“It’s tough to stay mentally in it,” English said on Sunday after winning an eight-hole playoff – tied for the second longest sudden death in PGA Tour history – to beat Kramer Hickok and win the championship travellers.
“Hats off to him for a good fight,” said English, who fired an under-65 shot to finish at 13 yards, then had seven pars in the playoffs before hitting a 16-foot birdie putt for the. victory. both joked that someone has to birdie someday. I have had this putt several times, and I finally read it correctly. “
Both players birdied the final hole of regulation to force the playoffs, which is right after the sudden death of 11 holes in the 1949 Motor City Open, when Lloyd Mangrum and Cary Middlecoff were declared co- winners by mutual agreement due to obscurity. Four other events reached an eighth sudden death hole.
The eight-hole playoffs were a record for the tournament, which lasted seven holes in 1961 (Ted Kroll) and again in 62 (Bob Goalby), when it was known as the Insurance City Open.
It was the second win this year and the fourth career win for English, who finished third at the US Open last week – and fourth at the pandemic-delayed US Open in September. He won $ 1,368,000 and 500 FedEx Cup points, moving up to second place in the standings.
The Englishman sank 28 feet on the 72nd hole to break out of a tie at three and finish 13 under. Then he headed over to the pit to stay warm in case Hickok, who was under-12 with two holes to play, could catch up with him.
The 29-year-old Texan, who had never won on the PGA Tour, was unable to convert a 39-foot birdie putt on the 17th, but he did hit a 9-foot birdie on the No.18 to tie the ‘English.
They replayed 18 – twice – and did it again – twice. Go to n ° 17, then 18, then 17, then 18, then again 18: All par. Hickok landed two long birdie putts that would have won him; on the sixth hole of the playoffs, English missed a 7-foot birdie putt to win.
The crowd at the 18th green chanted “Kramer! And made the wave while waiting for the golfers to make their way to the tee. On the last trip over the 438-yard par-4 – their seventh of the day and 10th of the weekend – Hickok put his second shot 28 feet from the pin and landed two putts.
English landed his approach at 16 feet and birdie.
“I don’t know how much he’s gone,” English said afterward. “It was amazing. What an experience, and the fans were awesome. They are always great here in Hartford, and happy that we were able to give them a little show at the end. “
Hickok has never won on the PGA Tour. Second place was his best ever, passing a tie for eighth at the 2018 Bermuda Championship, which was his only other time in the top 10.
“I learned that I belong,” said Hickok, who was joined after the tour by his wife and puppy, Elvis. “It was a huge learning experience for me. “
Four players were tied at under 12 after Bubba Watson missed the 14th. But the three-time winner of the Travelers played the last five holes at 6 to abandon the race.
“I’m glad I was there, that I had the opportunity,” Watson said. “You know I’d love to do it again next week, throw up on myself again.” That would be great. I want the opportunity and the chance to win. “
Watson’s collapse left Hickok – his 54-hole co-leader – in the lead at 12 under with English and Marc Leishman, who had finished his lap with a 64 two hours earlier.
The Englishman completed the birdie-bogey-birdie round four, jumping after the ball and pumping his fist after the last regulation hole. Hickok’s celebration was even more emphatic.
But there was still a playoff to come.
“I never thought I would play 27 holes today,” Hickok said. I was just trying to put as much pressure on him as possible. He was trying to do the same. I put him in awkward places, he put me in too, and he came out on top today, and he’s a real champion. “
Leishman won the tournament in 2012, shooting a 62 on Sunday to come back 6 shots behind for his first career victory on the Tour. This year, he shot 64 in the final round and was the clubhouse leader for several hours at under 12, but settled for third place.
With many low scores on Sunday and all the leaders still on the course, he felt that was not enough.
“It’s good to do a race and be in the lead,” said Leishman, who headed for the range to warm up before English took his place.
Abraham Ancer (65) was fourth with minus-11. Kevin Kisner had his second 63 of the tournament – with a 70 and a 74 – to place fifth at 10 under with Brooks Koepka (65) and three others.
A top 5 would have brought Dustin Johnson back to first place in the world. But the defending champion shot 71 on Sunday to tie for 25th at 6 under.