Ken Duke wins on second playoff hole

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Ken Duke waited 19 years for his first PGA Tour win. What was a couple of more holes?

Duke won the Travelers Championship with a birdie on the second playoff hole, his first win in 187 tournaments since turning pro in 1994.

Duke, 44, withstood Chris Stroud’s 51-foot chip-in on 18 and a visit to the rough off the tee on the first playoff hole. He and Stroud, whose approach landed in a bunker, parred the first playoff hole.

On the second hole, Duke stuck a sand wedge from 117 yards to within two feet of the pin. After Stroud just missed a long birdie putt, Duke finished it off.

Duke turned pro in 1994 but won for the first time in 187 tournaments. He had finished second three times. Stroud, 31, making his 184th start, finished in the top three for the first time.

Fairfield’s J.J. Henry, who won this tournament in 2006, tied for fifth, three shots out of the playoff. He was briefly part of a five-way tie for the lead before Duke and Bubba Watson jumped ahead.

A bogey on 17 ended Henry’s chances, but he still posted his best finish of the year.

Watson, the 2010 champion, had a one-shot lead at 13-under going to 16, but he triple-bogeyed the hole and finished fourth at 10-under, two shots behind Duke and Stroud. Graham DeLaet birdied 18 to take third.

Duke shot a 4-under-par 66 Sunday to take the lead. Stroud’s second shot on 18 went over the green, but he chipped in for a 3-under 67.

Watson eventually took the outright lead with a birdie at 15 before hitting his tee shot in the water on 16. After a drop, he hit his second shot long, chipped on and two-putted to fall back.

Duke looked to be in trouble on No. 10 as his approach headed left of the green. The ball hit a tree and caromed onto the green, five feet from the pin. Duke made the putt to reach 10-under for the first time Sunday.

A birdie on 11 put him ahead again.

Categories: General
Michael Fornabaio

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