Brian Gay won the PGA Tour's Humana Challenge, beating Charles Howell III with a 5-1/2-foot birdie putt on the second hole of a playoff in La Quinta, Calif.

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LA QUINTA, Calif. — Brian Gay won the Humana Challenge on Sunday, beating Charles Howell III with a 5 ½-foot birdie putt on the second hole of a playoff after front-running Scott Stallings gave away a large lead.

Gay closed with a 9-under-par 63 on PGA West’s Arnold Palmer Private Course to match Howell (64) and Swedish rookie David Lingmerth (62) at 25-under 263.

Stallings, five strokes ahead entering the round, bogeyed the final hole for a 70 to miss the playoff by a stroke.

Richard H. Lee, a graduate of the University of Washington and Newport High School in Bellevue, had a hole-in-one on No. 15 and finished tied for 10th place at 21 under. Lee, 25, has two top-10 finishes in 26 Tour starts.

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Gay, 41, posted his fourth Tour victory and earned $1.008 million.

“The thoughts were, ‘Just be aggressive, shoot as low as you can,’ ” Gay said. “I knew Scott was five ahead. Even with a great round, a really low round, it would be tough to catch him, if at all.”

Gay and Howell opened the playoff with birdies on the par-5 18th hole, and Lingmerth dropped out with a bogey after hitting his approach into the left-side water.

Gay won on the par-4 10th, hitting a perfect drive and putting his 9-iron second shot in good position below the hole. Howell drove into the right rough, hit his second into the back bunker, blasted out to 15 feet and two-putted for a bogey.

Howell, who won the last of his two Tour titles in 2007, said, “Anybody that says that golf is fun or whatever, has really not done it for a living.

“I would never characterize this as fun.”


Phil Mickelson, 42, who tied for 37th place at 17 under, said the political landscape in the country is causing him to contemplate his future. Forbes magazine last year ranked him as the seventh highest-paid athlete, with $47.8 million in earnings, including about $43 million in endorsements.

“If you add up all the federal and you look at the disability and the unemployment and the Social Security and state, my tax rate is 62, 63 percent,” Mickelson said. “So I’ve got to make some decisions on what to do.”

San Diego resident Mickelson, who added he intends to elaborate later this week, said, “There are going to be some drastic changes for me.”

John Cook caught David Frost on the final hole of regulation, then beat him with a birdie on the second playoff hole to win the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, an event on the 50-and-older Champions Tour in Ka’upulehu-Kona, Hawaii.

Cook closed with a 5-under 67 at Hualalai Golf Club to match Frost (69) at 17-under 199 for 54 holes. Cook, 55, won the playoff with a 15-foot birdie putt and earned $309,000.

Seattle native Fred Couples (67) finished fourth at 202 and Kirk Triplett, a graduate of Pullman High School, tied for fifth place at 203.

Jamie Donaldson of Wales closed with a 4-under 68 to win the Abu Dhabi Championship, a European Tour event, by one stroke over Justin Rose (71) of England and Thorbjorn Olesen (69) of Denmark. Donaldson had a 14-under 274 total.

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