Watson wins Travelers Championship in playoff

By Associated PressJune 28, 2010, 2:33 am

CROMWELL, Conn. – Bubba Watson really wanted to play well at the Travelers Championship to impress U.S. Ryder Cup captain Corey Pavin.

He did.

Watson overcame a six-stroke deficit Sunday to force a playoff with Pavin and Scott Verplank, then beat Verplank with a par on the second playoff hole.

Watson, the long-hitting left-hander from the Florida Panhandle, closed with a 4-under 66 to match Verplank (64) and Pavin (66) at 14 under. Pavin dropped out on the first extra hole.

 After making a 3-footer on the par-3 16th to win, Watson hugged wife Angie and began crying. He said he was so nervous, he could not feel his arms on the final putt.

Bubba Watson
Bubba Watson hugs his caddie after his first PGA Tour win. (Getty Images)
“I’m a very emotional guy,” he said. “I cry all the time. When I go to church on Sunday, I cry at church. I couldn’t get the ‘Yes’ out of ‘I do’ at my wedding. The pastor said, ‘You got to say it. You can’t just nod. You can’t nod.’

“Everybody has issues. My family had some issues. My dad is battling cancer. My wife last year thought she had a tumor in her brain. We got lucky with that one, and now, we’re battling with my dad. It’s emotional.”

It was largest comeback on the tour since Padraig Harrington also came from six back to win the 2007 British Open.

Verplank left his tee shot short and left of the green on the second playoff hole and missed an 8-foot par putt. Watson, who had a 48-footer for birdie, was able to steady his nerves enough to get it close.

The 50-year-old Pavin, who was taking a break from the Champions Tour to scout players for the Ryder Cup, was eliminated on the first playoff hole after hitting his tee shot just 219 yards (101 yards shorter than Watson) and putting his approach into a bunker short of the 18th green. He chipped to 3 feet, earning a standing ovation.

“The playoff was a little disappointing to me,” he said. “I kind of popped up a three-wood there and left myself in a pretty precarious spot.”

“Now, it’s just time to go back and play with golfers my own age,” he added.

Justin Rose, coming off his first PGA Tour win this month at the Memorial, had a three-stroke lead entering the round. But the 29-year-old Englishman shot a 75 to tie for ninth at 11 under.

“It was obviously my tournament to lose,” Rose said. “I could have shot 1-over par today and won the golf tournament. It’s disappointing. It wasn’t overly difficult today.”

Watson almost won on the first playoff hole, hitting a sand wedge within an inch of the cup from 128 yards out.

But Verplank made an 8-foot birdie putt to extend the playoff.

Verplank started the day in 13th place, eight strokes behind Rose, while Pavin and Watson were both six back.

Verplank eagled the 13th and 15th holes to move into contention. But a birdie try on 17 lipped the cup.

“When I holed it on 15, I looked at the leaderboard, and I wasn’t that far back. I needed to birdie one of the last couple holes,” Verplank said.

The crowd began chanting “USA! USA!” after Pavin made a 32-foot birdie putt on 17 hole that broke sharply from left to right and put him into contention.

He said he wouldn’t himself on the Ryder Cup team, even if he had won.

“Being captain is pretty tough, just to do that,” he said. “Arnold Palmer was the last one to do that, and that was a different era, a different time. I wouldn’t have played.”

Watson had led briefly after four birdies on the back nine put him at 15 under. But he hit his tee shot on 17 into a bunker, and topped his second shot into the water on the way to a double bogey.

But he didn’t quit. He hit his tee shot 396 yards off the cart path, and made a 6-foot birdie putt to get into the playoff.

“I guess you can’t say I choked, because I came back and birdied the next hole and now I’m the champion,” he said.

No player in the first three groups made it into the playoff.

Rose held the lead until he missed a 10-foot par putt on 10th and moved into a three-way tie with playing partner Ben Curtis and Verplank.

Rose lost the lead after a bogey on the 12th hole, then hit his tee shot on 15 into the water on his way to another bogey.

Curtis, who bogeyed just two holes in the tournament coming into Sunday, hit his tee shot on 12 out of bounds to the left, and made a double bogey. Both he and Rose bogeyed 16. Curtis finished with a 73 to tie for 13th at 10 under.

Chris Riley began the day at 8 under, but eagled the par-4 14th from 155 yards and was 5 under on the back nine. He finished a stroke out of the playoff at 13 under.

“I bogeyed my first two holes and, I was like, ‘Ho, hum. Here we go,”’ he said. “I was in something like 45th place. What makes this course so great is you can make up ground.”

Watson ended Europe’s tour winning streak at three. Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell won the big prize last week at the U.S. Open. The Memorial was Rose’s first tour win, and fellow Englishman Lee Westwood won the St. Jude Classic.

Watson earned $1.08 million and moved into eighth place in the FedEx Cup rankings.

Getty Images

NCAA DI Women's Champ.: Scoring, TV times

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 22, 2018, 5:00 pm

The NCAA Division I Women's Golf Championship is underway at Kartsen Creek Golf Club in Stillwater, Okla.

After three days of stroke play, eight teams have advanced to the match-play portion of the championship. Quarterfinals and semifinals will be contested on Tuesday, with the finals being held on Wednesday. Golf Channel is airing the action live.

Wake Forest junior Jennifer Kupcho won the individual title. Click here for live action, beginning at 4 p.m. ET.

Scoring:

TV Times (all times ET):

Tuesday
11AM-conclusion: Match-play quarterfinals (Click here to watch live)
4-8PM: Match-play semifinals

Wednesday
4-8PM: Match-play finals

Getty Images

UCLA junior Vu named WGCA Player of the Year

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 22, 2018, 3:23 pm

UCLA junior Lilia Vu was named Player of the Year on Tuesday by the Women’s Golf Coaches Association (WGCA).

Vu recorded the lowest full-season scoring average (70.37) in UCLA history. Her four tournament wins tied the school record for most victories in a single season.

Vu was also named to the WGCA All-America first team. Here's a look at the other players who joined her on the prestigious list:

WGCA First Team All-Americans

  • Maria Fassi, Junior, University of Arkansas
  • Kristen Gillman, Sophomore, University of Alabama
  • Jillian Hollis, Junior, University of Georgia
  • Cheyenne Knight, Junior, University of Alabama
  • Jennifer Kupcho, Junior, Wake Forest University
  • Andrea Lee, Sophomore, Stanford University
  • Leona Maguire, Senior, Duke University
  • Sophia Schubert, Senior, University of Texas
  • Lauren Stephenson, Junior, University of Alabama
  • Maddie Szeryk, Senior, Texas A&M University
  • Patty Tavatanakit, Freshman, UCLA
  • Lilia Vu, Junior, UCLA
Chris Stroud and caddie Casey Clendenon Getty Images

Stroud's caddie wins annual PGA Tour caddie tournament

By Rex HoggardMay 22, 2018, 3:15 pm

Casey Clendenon, who caddies for Chris Stroud, won the gross division of the annual PGA Tour caddie tournament on Monday, shooting a 5-under 66 at Trinity Forest Golf Club, site of last week’s AT&T Byron Nelson.

Scott Tway (65), who caddies for Brian Harman, won the net division by two strokes over Wayne Birch, Troy Merritt’s caddie.

Kyle Bradley, Jonathan Byrd’s caddie, took second place with a 71 in the gross division.

The tournament was organized by the Association of Professional Tour Caddies, and proceeds from the event went to two charities. The APTC donated $20,000 to Greg Chalmers’ charity, MAXimumChances.org, which aids families living with autism. The association also donated $10,000 to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. 

Getty Images

Bjorn adds four Ryder Cup veterans as vice captains

By Will GrayMay 22, 2018, 1:05 pm

European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn has added a quartet of vice captains for the biennial matches this fall in Paris.

Bjorn had already named Robert Karlsson as his first assistant, and he announced Tuesday at the BMW PGA Championship that his group of advisors will also include major champions Padraig Harrington and Graeme McDowell, and former world No. 1s Lee Westwood and Luke Donald.

Westwood is among Europe's most decorated Ryder Cup players, and his addition in this role signals he likely won't participate as a player in the matches for the first time since 1995. The Englishman has spoken openly about his desire to captain the European squad at Whistling Straits in 2020, but he's been quiet on the course in recent months, with a missed secondary cut at the Houston Open his only start since mid-February.

Harrington is seen as another possible captain for the 2020 matches, and he'll don an earpiece for the third straight Ryder Cup, having represented Europe as a player on six straight teams from 1999-2010.

Donald played on four Ryder Cup teams from 2004-12, with the Europeans winning each time he was on the roster. This will mark his first stint as a vice captain, as Donald announced last month that he would be sidelined indefinitely while recovering from a back injury.

At age 38, McDowell will be the youngest vice captain in the room, having holed the winning putt eight years ago at Celtic Manor. He won the French Open in both 2013 and 2014 at Le Golf National, site of this year's matches, and will also be making his debut as a vice captain.