Skip to main content

Sluman Slays Playoff Demons

Jeff Sluman first earned his PGA Tour card in 1982, only to lose it the following season. In 84, he was quickly forgotten, invited to play in just one event ' the B.C. Open.
He still carries a money clip commemorating that tournament. It reminds him of where he once was, and who was there with him.
Thats what makes his victory this week in Endicott, N.Y. his most emotional; that, and the fact that he finally prevailed in a playoff.
Free Video - Registration Required Sluman comments on his first playoff win
Despite blowing a two-shot lead on the 72nd hole, Sluman defeated Paul Gow on the second extra hole to win the 31st B.C. Open.
Sluman pocketed $360,000 for his first win of the season. He lost in a six-way playoff earlier in the year at the Nissan Open.
I got off the schneid, joked Sluman, who entered the playoff stymied with an 0-6 career record. 'I've lost them in one-man, two-man, six-man playoffs, just about everything.'
For the second straight week, Sluman started the final round with at least a share of the lead. Last week, he failed to convert his advantage into victory at the Greater Milwaukee Open.
This week proved to be different.
Sluman, who was born three hours from the En-Joie Golf Club, shared the overall lead with Gow and Jonathan Kaye at 19-under on the back nine. Kaye, who held sole possession of the lead at one point on Sunday, played his final nine holes in even par to shoot 67 and finish in third place.
Playing in the final twosome, Gow and Sluman were tied at 22-under heading to the par-3 17th. Sluman made birdie, while Gow carded a bogey-4.
Leading by two with one to play, Sluman missed the green with his approach shot on the par-4 18th. Meanwhile, the 30-year-old Australian kept alive his chances by spinning his second shot to within two feet of the hole.
Sluman pitched to eight feet and could have ended the event in regulation, but failed to save par. Gow made his short birdie putt to force sudden death.
The two finished 72 holes at 22-under 266.
After both men parred the first playoff hole, Gow hit his tee shot on the par-4 18th into the tree-lined right rough; however, his ball ricocheted off a tree and dead left into a concrete, water-filled ditch.
With his ball nestled halfway in the running stream, Gow decided to play from the hazard. He successfully advanced his ball some 80 yards and then placed his third shot within 15 feet of the hole.
Sluman went the more traditional route, finding the fairway and the green in two shots. When Gow missed his par save, Sluman confidently sank his birdie effort from 15 feet to win his fifth career tour title.
'I learned lot of things, that I can play and compete against these guys. I matched with one of the best players of the world all day. It was great fun.'
News, Notes and Numbers
*Ty Tryon, the high school junior from Orlando, Fla., shot a final-round 2-under-par 70 to finish in a tie for 37th place at 9-under. The 17-year-old opened in 65 to earn a share of the first-round lead. He closed with rounds of 72-72-70. This was Tryons second PGA Tour start. He tied for 39th at the Honda Classic in March.
*After shooting 62 to claim a three-stroke lead through two rounds, Brett Quigley shot back-to-back 72s to finish tied for 8th at 15-under.
*Bobby Wadkins, playing in his final PGA Tour event before becoming eligible for the Senior Tour, finished at 7-under 288. Wadkins, who turns 50 on Thursday, has never won since joining the tour in 1975.
Full-filled scores from the B.C. Open