LA QUINTA, Calif. (AP) -- Adam Long bounced around golf's backwoods for years, winning only a lone Hooters Tour event. Now, he's headed to the Masters as a PGA Tour winner.
Long, a former Duke University golfer who graduated in 2010, won the Desert Classic on Sunday at PGA West, beating Hall of Famer Phil Mickelson and Adam Hadwin by a stroke with a 14-foot birdie putt on the final hole after a 6-iron approach from an awkward stance.
"In some ways it's been a little bit of a roller-coaster, but it's been a steady improvement throughout my career," Long said. "I've played in pretty much most tours around the world that there are and just kind of steadily progressed.
"It kind of can seem like it came out of nowhere, but my game's been trending in the right direction for really the last two years now."
Long closed with a 7-under 65 on the Stadium Course, holing the winning putt after Mickelson's 40-foot birdie try curled left at the end.
"I got a pretty good read off Phil's putt," Long said. "It was one of those putts that you just stand over you just know you're going to make. And you can't control that, but when you have that feeling it's a good one. I'm in pretty disbelief right now. I don't really know what happened."
Mickelson, the leader after each of the first three rounds, shot 69.
"I had a terrible putting day -- one of the worst I can recall in a while," Mickelson said. "Started right on the first hole with a little 4-footer uphill and three-putting that green. And I missed a bunch of short ones on the front and some birdie opportunities, but it felt awful with the putter. I hit a lot of good shots today, but just couldn't get the ball to go in the hole."
Long set up with the winning putt with the 6-iron approach from 175 yards with the ball below his feet in dormant grass on a mound to the right of the fairway.
The 31-year-old former Blue Devil earned his PGA Tour card with a 13th-place finish last year on the Web.com Tour's regular-season money list. In five previous PGA Tour starts, he had made only one cut -- a tie for 63rd in October in the Safeway Open.