FARMINGDALE, N.Y. (AP) — Varner shoots 71, 67, 67 & 81.

 

 

FARMINGDALE, NEW YORK – MAY 19: Harold Varner III of the United States plays a second shot on the fifth hole during the final round of the 2019 PGA Championship at the Bethpage Black course on May 19, 2019 in Farmingdale, New York. (Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)

 

 

In a story May 19 about Harold Varner III, The Associated Press erroneously reported that Varner shot the highest score in a final round of a major while playing in the last pairing. Dustin Johnson shot an 82, one shot higher than Varner’s 81, in the 2010 U.S. Open.

A corrected version of the story is below:

After getting supportive messages from Tiger Woods and Michael Jordan the night before, Harold Varner III could not have had a better start to the final round of the PGA Championship.

 

 

FARMINGDALE, NEW YORK – MAY 19: Harold Varner III of the United States plays a second shot on the first hole during the final round of the 2019 PGA Championship at the Bethpage Black course on May 19, 2019 in Farmingdale, New York. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

 

 

The 28-year-old birdied the first hole at Bethpage Black playing in the final pairing to draw within five strokes of eventual champion Brooks Koepka, who bogeyed the hole.

It was the best thing to happen to Varner on Sunday.

The 174th-ranked player in the world shot an 11-over 81 and went from sole possession of second place to finishing tied for 36th with a 6-over score, costing him perhaps $1 million had he remained in contention.

It was the worst score of the final day of this event.

 

 

FARMINGDALE, NEW YORK – MAY 19: Harold Varner III of the United States lines up a putt on the second green during the final round of the 2019 PGA Championship at the Bethpage Black course on May 19, 2019 in Farmingdale, New York. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

 

 

“Man, it’s just rough. It was hard. It was really hard,” said Varner, whose only win was in the 2017 Australian PGA championship. “I just didn’t play well enough. It was a great experience. I’m going to get a lot better. It’s just a hard golf course. I don’t know, I don’t know. It’s good.”

 

 

GOLD COAST, AUSTRALIA – DECEMBER 04: Harold Varner III of the USA poses with Emirates cabin crew after winning the Joe Kirkwood trophy on day four of the 2016 Australian PGA Championship at RACV Royal Pines Resort on December 4, 2016 in Gold Coast, Australia. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

 

 

Varner finished with one birdie, three double bogeys, six bogeys and eight pars.

His first double came at the par-3 third hole. He missed the green, chipped to 11 feet and three-putted.

 

 

FARMINGDALE, NEW YORK – MAY 19: Harold Varner III of the United States plays a shot on the fourth hole during the final round of the 2019 PGA Championship at the Bethpage Black course on May 19, 2019 in Farmingdale, New York. (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)

 

 

The worst hole was the par-5, 524-yard No. 4. His 324-yard tee shot landed in stalk-like grass. His second went sideways into the woods, and the ball was lost. Even Koepka came to help, but to no avail.

“I had about 30 seconds left,” Varner said of the search. “I didn’t think we were going to find it anyways. I didn’t really look for my golf ball. I thought I was screwed.”

Varner had to return to the native area and eventually took a 7.

 

 

FARMINGDALE, NEW YORK – MAY 19: Harold Varner III of the United States reacts to his birdie putt on the first green during the final round of the 2019 PGA Championship at the Bethpage Black course on May 19, 2019 in Farmingdale, New York. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

 

 

Nothing good happened after that and it seemed Varner just tried to play fast the rest of the way on a very windy, difficult day.

“That was crazy,” he said. “But it happens. I just — mine happened on the last day. I’m going to get a lot better. It was just really hard. I don’t know what else to say.”

 

 

FARMINGDALE, NEW YORK – MAY 19: The golf bag of Harold Varner III of the United States is seen on the first tee during the final round of the 2019 PGA Championship at the Bethpage Black course on May 19, 2019 in Farmingdale, New York. (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)

 

 

 

Varner said his opening rounds of 71, 67 and 67 convinced him he is good enough to compete with the best on the PGA Tour. It just didn’t happen on Sunday, and he was ticked off, although he never ducked a question.

“I was right there,” he said. “Gosh, it was a lot of fun, man. It was something I’ve never felt before. So it was pretty cool.”

 

 

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, FLORIDA – MARCH 13: Harold Varner III of the United States, Tiger Woods of the United States and Bryson DeChambeau of the United States look on during a practice round for The PLAYERS Championship on The Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass on March 13, 2019 in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

 

 

Varner didn’t disclose exactly what Woods, who didn’t make the cut, said to him, other than to keep it simple. The rest was smack talk between golfers. (Varner, who is also African American, said earlier in the weekend that he was enjoying the give-and-take with the fans, even the ones who called him “Tiger.”)

What really bothered Varner and was completely out of his — and Koepka’s control — were some fans yelling for Koepka to choke after Dustin Johnson drew close.

 

 

FARMINGDALE, NEW YORK – MAY 19: Brooks Koepka of the United States prepares to play a second shot on the 13th hole from the rough during the final round of the 2019 PGA Championship at the Bethpage Black course on May 19, 2019 in Farmingdale, New York. (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)

 

 

“I have a few choice words for that,” said Varner, whose week began with plans to play a practice round with Woods on the eve of the tournament until Woods called in sick. “I thought it was pretty weird how they were telling Brooks to choke. That’s not my cup of tea. I was pulling for him after that.”

 

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