shot deficit to a three-shot lead by means of 11 holes Sunday after his sixth birdie of the day.

He didn’t get one other.

And that left the door open for the third man within the remaining group. Adam Long, a 31-year-old with a sociology diploma from Duke and a Grasp’s in scuffling, by means of eight years on any variety of where-are-we-now excursions, hit the jackpot in his sixth PGA Tour begin.

  • Phil Mickelson reacts after lacking his placed on the 18th gap in the course of the ultimate spherical of the Desert Classic at the Stadium Course at PGA West in La Quinta on Sunday, January 20, 2019. (Photograph by Jennifer Cappuccio Maher, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/SCNG)

  • Adam Long celebrates after sinking his putt on the 18th gap to win the ultimate spherical of the Desert Classic at the Stadium Course at PGA West in La Quinta on Sunday, January 20, 2019. (Photograph by Jennifer Cappuccio Maher, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/SCNG)

  • Adam Long celebrates profitable the ultimate spherical of the Desert Classic at the Stadium Course at PGA West in La Quinta on Sunday, January 20, 2019. (Photograph by Jennifer Cappuccio Maher, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/SCNG)

  • Followers watch the ultimate spherical of the Desert Classic at the Stadium Course at PGA West in La Quinta on Sunday, January 20, 2019. (Photograph by Jennifer Cappuccio Maher, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/SCNG)

  • Sam Ryder, left, and Justin Rose play the 16th gap through the remaining spherical of the Desert Classic at the Stadium Course at PGA West in La Quinta on Sunday, January 20, 2019. (Photograph by Jennifer Cappuccio Maher, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/SCNG)

  • Jon Rahm hugs a fan after giving her his gloves at the top of his spherical through the last spherical of the Desert Classic at the Stadium Course at PGA West in La Quinta on Sunday, January 20, 2019. (Photograph by Jennifer Cappuccio Maher, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/SCNG)

  • Talor Gooch hits on the 18th gap through the remaining spherical of the Desert Classic at the Stadium Course at PGA West in La Quinta on Sunday, January 20, 2019. (Photograph by Jennifer Cappuccio Maher, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/SCNG)

  • Adam Hadwin tees off at the 13th gap in the course of the last spherical of the Desert Classic at the Stadium Course at PGA West in La Quinta on Sunday, January 20, 2019. (Photograph by Jennifer Cappuccio Maher, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/SCNG)

  • Jon Rahm hits out of the sand lure on the 16th gap in the course of the remaining spherical of the Desert Classic at the Stadium Course at PGA West in La Quinta on Sunday, January 20, 2019. (Photograph by Jennifer Cappuccio Maher, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/SCNG)

  • Talor Gooch celebrates after ending the 18th gap in the course of the last spherical of the Desert Classic at the Stadium Course at PGA West in La Quinta on Sunday, January 20, 2019. (Photograph by Jennifer Cappuccio Maher, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/SCNG)

  • Adam Long, left, Phil Mickelson and Adam Hadwin prepare to complete the 18th gap in the course of the ultimate spherical of the Desert Classic at the Stadium Course at PGA West in La Quinta on Sunday, January 20, 2019. (Photograph by Jennifer Cappuccio Maher, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/SCNG)

  • Followers watch the ultimate spherical of the Desert Classic at the Stadium Course at PGA West in La Quinta on Sunday, January 20, 2019. (Photograph by Jennifer Cappuccio Maher, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/SCNG)

  • John Huh performs the 17th gap in the course of the ultimate spherical of the Desert Classic at the Stadium Course at PGA West in La Quinta on Sunday, January 20, 2019. (Photograph by Jennifer Cappuccio Maher, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/SCNG)

  • Andrew Landry performs the 16th gap in the course of the last spherical of the Desert Classic at the Stadium Course at PGA West in La Quinta on Sunday, January 20, 2019. (Photograph by Jennifer Cappuccio Maher, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/SCNG)

  • Rory Sabbatini performs the 16th gap through the last spherical of the Desert Classic at the Stadium Course at PGA West in La Quinta on Sunday, January 20, 2019. (Photograph by Jennifer Cappuccio Maher, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/SCNG)

  • Adam Long hits on the 11th gap through the last spherical of the Desert Classic at the Stadium Course at PGA West in La Quinta on Sunday, January 20, 2019. (Photograph by Jennifer Cappuccio Maher, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/SCNG)

  • Adam Hadwin smiles whereas enjoying the 11th gap through the remaining spherical of the Desert Classic at the Stadium Course at PGA West in La Quinta on Sunday, January 20, 2019. (Photograph by Jennifer Cappuccio Maher, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/SCNG)

  • Adam Hadwin tees off at the 12th gap in the course of the remaining spherical of the Desert Classic at the Stadium Course at PGA West in La Quinta on Sunday, January 20, 2019. (Photograph by Jennifer Cappuccio Maher, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/SCNG)

  • Adam Hadwin prepares to putt in the course of the ultimate spherical of the Desert Classic at the Stadium Course at PGA West in La Quinta on Sunday, January 20, 2019. (Photograph by Jennifer Cappuccio Maher, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/SCNG)

  • Phil Mickelson reacts after lacking his putt on the 12th gap through the remaining spherical of the Desert Classic at the Stadium Course at PGA West in La Quinta on Sunday, January 20, 2019. (Photograph by Jennifer Cappuccio Maher, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/SCNG)

  • Adam Long sinks his putt on the 12th gap through the last spherical of the Desert Classic at the Stadium Course at PGA West in La Quinta on Sunday, January 20, 2019. (Photograph by Jennifer Cappuccio Maher, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/SCNG)

  • Phil Mickelson walks the inexperienced on the 18th gap in the course of the remaining spherical of the Desert Classic at the Stadium Course at PGA West in La Quinta on Sunday, January 20, 2019. (Photograph by Jennifer Cappuccio Maher, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/SCNG)

  • Adam Long prepares to putt on the 18th gap in the course of the remaining spherical of the Desert Classic at the Stadium Course at PGA West in La Quinta on Sunday, January 20, 2019. (Photograph by Jennifer Cappuccio Maher, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/SCNG)

  • Adam Long celebrates profitable the ultimate spherical of the Desert Classic at the Stadium Course at PGA West in La Quinta on Sunday, January 20, 2019. (Photograph by Jennifer Cappuccio Maher, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/SCNG)

  • Adam Long celebrates after sinking his putt on the 18th gap to win the ultimate spherical of the Desert Classic at the Stadium Course at PGA West in La Quinta on Sunday, January 20, 2019. (Photograph by Jennifer Cappuccio Maher, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/SCNG)

And when his 14-foot birdie putt on 18 broke a three-way tie together with his enjoying companions, giving him a ultimate spherical 65 and a 26-under end, it was his second victory. Not simply on the PGA Tour. On any skilled tour.

The one one earlier than this? On the Hooters Tour, at Woodcreek outdoors of Columbia, S.C., in 2011. In 142 profession begins on the Net.com developmental tour and the MacKenzie Canadian, Latinoamerica and China PGA excursions, Long had three second-place finishes, one in Canada in 2014 and two on the Net.com, in 2015 and 2018. His profession earnings, in response to his PGA profile, totaled just a little over $585,000 earlier than this week. That didn’t rely his Hooters Tour winners verify – $20,000 or $25,000, Long guessed – but did embrace his first PGA Tour verify, $13,568, from tying for 63rd at the Safeway Open in Napa final October.

His paycheck for this week’s work: $1,062,000. No marvel he and his spouse Emily had such broad, radiant smiles on the 18th inexperienced.

“I haven’t thought about it,” he stated afterward. “But I’m keeping my phone off for a while so nobody is asking for a loan.”

The humongous winner’s verify, the exemption into Tour occasions starting this week at Torrey Pines, the ticket to Augusta for the Masters … it’s the payoff for all of these tournaments in out of the best way locations over all of these years, and for all of these occasions he’d struggled to hone his swing and discover constant success.

He hadn’t misplaced hope, and he stated there was by no means a second throughout these eight years the place he was prepared to surrender the dream and look for a extra mundane job.

“The first four years or so … I was kind of struggling playing the mini-tours, wasn’t getting on the Web.com tour,” he stated. “I had one short season out there, but I wasn’t doing great. But I never really doubted it, I still wanted to play and I still loved it and I still wanted to see how good I could get.”

The final 4 years on the Net.com tour, he added, “I progressed and I got better. I have always said (or) thought, as long as I feel like I’m getting better at golf and I’m not taking backward steps too much, then I’ve got to keep going. I mean, there wasn’t much doubt recently.”

Long’s closest brush to the big-time, earlier than his 13th-place end on final yr’s Net.com tour earned him his PGA Tour card, got here in 2011, and it got here after a low level. He’d missed a bunch of cuts consecutively on one thing referred to as the eGolf tour, and flew from there to Columbus, Ohio, for U.S. Open sectional qualifying. He “played some of the best golf of my life and qualified for the U.S. Open,” he stated. “So I mean it went from like the worst month of my playing career to the best week of my playing career until now.”

That possible strengthened his feeling that the dream was merely being deferred, not denied. And now it has come true.

You can say he drafted off Mickelson all week lengthy. His first spherical on the Nicklaus Event Course Thursday was a 63, but that was the day the event host shot a 60. Long shot a 71 Friday on the Stadium Course, and got here again with a 63 Saturday at La Quinta to place himself three photographs off the lead and within the day’s last group.

Perhaps all of that scuffling, the arduous knocks and missed cuts and tournaments in all of these out-of-the-way locations, stiffens the backbone. Right here was a man in his sixth Tour occasion enjoying alongside a man who was in his 596th event, with 43 victories and, in fact, all these billboards.

But Long didn’t look, act or carry out like somebody out of his component this week, particularly because the end line neared. He birdied 4 of the final seven holes, and his strategy on 18, from 175 yards within the left tough to inside championship distance, was textbook. No nerves there.

“I didn’t know how I would feel,” he stated. “I felt nervous, but I kind of always do before I play. I wasn’t freaking out by any means. I kept telling myself I had nothing to lose, I’m in the mix, I got a chance at a Top-10 and getting in next week and I was just trying to have a blast. How often are you going to get to play with Phil on Sunday?”

Extra often, maybe, if this retains up.

jalexander@scng.com

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