CROMWELL, Conn. — Harris English birdied the eighth hole of sudden death to win the Travelers Championship on Sunday, beating Kramer Hickok after both birdied the final hole of regulation to force the playoff.
It matched the second-longest sudden-death playoff in PGA TOUR history.
English shot a 5-under 65 to finish the fourth round at 13 under, then made a 5-foot putt on the seventh trip down the 18th hole of the day. Hickok had missed a 36-foot birdie putt and finished the playoff with eight consecutive pars.
The TOUR record for a sudden death playoff is 11 holes in the 1949 Motor City Open, when Lloyd Mangrum and Cary Middlecoff were declared co-winners by mutual agreement due to darkness; four other events have reached an eighth playoff hole.
The eight-hole playoff was a record for the tournament, which went 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 victory for English, who finished third at the U.S. Open last week — and fourth in the pandemic-delayed U.S. Open in September. He won $1,368,000 and 500 FedExCup points, moving into second in the standings.
English sank a 28-footer on the 72nd hole to emerge from a three-way tie and finish at 13 under. Then he headed to the range to stay warm in case Hickock, who was minus-12 with two holes to play, could catch him.
The 29-year-old Texan, who had never won on the PGA TOUR, couldn’t convert a 39-foot birdie putt on the 17th, but he knocked in a nine-footer for birdie on No. 18 to match English.
They played 18 again — twice — and parred it again — twice. On to No. 17, then 18, then 17, then 18, then 18 again: All pars. Hickok lipped out on two long birdie putts that would have won it; on the sixth playoff hole, English missed a seven-foot birdie putt to win.
On the final trip down the 438-yard par 4, Hickok put his second shot 28 feet from the pin and two-putted. English landed his approach 16 feet away and made birdie.
Hickok has never won on the PGA TOUR. The second-place finish was his best ever, topping a tie for eighth in the 2018 Bermuda Championship that was his only other time in the top 10.
Four players were tied at 12 under after Bubba Watson bogeyed the 14th. But the three-time Travelers winner played the last five holes at six over to drop out of the chase.
“I’m glad that I was there, had the opportunity,” Watson said. “You know, I would love to do it again next week, throw up on myself again. It would it be great. I want to the opportunity and the chance to win.”
Watson’s collapse left Hickok — his 54-hole co-leader —- on top at 12 under with English and Marc Leishman, who had finished his round with a 64 two hours earlier.
English finished the fourth round birdie-bogey-birdie, skipping after the ball and pumping his fist after the final hole of regulation. Hickok’s celebration was even more emphatic.
But there was still a playoff to come.
Leishman won the tournament in 2012, shooting a 62 on Sunday to come from six strokes behind and earn his first career victory on TOUR. This year, he shot 64 in the final round and was the leader in the clubhouse for several hours at 12 under but settled for third.
With plenty of low scores Sunday and all of the leaders still on the course, he sensed it wasn’t enough.
“Nice to make a run and be around the lead,” said Leishman, who did head out to the range to warm up before English took his place. “Not holding my breath, but I won’t be going anywhere.”
Abraham Ancer (65) was fourth at minus-11. Kevin Kisner had his second 63 of the tournament — along with a 70 and a 74 — to tie for fifth at 10 under with Brooks Koepka (65) and three others.
A top-five finish would have moved Dustin Johnson back to the No. 1 spot in the world. But the defending champion shot 71 on Sunday to tied for 25th at 6 under.
CROMWELL, Conn. — Satoshi Kodaira and Kramer Hickok each shot a PGA TOUR career-best 7-under 63 to share the first-round lead Thursday in the Travelers Championship.
Talor Gooch was a stroke behind Hickok after the morning rounds. Kodaira took the lead at 8 under in the afternoon after making the turn onto the front nine birdie-eagle-birdie, but a bogey on the par-3 eighth dropped him back into a tie with Hickok.
Defending champion Dustin Johnson, who held the world No. 1 ranking until Jon Rahm passed him Sunday with his U.S. Open victory, stumbled at the start with a bogey on the second hole and then a double on No. 3. He finished with a pair of birdies to end the day at 70 at TPC River Highlands.
Two-time Travelers champion Phil Mickelson sank a 64-foot putt for birdie on the par-4 ninth hole — his second-longest putt since the TOUR began tracking such things in 2004. The 2001 and ’02 winner then made a 40-footer for par on No. 10.
“That long birdie putt, it’s just a bonus. You’re just trying to lag it up there close and it just felt in,” Mickelson said. “Same thing on 10, after making a mistake and having that long par putt. To make it was a nice little boost. Unfortunately, I didn’t advantage of that on the back nine.”
Micklelson was 1 over on the back in a 69.
“I let a good opportunity go after playing the front nine a couple under,” he said. “I was very close to hitting a lot of really good shots but they were just fractionally off.”
Kodaira’s 63 matched his best score on the PGA TOUR, from the second round of the 2018 RBC Heritage — his only victory. He was helped when he holed out from the fairway for an eagle on the 348-yard, par-4 second hole.
“I knew it was on target but didn’t see it go in,” he said. “I heard the applause, so I knew it went in.”
Hickok’s top finish is a tie for eighth at the Bermuda Championship this year. He opened with a bogey on the par-4 10th hole, then rattled off eight birdies without dropping another stroke the rest of the way.
He missed a 5-foot birdie putt on the 13th hole, but then birdied five of the next seven holes and he played the last four of the day in three under.
“I really only hit one bad putt — on the par-5 13th. Other than that, I just felt like the holes looked awfully big today,” he said. “I made a lot of good putts today, and the greens says are rolling so good that just the holes look big.”
Hickok said he had his worst warmup session of the year in the morning, spraying the ball all over the range.
“So I really changed my strategy,” he said. “You just take a lot weight off your shoulders and you just go and simplify things … just saying, ‘I don’t have that shot today. I’m not going to try and hit it.’ Just go with what you got.”