By Teresa M. Walker/The Associated Press
MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Harris English won the St. Jude Classic on Sunday for his first PGA Tour title, birdieing two of the final three holes to hold off Phil Mickelson and Scott Stallings by two strokes.
The 23-year-old former Georgia star in his second year on tour survived a final round where he had six birdies and five bogeys. He finished with a 1-under 69 for a 12-under 268 total.
English made a 5-foot birdie putt on No. 16 to tie Stallings for the lead, but Stallings bogeyed No. 18 to give English the lead to himself. English made a 17-foot birdie putt on No. 17, and two-putted No. 18 to pick up the winner’s check of $1,026,000.
Mickelson shot a 67, and Stallings had a 68.
English became the fourth player to win the event in his first start since the tournament moved to TPC Southwind in 1989 and the second straight after Dustin Johnson a year ago.
The final round returned to normal Memphis weather with the temperature reaching the high 80s along with the wind blowing from the south at 10-15 mph as it usually does at Southwind.
English won the Southern Amateur in 2011 and was an amateur when he won on the Web.com Tour at the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Invitational in July 2011. He moved to the PGA Tour in 2012 and finished 79th on the money list. Now he has his fourth top 10 this year.
It looked as if Stallings, a two-time winner on tour, would add his third win in three years when he took advantage of consecutive bogeys by English on Nos. 8 and 9 to go up by three strokes. Stallings was 12 under at the turn with four birdies on the front side. But he finished with a double bogey, a birdie and a bogey in his final four holes.
Shawn Stefani, a 31-year-old rookie from Texas, went into the final round with a one-stroke lead, had a 76 to drop into a tie for seventh at 6 under.
English, playing with Stefani in the final group, rallied after his consecutive bogeys.
He birdied No. 10, rolling in a 14-footer from the fringe, and hit his tee shot within 5 feet on the par-3 11th for his second straight birdie and fourth of the round. His fifth bogey of the day, at No. 12, moved him back to 10 under.
Stallings went to 11 under with a birdie on the par-5 16th. He hit his approach into a bunker on the right side of the green, blasted out to 5 feet and rolled in the putt to go ahead. But Stallings missed his own birdie attempt from the same distance a couple feet away on the green, which cost him when English birdied No. 16 a few minutes later to tie him again atop the leaderboard.
On No. 18, Stallings hit his tee shot way right between the fairway bunkers and the cart path and put his approach into the right rough 83 feet away. His chip just reached the edge of the green, leaving him nearly 40 feet to the hole. He ran it 5 feet past the hole for a bogey.
Mickelson birdied Nos. 13 and 16, but he just missed a 13-footer for birdie on the par-4 17th. He then went right at the hole on No. 18 from 151 yards and just missed, leaving a 2-foot birdie putt to tie Stallings at 10 under.
English then finished off the win and celebrated with a simple fist pump.