Winner: Brendon Todd
It was the Bermuda Championship, but something of a reverse Bermuda Triangle for Brendon Todd — not where he mysteriously disappeared but where he mysteriously reappeared.
This was the former University of Georgia standout who won the 2014 Byron Nelson Championship and who later disappeared in a frightful case of the yips. Not the putting yips, but the rare full-swing yips in which the golf course becomes an alien place.
“I’m thrilled, over the moon,” said Todd. He had just run off with the tournament by four strokes, shooting Port Royal in 68-63-67-62 for a 24-under 260. And just in time. “A year ago, I wasn’t sure if I was going to keep playing,” Todd said. By September 2018, he had missed the cut in 37 of his last 40 starts. “I would hit a four iron or a three wood 50 yards right,” he said.
He found Bradley Hughes, a former tour player-turned-swing coach who focuses on ground forces and pressures. Todd opened well back with his 68. Scottie Scheffler, 23, was out in 29. Thinking 59? “You think about it a little bit,” he admitted. A par-bogey finish cost him a 60, but he had a one-stroke lead at 62. Rob Oppenheim also thought about a 59 when he birdied seven of the first eight. But his putter was “a little cold the last nine,” he said, and he shot 64.
Todd rocketed into the picture in the second round, closing with four straight birdies for a 63 and in a three-way tie for the lead. He noted Port Royal’s shorter length, at 6,842 yards. “It forces everyone to hit the same club off the tee,” he said. “I’m hitting the same clubs into the green as everyone else, and for some reason that tends to work out well in my favor.” Todd tied at 11 under with Scheffler (69) and Harry Higgs (65), the only player without a bogey through the first two rounds. He ran that clear string to 49 holes. It was broken by a bogey at the 14th in third round. But his 65 gave him a two-shot lead over Todd (67) going into the final round. That’s when Todd erupted. He parred the first, then birdied the next seven. Said Higgs, his playing partner: “I told my caddie, you become a fan — this guy might shoot 56.”
Todd added birdies at the 10th, 11th and 15th for the 62 and the four-stroke win. Said Todd, signing off: “We came to a golf course that none of us have ever seen and I was able to figure it out and play spectacular golf. Always be the first Bermuda champion…” And a history note: Local amateur Kenny Leseur, 15, qualified for the tournament, shooting 74-73–147, five over, in blustery weather. In the tournament, he shot 77-75–152, 10 over, and missed the cut by 11.