Mitchell played his last seven holes in four under and made a 15-footer for his first PGA Tour victory.
The Honda Classic leaderboard featured a number of marquee names. There was 56-year-old Vijay Singh, trying to become the oldest PGA Tour winner ever and pick up his 35th career win. There was Brooks Koepka, looking for a statement win with the Masters on the horizon. And there was Rickie Fowler, searching for his second victory of 2019 .
In the end, they all were looking up the leaderboard at one Keith Mitchell.
Mitchell played the last seven holes at the brutal PGA National course in four under, and made a 15-footer for birdie to finish at nine under and beat Koepka and Fowler by a single stroke. It's the long-hitting 27-year-old's first victory on Tour, and one that books him a spot in the field at Augusta.
1. Mitchell -9
2. Koepka -8
4. Palmer -7
6. Singh -6
7. Lee -5
7. Clark -4
Mitchell bogeyed his first two holes of the day and sat at five under on the 12th tee. That's when he kicked things into gear, birdieing 12 and 13 before heading to the dreaded Bear Trap (stretch). Mitchell flagged his iron shot on the par-5 15th and converted the birdie, then made routine pars on 16 and 17 before stepping to the par-5 18th tee.
By that time, both Koepka and Fowler had already birdied 18 to finish the tournament at eight under. Fowler birdied three of his last four holes, including a 40-plus-footer on 17, to give himself a solid opportunity to win the Honda for the second time in three years.
Mitchel knew a birdie on 18 would do the trick, but his tugged tee shot finished in a fairway bunker and forced a layup. With his third, the University of Georgia graduate hit a solid wedge shot to 15 feet below the hole then poured the left-to-righter in the center for a $1.2 million payday.
Singh held around for much of the day before his chances unraveled at the par-3 17th, where his tee shot found the water and led to bogey. He finished sixth at six under, one behind Lucas Glover and Ryan Palmer, the latter of whom shot up the leaderboard by shooting 63 much earlier in the day.