Planet Golf — 15 May 2015 by GW staff and news services
Maggert playoff winner; first victory

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Jeff Maggert won the Regions Tradition on Sunday for his first Champions Tour major title, beating Kevin Sutherland with a 3-foot par putt on the first hole of a playoff.

Sutherland two-putted for bogey to set up Maggert for the winning shot on the 18th hole at Shoal Creek.

Maggert closed with an even-par 72 to match Sutherland at 14-under 274. Sutherland had a 71.

Maggert’s only previous Champions Tour win came at the Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic presented by C Spire last year in his first start on the Champions Tour. He won three times on the PGA TOUR, the last coming in 2006.

“This was a tournament I was looking forward to,” Maggert said. “I kind of pointed it out early in my schedule and kind of wanted to get my game in shape to come here and play. I love the golf course.

“Things just came together well.”

Sutherland had his second runner-up finish of the year.

Maggert won $345,000 and moved into the Charles Schwab Cup points lead after the first of five majors.

Sutherland’s tee shot on the playoff hole dropped into the left bunker a few feet from the lip and about 130 yards from the green. His next shot landed near fans lining the fairway and he was left needing a long putt to make par.

Sutherland said a nearly day-long struggle with his driver “reared its ugly head at the last moment and got underneath the lip of the bunker and didn’t have much of a play really. Couldn’t get it to the green.”

He said jitters weren’t a problem, though.

“I was as relaxed as you could possibly be,” Sutherland said. “I was much more relaxed on the 19th hole than I was on the first hole.”

Jeff Hart and Gene Sauers both finished with 69s to tie for third at 11 under, three shots back. Michael Allen (68), Bernhard Langer (70), two-time winner Tom Lehman (69) and defending champion Kenny Perry (70) were 9 under.

Both players parred the 18th hole the first time to force the playoff. Maggert needed to make a 3-footer to stay alive, similar to the one he missed on the previous hole.

It was a changeup after Maggert had birdied the final two holes each of the previous two days.

“I couldn’t buy a putt on the back nine and it was getting a little frustrating,” Maggert said. “I just rushed it a little bit probably on 17. I should have taken a little more time there. Then the little putt here on the last (hole) after missing a few of those on the back nine.”

Maggert’s the first 36-hole leader to hold on for the win at the tournament since Tom Watson in 2003.

Maggert and Sutherland traded birdies on No. 15 to remain deadlocked after jockeying for position the past two days and then set up similar tap-ins on 16.

Sutherland reclaimed the edge with an eagle on the par-5 third hole, while Maggert bogeyed for a three-stroke turnaround. He regrouped with a birdie on No. 6 while Sutherland had three bogeys on the first nine holes for a 1-over 32.

Hart, meanwhile, managed his first top-3 finish on the Champions Tour, having finished no better than 29th in his three previous events this season.

He extended his string without a bogey to 54 holes and finished with a birdie. Hart’s two bogeys was the fewest in a Tradition.

“At that point, I didn’t care where I finished,” Hart said. “But I didn’t want to blow the non-bogey string on the final hole.”

Sauers ended with back-to-back birdies. He has finished in the top three over the last two majors he’s played, losing a playoff to Colin Montgomerie in last year’s U.S. Senior Open Championship.

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