PGA Tour rookie Davis Thompson explains how he came up just short at the 2023 American Express

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His baby face aside, Davis Thompson didn’t look like a PGA Tour rookie making his 20th start for most of the week at the 2023 American Express.

The 23-year-old Georgia grad dominated the first and second rounds at the Coachella Valley, where his five eagles over 36 holes tied the record for most eagles made in an event at 72 -hole (1983-present). The final round comes Sunday at the PGA West Stadium Course in La Quinta, California, he was paired with 2018 AmEx winner and world No. 4 Jon Rahm and JT Poston.

“I had a great week,” said Thompson, who finished one shot short of Rahm and would have been a playoff for his first PGA Tour on Sunday. “To compete against the best in the world my dream and I did that today and proved that I can hang with them. It was a lot of fun.

“A lot of nerves and I hit a lot of quality golf shots under pressure, which was pretty cool.”

Thompson played the par-5 at 14 under in the first three rounds spread over the La Quinta Country Club and PGA West and Championship Stadium courses. On Sunday at the Stadium Course, Thompson played the par-5 four at just even par after his 2-under effort on Saturday.

“Honestly, I don’t know,” Thompson said of the difference between his two weekend rounds. “I had a few tee shots off the line. I mean, I didn’t give myself a chance to go for him on 5 and 16 because of bad tee shots. Besides playing the par-5s all week I didn’t do that well today.”

“Jon made par on 5, which I thought he was going to birdie, but he made par on 5 and birdied 16. It was two shots,” explained Thompson. “I played those holes 1 over. So that was kind of a two-shot swing there.”

On Sunday, Thompson was T-62 in fairways, 62nd in Strokes Gained: Off the Tee and 54th in SG: Around the Green among the 69 players who made the cut. But his hardest break of the day came on the 17thth green, where Thompson made a heartbreaking par after his birdie putt from 48 feet hit the flag and missed the hole. The putt would have tied him and Rahm for the lead with one hole to play.

“Normally I always leave the bat in from a long distance. I feel like it helps me with my speed,” Thompson said of his decision not to pull the pin. “I’ll probably play the ‘what if’ game in my head for a long time, unfortunately.”

The missed opportunity on No. 17 aside, Thompson still had a shot to go in for birdie on the final hole after missing the green with his approach. Despite his poor performance around the greens on the day, the TV coverage was overshadowed by Thompson’s attempt to hit the difficult chip within two feet and almost hole out.

“I went through every option in my head. I could have just hit a low bump and run, but that hill was so steep,” Thompson said of the performance. “I put my 60 down and I knew I had enough, I had a good enough lie to pick it up quickly. Just like going back if you want to do it, you chip it. If you want to hit it close, you put it. So I was obviously trying to do it. That might as well.”

Thompson has made the cut in five of his six starts so far this season and finished T-9 at the season-opening Fortinet Championship. He went toe-to-toe with one of the best Sundays in the world and did not back down under the worst pressure. He has great talent for his age. Moxy, too.

Keep an eye on the young rookie. Maybe you are too.

The story first appeared on GolfWeek

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