Brian Gay won the Humana Challenge at La Quinta, Calif., Sunday, beating Charles Howell III with a 5½-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 and Swedish rookie David Lingmerth at 25-under 263.
Howell shot a 64, and Lingmerth had a 62. Stallings, five strokes ahead entering the round, bogeyed the final hole for a 70 to miss the playoff by a stroke.
The 41-year-old Gay began the round six strokes behind Stallings.
‘‘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. I played great on the front, just tried to stay aggressive and shoot low.’’
Gay and Howell opened the playoff with birdies on the par-5 18th, 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 bogey.