Sepp Straka was an afterthought for much of the final round of the Honda Classic as the focus was on the final pairing of Daniel Berger and Shane Lowry, but it was Straka who produced birdies late and snatched the tournament – the first PGA Tour win by an Austrian.
Like Lowry, Straka started the day five shots in arrears of Berger but made up that ground and more with a six-birdie, two-bogey 66. His first four birdies all came from inside 12 feet, but it was a birdie from just off the green from 18 feet at the par-4 16th that put Straka in a share of the lead before one final two-putt birdie at the last proved to be the difference.
A mammoth 305-metre (334-yard) tee shot on 18 – the longest tee shot of the week on that hole – helped set up the winning birdie and was indicative of Straka’s play off the tee for the week. He ranked first in strokes gained/off-the-tee with his 9-degree TaylorMade Stealth Plus driver with a Mitsubishi Kai’li White 60 shaft, gaining nearly five shots on the field. Straka combined distance (a 310.0-yard average, ranked 17th) with accuracy (a field-leading 83.9 percent fairways hit).
That allowed Straka to hit 76.38 percent of his greens, leading to a third-place ranking in greens in regulation percentage for the week, with his Srixon ZX7 irons, a one-piece forged iron with compact short irons with a narrower sole. The grips are Golf Pride’s Tour Velvet model. His wedges are Cleveland’s RTX ZipCore, which he also employs for his pitching wedge.
All of which can now be regarded as the tools of a PGA Tour winner.
What Sepp Straka had in the bag at the 2022 Honda Classic:
Ball: Srixon Z-Star Diamond
Driver: TaylorMade Stealth Plus (Mitsubishi Kai’li White 60), 9 degrees
3-wood: TaylorMade Stealth Plus, 15 degrees
7-wood: Callaway Apex UW
Irons (4-9): Srixon ZX7; (PW): Cleveland RTX ZipCore
Wedges: Cleveland RTX ZipCore (52, 56, 60 degrees)
Putter: Odyssey Stroke Lab Tuttle
PHOTO: Mike Ehrmann