SAMMAMISH, Wash. – Kevin Penner birdied the 72nd hole to get into a three-way playoff with Chris Williams and Ben Geyer, then birdied the first playoff hole to win the 19th Sahalee Players Championship at Sahalee Country Club.
The three competitors played the 535-yard 18th hole in the playoff, and all three were on the green in regulation. After Williams, of Moscow, Idaho, missed his 21-foot birdie attempt, Penner, a rising senior at UNLV from Sammamish, sank his 6-footer for birdie. That put the pressure on Geyer, of Arbuckle, Calif., who saw his 4-foot try slide past the hole. This is the first playoff in the championship since Kyle Stanley won a four-way playoff in 2006.
Playing in the final group of the day with Williams and standing on the tee of the 535-yard par-5 18th tee during regulation, Penner was two shots behind leader Williams, a rising senior at Washington, and a shot behind Geyer, a recent St. Mary’s (Calif.) graduate who was in the clubhouse at 9 under for the tournament after firing a blistering final-round 6-under 66. “It was pretty clear what I had to do,” Penner said. The big-hitting Penner hit his tee shot 40 yards past his playing partners, then rifled a long iron from 210 yards to the center of the green and two-putted for a birdie and the tie.
Meanwhile, Penner watched as Williams pulled his own drive into the left fairway bunker. “That was probably my worst shot of the week,” Williams said. His ball was under the lip of the bunker, and he had to blast out with a wedge, leaving himself 210 yards for his third shot, which he then pulled into the left greenside bunker. “I mucked the hole up,” he said, eventually making bogey to fall into a tie with Geyer and Penner.
“I didn’t expect Williams to bogey that hole,” Penner said. “I really thought I needed to eagle it. It was a weird round for me. I felt in control of my game, but nothing really was happening.”