Fargo's Tom Hoge perseveres, earns top 10 finish at PGA Championship
Hoge battled from nine shots off the lead to shoot a 1-under 69 on Sunday and tie for ninth place.
TULSA, Oklahoma — After ending the first round of the 2022 PGA Championship tied for second at 4-under par, Fargo's Tom Hoge seemed to see the bottom fall out of his tournament chances the next day with a 4-over par round that dropped him into a tie for 23rd.
But the player known to have a lot of North Dakota grit to his game shook it off and climbed back up the leaderboard over the weekend's final 36 holes, any tournament's toughest stretch.
Hoge rebounded with an even-par 70 in tough conditions Saturday and then made three pars and a birdie in the final four holes Sunday for a 1-under 69 that vaulted him into a tie for ninth, 1-under for the tournament and just four strokes off the winning score.
Justin Thomas, who was tied with Will Zalatoris at 5-under after 72 holes, won his second PGA Championship in a three-hole playoff. Hoge finished tied with Brendan Steele, Abraham Ancer and Seamus Power.
"You know, it was a good grind," Hoge said after Sunday's round. "I made a lot of good pars. (Holes) five through eight, that tough stretch there, I was able to make it through. I was 1-over at that point and I knew we would have some more birdie holes ahead, getting through those holes. Getting through with a lot of pars was pretty big for me to kind of get the momentum going towards the back nine."
On the back nine, Hoge birdied the 10th and 13th holes, and after a brief hiccup with a bogey at the 14th, he parred the 15th and 16th, birdied the 17th and closed with a par on the 18th.
Hoge said his driving was better in the final round than it had been most of the tournament, giving him more chances from the fairway.
Weather also factored into his success, he said. Sunday was rather benign after players battled wind and cold Saturday.
"It was a big change," Hoge said. "Golf course played a complete 180. So it was nice having (Saturday's) round, we played once at least, we kind of knew how the holes would play. And those tees were up again on 13 and 17. So a few birdie opportunities coming in, and luckily I took advantage of those."
The Fargo South graduate won his first PGA event earlier this year, taking first place at Pebble Beach in early February. Hoge also made the cut at Augusta, Ga., in early April, playing in The Masters for the first time in his professional career. He earned his previous top finish in a major, a tie for 39th, at this year's Masters.
But despite his fine play in three of the four rounds at the PGA, Hoge said he felt he could have done better.
"For me, I played well," Hoge said. "Would have liked to drive it better. That was ultimately the difference. I just played out of the rough too much. I thought the golf course played great. We had a little bit of everything as far as conditions goes, so certainly it rewards the guys that think their way around.