On a cool Sunday afternoon under rainy skies, Bubba Watson did what he does well – win playoffs. The magician at moving the ball made a birdie putt of 8 feet on the second hole of his playoff with Paul Casey to win the Travelers Championship.
The win was Watson’s second at the Travelers and improved his record in playoffs to 5-1. In light rain, Casey was down three strokes with just five to play before tying Watson at 16-under at the TPC River Highlands.
However, the Englishman, playing in this tournament for just the first time, hit his greenside bunker shot over the 18th green and landed on a cart path. That shot came after Watson had stuck his approach shot from 160 yards to just 8 feet from the pin to set up the winning putt.
It was the worst shot Casey played throughout the day.
Watson needed a playoff in November to win the WGC-HSBC Champions played in China to begin the season. He also won the Travelers back in 2010 for his first PGA Tour win, in a three-way playoff.
Watson had his chance to win during regulation, but bogeyed No. 17 while Casey recorded three birdies over his final five holes to tie Watson after 72 holes.
Casey finished before Watson and watched the American from the scoring trailer while playing with Lex, his 9-month old son. Watson finished his round on Sunday with a 67, while Casey carded a 65.
Casey accomplished a lot with the finish, including regaining confidence and a place in the final groups coming down the stretch in PGA Tour events.
This tournament is becoming known for its playoffs. Since 2004, the Travelers has gone to extra holes on six occasions including Sunday.
Starting the day with a one stroke lead, Brian Harman was only able to record a final round 69 to finish one stroke behind both Watson and Casey. After 39 consecutive holes without recording a bogey, Harman stumbled at No. 9 and 10 with two straight bogeys.
He ended the round with two straight birdies, but ended one stroke shy of both Watson and Casey. His third place finished assured the native of Georgia a place in the Open Championship.
Graham DeLaet, a Canadian, was two shots back in fourth. Luke Donald and Carl Pettersen also qualified for the Open Championship with their strong performances and world ranking.
The Travelers was the first PGA Tour event of three where finishers that have not yet been exempt can qualify for the field at St. Andrews. Four spots will be up for grabs at The Greenbrier Classic and one the following week at the John Deere Classic.