HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. – Brian Davis called a two-stroke penalty on himself on the first playoff hole Sunday to give Jim Furyk a victory at the Verizon Heritage.
Davis, an Englishman who’s never won on the PGA Tour, used a birdie on the 72nd hole to force the extra hole. However, Davis’ approach rolled off the green of the lighthouse hole and into some rocks.
As Davis attempted to chip on, his wedge moved a loose reed in the marshy area. Davis quickly called for a rules official, who after calling colleagues to check the replay, confirmed the penalty.
“I thought I saw movement,” Davis said. “It’s a disappointment.”
Davis conceded to Furyk before the world’s sixth-ranked player putted out.
Furyk shot a 69 to finish at 13-under 271. The victory was his 15th PGA Tour win and second since March, earning him $1.026 million.
Furyk was also disappointed the splendid duel between he and Davis at the end was spoiled by a rules violation.
“To have the tournament come down that way is definitely not the way I wanted to win,” Furyk said. “It’s obviously a tough loss for him and I respect and admire what he did.”
Davis nearly won in regulation, his approach to his final hole scaring the cup before settling 18 feet away. His birdie putt had just enough steam to drop in and force the extra hole.
Instead of riding that momentum into the playoff, his second shot rolled off the side toward Calibogue Sound and rattled around the rocks before stopping on some hard-packed sand.
That’s when Davis ended the drama with his self-imposed violation, something inconceivable in most other sports, where competitors take pride in getting every edge they can.
Slugger White, the PGA Tour’s tournament director who administrated the penalty, said Davis’ actions were classy and appropriate for a sport based on honor. White said Furyk came to Davis after and asked he was sure it was a penalty. “I know I did it,” White recalled Davis’ response, “and I couldn’t live with myself if I didn’t.”
Davis finished second for the fourth time since joining the PGA Tour in 2004.
He held a one-shot lead over Furyk with four holes left when things began to go wrong. Davis had back-to-back bogeys on the 15th and 16th holes to slip behind the ultra-steady Furyk.
Furyk has also posted two seconds and a fourth since 2005 at Harbour Town.
Davis shot a 68 and, like Furyk, ended with four rounds in the 60s.
Bo Van Pelt (69) and Luke Donald (70) were two shots further back in third.
Camilo Villegas (70) headed a group another stroke behind.
The final round wasn’t nearly as crazy as the third – Furyk still had the lead when he teed off on No. 1 unlike Saturday. Still, the charge was on to go as low as possible and take control.
Slocum, two behind at the start, had birdies on the second, fourth and six holes to catch Furyk.
Former champion Aaron Baddeley tied Furyk at 11 under. But a triple-bogey 7 on No. 8 – Baddeley drove out of bounds – ended his chance of a second title.
By the middle of the back nine, it was down to Furyk and Davis.
Furyk missed a 15-foot par putt on the 10th to drop into a tie with Davis, his playing partner.
The world’s sixth-ranked player moved back in front two holes later with 5-footer for birdie. However, Davis caught him once more on the 13th hole after making a 12-foot birdie putt and Furyk failing to covert one from half that distance.
Davis moved in front on the par-3 14th when Furyk landed over the green, chipped 12 feet past the cup and was short on his attempt at par.
But things were again tied a hole later, as Davis didn’t make a 6-foot putt to save par, setting the dramatic finish.
DIVOTS: Brian Gay, the 2009 Verizon Heritage champion, finished this tournament at 4-under 280, 16 shots more than his record winning total of a year ago. … Five-time Verizon winner Davis Love III ended with a 76 for a 5-over 289. That tied for his highest score ever at Harbour Town that Love shot in 1986, his first appearance here.