Golf Asia

TRAVELERS CHAMPIONSH­IP

English Emerges Victorious From Eight-hole Playoff

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A20-foot birdie putt on the eighth playoff hole was what it took for Harris English to defeat fellow American Kramer Hickok and win the US PGA Travelers Championsh­ip.

The intense drama matched the second-longest playoff in US PGA history as each player delivered seven playoff pars before English capped the spectacle in the twilight for his fourth career tour title.

“This was awesome,” English said. “The fans were keeping us in it. Hats off to Kramer. What a competitor. We were

grinding out there, making those six- and seven-footers. That was incredible. What an experience.”

Hickok, ranked 331st, sank a birdie putt from just inside nine feet on the 18th hole in regulation to shoot a three-under par 67 and match English on 13-under 267 after 72 holes at TPC River Highlands in Cromwell, Connecticu­t.

“It was just a hard-fought battle out there,” said Hickok, who was denied his first PGA title. “He battled so hard. There were times I put him in a tough spot, he put me in a tough spot, and he came out on top. He’s a true champion. It was just a tremendous day.“

Playing the 18th for the fourth time and as the sixth extra hole, English blasted from a fairway bunker to just outside six feet of the cup while Hickok’s approach went just off the green. Hickok rolled his putt 20 feet past the hole but made the comeback putt for par as the crowd roared and chanted his name. Missing a birdie putt for the win, English tapped in to extend the drama to a seventh playoff hole from the 18th tee.

English’s two-putt from 25 feet was matched by Hickok from 17 feet for par, setting up an eighth extra hole.

This time, Hickok two-putted from 22 feet and English had a 20-foot birdie putt to win, which he sank, sparking a right fist pump in celebratio­n and ending the longest playoff in nine years.

“It wasn’t pretty but we had quite a fight,” English said. “It’s validation for me. I’ve been doing the right stuff. Came in this week with a lot of confidence. Nice to finish it off.”

The only longer playoff in PGA history was an 11-holer at the 1949 Motor City Open that was halted by darkness with Cary Middlecoff and Lloyd Mangrum declared co-champions.

Two-time Masters champion Bubba Watson was a contender for his fourth career Travelers title until closing with four bogeys and a double bogey to shoot 73 for a share of 19th place.

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