TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Seminoles.com) – Former Seminole golfer Daniel Berger recorded his first PGA Tour victory on Sunday evening as he shot 13-under (67-64-69-67) to win the FedEx St. Jude Classic held at TPC Southwind Golf Course in Memphis, Tenn.
In addition to Berger finishing first and earning a winner’s share of $1.116 million, fellow Seminole Brooks Koepka tied for second place with a solid score of 10-under, sharing the runner-up spot with Phil Mickelson and Steve Stricker.
While at Florida State in 2012 and 2013, Berger was a first-team All-American named by Golfweek and the Golf Coaches Association of America. The Plantation, Fla., native’s average score of 69.79 in 2012-13 continues to be a school record, as well as his impressive -1.31 average vs. par.
“It’s the greatest feeling,” Berger said right after his first PGA Tour win. “You work so hard to get here and to finally be able to put that trophy up…I can’t describe it.”
The PGA Tour win by Berger marks the 50th by a former FSU golfer. Hubert Green leads the way with 19 victories, followed by Paul Azinger (12 wins), Jeff Sluman (6), Nolan Henke (3), Kenny Knox (3), George McNeil (2), Jonas Blixt (2), Koepka (1), Berger (1) and Richie Karl (1).
“I had no doubt (Daniel) was going to win but you never know when,” FSU head coach Trey Jones said. “Every challenge he meets he elevates his game. I look for Daniel to make a strong push to be on the Ryder Cup team.”
A Seminole has now won a PGA Tour event in each of the last two years. In addition to Berger’s victory, Koepka earned his first tour win at the 2015 Waste Management Open at TPC Scottsdale. For the FSU Men’s Golf program, the 50 PGA Tour wins combined with the 11 Champions Tour wins mark 61 professional victories overall.
Berger tied for 10th at The Masters earlier this year to earn exemption into next year’s tournament. Prior to Sunday’s win, his best finish on tour was when he recorded two runner-up finishes in 2015. At the Honda Classic he placed second in a playoff played right near home in Palm Beach Gardens, and he was also runner-up at the BMW Championship.
The CBS analysts were impressed by Berger’s composure as well-known veterans including Dustin Johnson (-9), Mickelson and Stricker pushed him toward the very end. When asked how he was able to keep himself in check down the stretch, he credited his family upbringing, which includes his father and former tennis pro Jay Berger.
“(I think) having a family with a background in athletics,” Berger said. “I’m a competitor. I got off to a terrible start and grinded it out. I’m thrilled right now.”
The U.S. Open held at difficult Oakmont Country Club in Pennsylvania begins this Thursday.