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David Toms wins Galleri Classic at Mission Hills

David Toms wins Galleri Classic at Mission Hills

RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. – David Toms fired a 7-under 65 Sunday for a four-stroke, wire-to-wire win at The Galleri Classic to become the first two-time winner on the PGA Tour Champions this season.

The Galleri Classic / Scott Avra) 

Toms closed out his second win in three starts and fourth Champions victory with an eight-birdie, one-bogey performance at Mission Hills Country Club to claim the $330,000 winner’s share.

 David Toms winner of this year’s Galleri Classic tees of in Round 1 by Craige Campbell/ CoachellaValley.com

Steven Alker of New Zealand used a round of five birdies — four on the back nine — to finish alone in second after a closing 67.

David, you’re the winner of the inaugural Galleri Classic. How does that feel to get your second win this season and twice in the desert now?

The Galleri Classic / Scott Avra

DAVID TOMS: Well, I mean obviously it feels great. I never, even last night didn’t really think about winning that much, I just wanted to go out and play well. There was so many guys that were so close, so I knew I’d have to play well and that’s exactly what happened. You saw guys –by the time I made the turn, everybody was all bunched up. I had a really good back nine, I shot 5 under back nine, so I did the same thing I did the first day and that was the difference in winning and being right in the middle of the pack.

Q. When did you know kind of coming down the stretch here? Were you following the leaderboard or did you know you kind of had taken a big enough jump to be OK?

DAVID TOMS: Well, I was paying attention to it over there. I guess I birdied 13 going into the par 3 and I saw a –played it safe over there left, missed the green. That was the big putt there, I made about a 10-footer for par to kind of keep my momentum going. Then obviously the way I finished, even 17 I hit the iron shot right where I had to, it was a really tough hole.

Really felt calm the last four, five holes. I’m sure winning earlier in the season had a lot to do with that, and even there on 18, there’s water all over the place and I got up and striped it right down the middle.

The Galleri Classic / Craige Campbell / CoachellaValley.com

Obviously once you win it makes it a little bit easier to do that, but at the same time you’ve got to execute and I was able to do it.

Q. Don’t know if you know, but Sam Burns won the Dell Match Play, so I know you guys have a close relationship. What does that mean to you and just like comments on that, that you both got it done today?

DAVID TOMS: Well, I was grinding it all morning before I teed off and I knew he got off to a good start. Then I saw Scheffler came back. By the time we teed off they had gone into extra holes, so I didn’t know what was going on, I was out there trying to take care of my business.

But great young man, a great player. For us both to do it on the same day, that’s pretty cool.

Q. You’re getting emotional with that. We’ll give him a little shout-out. A hunting partner there? I mean, you guys are closer than people know.

DAVID TOMS: Yeah, we’ve shared some fun times, for sure.

CONNOR STANGE: All right, David, congratulations on winning the first-ever Galleri Classic here. It’s your second win in your last three starts here on PGA TOUR Champions. Just how good does this one feel for you?

DAVID TOMS: Very good. I think obviously winning in Tucson helped me today. I was very calm out there. I saw Retief got off to a great start, had a really hot round, so I was — it’s good that you have to go out and play well to win, not back into it. I was able to do that on the back nine. I knew I needed to play a good nine holes. I played the back nine a lot like I did the first day and that’s really what separated me from the rest of the field was my back nine on Friday and my back nine today.

Q. At what point did you realize that Retief was on fire?

DAVID TOMS: Well, I saw it pretty early in the round, definitely probably on about 7 or 8 I saw that he was at 12 under already. I didn’t pay attention to what time he teed off or however many holes he had played or anything like that. I just knew that I had to — it wasn’t just about the guys in the group in front of me or the guys I was playing with and I knew that coming in. I said that to you guys yesterday, that with everybody bunched up, three-round tournaments do that to you, everybody tends to bunch up, so I knew I had to play well. And that’s probably a good thing, kind of gets rid of the nerves and you’ve got to like, hey, I’ve got to go out and play well to win this thing. I was proud of the way I did that on the last — on the back nine.

Q. You played the back nine incredibly well this week.

DAVID TOMS: Yeah, I did.

Q. It’s not supposed to go that way, the other tournament was score early, hold on late.

DAVID TOMS: Sure. Well, there’s some good holes out there, but at the same time there were some holes that should have been tough holes that I just felt very comfortable on, felt comfortable off the tee shot and I had some good yardages. Today on the front nine I want to say I was in between clubs almost the entire front nine until I birdied 9. It just seems that when the greens get firm, it’s hard to hit soft shots. I like to hit a lot of soft shots if I’m in between clubs. I would rather hit a smooth 6 than a hard 7, things like that. But when the greens firm up, you have to go ahead and hit a full shot so you can spin it. It seemed like the whole front nine I was in between, I couldn’t decide if I wanted to hit the hard one or the soft one, so I wasn’t getting it close to the hole. Then I hit a great 5-wood for my second shot on No. 9, an easy two-putt and it kind of gave me some momentum going to the back nine.

Q. Two putts on the back nine kind of were important; one, the par putt on 14?

DAVID TOMS: The par putt on 14 was definitely the shot of the day for me. Even though it was only an 8-iron shot today off the tee, it was a tough shot. All week on that hole the wind was all over the place, it would be in, it would be down, it would be right to left, left to right, so I kind of chickened out with my line off the tee and I pulled it. Even though I missed the green to the left, I probably didn’t miss my spot by about 15 feet left of where I was trying to hit it. That was a chip out of a hairy lie that can get away from you. You could chip the ball in the water if you caught it too good. It surprised me that it checked up and that it stopped about 10 feet short, but that was definitely the shot of the day was that putt because it kept me being very positive and that I didn’t give a shot back and that I was continuing to move forward. Then I came back and birdied the next couple holes.

Q. And a long putt on 15?

DAVID TOMS: Yeah. I just felt really — I felt good with my speed and that was the difference. The tough part was reading them, you know, with the Indio thing going on and grain and overseed and all those made it tough to really read the greens, but speed was pretty solid all week.

Q. David, the wire-to-wire win on any tour is a rarity. If you forgive me, I’m not that smart, but going through your 13 PGA TOUR wins, three previous Champions wins, I found only one previous example that you haven’t done it before, international, looked like in 1999. Missing any others there?

DAVID TOMS: I’d have to go back and look at it, I’m not like a big historian. I’ve seen like — I should probably pull — you know, take something from my past experience a little more than I do. I’m always like the here and now kind of guy and judging myself by how I’m playing now. So it is tough to win wire to wire because you had to come do this every day, talk to them about your round or what it’s going to be like the next day. Everybody kind of has — you’re kind of the target when you’re the front runner. After a good first round I kind of just held it together yesterday. I feel like I played pretty solid, I didn’t score well, but enough to keep the lead. Then you have to sleep on that and then you have all these guys chasing you that have won golf tournaments before, it makes it tough. It just makes you feel even better about when you get it done, especially the way I played the back nine gives me a lot of confidence moving forward.

Q. How much confidence did Tucson give you?

DAVID TOMS: Oh, I think that was huge. I think that carried over to the performance that you saw this week. Knowing that my good golf is good enough, that I don’t have to do anything special. If I can keep the ball in the fairway and hit good iron shots and feel confident on the greens, I’m going to have plenty of chances, plenty of opportunities. To win early in the season and then to do it again here, I don’t see why not, why can’t I ride this for a while and just see where it takes me.

Q. Are the goals the same as they were January 1?

DAVID TOMS: Well, I said earlier I’m trying — I’ve never really been part of the mix for the Schwab Cup and I think that’s why a lot of us play out here is to win tournaments and be a part of that season-long competition. This sets me up to be hopefully a part of that if I can just keep it going. I’ll have to win multiple more times, but there’s no reason why that couldn’t happen if I just keep my game in this type of shape.

Q. I think a lot of us were curious to see how PGA TOUR Champions would play it after 51 years of watching the LPGA play it. You obviously have bookend 65s, but I think pound for pound the Dinah held her own. Did you think that the course showed some teeth, and talking to your playing competitors, did you think that was the case?

DAVID TOMS: Absolutely. I mean, there were holes out there where you knew that par was a good score and then you had scoring opportunities as well and you had to take advantage of those. It was all about really — you didn’t necessarily have to get it in the fairway, which was very difficult because you had a lot of sloping fairways to get it in the fairway every time, but if you could keep it in between the trees so that you weren’t trying to shape shots out of the trees, you could play out of the rough. It was enough to where you had to think about it. You couldn’t spin the ball out of it, but you could make par out of it. I think on some of the hard holes, if you could just keep it in play. I heard some guys talking before the round today of a couple of disasters they had on the golf course, a couple of OBs and things like that. I was like, please don’t talk, please don’t talk like that, I’ve got to go out and play golf. But that was the key is not having the penalty strokes and keeping the ball in play.

Q. Obviously we have had a tournament here for all these years, two weeks later you all swoop in and take the golf course, which is great. Overall, I mean, does this feel like a higher grade of Champions event than maybe the regular events?

DAVID TOMS: Well, I think what you saw is you saw some good crowds out there, people interested. This is a great time of year to be here. A lot of us still live in places where the weather’s very unpredictable so it’s nice to be here. It certainly for me had a bigger feel to it than, say, when we used to come here to play what was then the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic because it was a different type of event. We had a lot of amateurs playing with us, celebrities, things like that. This felt like a really important event. We had a great sponsor and I think most guys will tell you the golf course is hard to get in any better condition than the golf course we played. So you put all that together and I think guys will continue to come back here. And the guys that didn’t come, they will be here just because the word will get out on what a nice event it was and how good the golf course held up.

CONNOR STANGE: All right. Thank you for joining us, David.

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