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Duke - Finally - Collects First PGA Tour Win
Ken Duke birdied the second sudden-death playoff hole to edge Chris Stroud and win the Travelers Championship for his first-ever title on the PGA Tour. The $6.1 million event took place at TPC River Highlands in Cromwell, Conn.
After closing with a 4-under 66 to finish at 12-under 268 and tie Stroud (67) in regulation, the players returned to the par-4 18th hole. Stroud matched the 72-hole score of the 44-year-old Duke after chipping in for birdie from behind the 18th green to loud cheers.
Both managed pars on the first overtime hole - also the 18th - and returned to the same hole for a second time. Duke hit a beautiful approach to 2-and-a-half feet, and made the birdie putt for his maiden victory, which was worth $1.08 million, 500 FedEx Cup points, a two-year Tour exemption, and an automatic invitation to next year's Masters.
"It's been a long wait," an exultant Duke said at greenside. "I've worked hard . . . I've knocked on the door a lot and here we are." He becomes the oldest first-time winner on the PGA Tour since Ed Dougherty, who was 47 when he won the Deposit Guaranty Classic in 1995.
Canada's Graham DeLaet, who began the final round tied for the lead with Bubba Watson and Charley Hoffman, ended up in solo third a stroke out of the playoff.
Watson had a good opportunity for either an outright win or a spot in the playoff. After making the turn in even-par 35, the 2012 Masters' champion birdied three of the first six holes on the back nine to take the lead.
But the 2010 Travelers winner splashed his tee shot on the par-3 16th and carded a triple-bogey six to end his chances. Watson ended up in fourth at 270.
Sharing fifth at 271 were Webb Simpson (65) and J.J. Henry (68), while another stroke back were Ryan Moore (68) and Hoffman, who closed with a 72.
Tied for ninth at 273 were Argentina's Angel Cabrera, who fired Sunday's low round - a 7-under 63, Aussie Stuart Appleby (68), Morgan Hoffman (68) and Jeff Maggert (68).
Rickie Fowler fired a 64 to take a share of 13th at 274 with Brendan Steele (66), Ricky Barnes (68), Scotland's Russell Knox (69) and reigning U.S. Open champion Justin Rose (69).
Starting the final round only four strokes out of the lead, amateur Justin Thomas, a University of Alabama player, closed with a 73 to fall into a tie for 30th at 3-under 277. Also at that number was Chris Williams, the former University of Washington All-American and 2013 Ben Hogan Award winner who turned pro last week. Williams shot a 69 Sunday.
For all the scores, visit http://www.pgatour.com/leaderboard.html.