Third-round co-leaders Graham DeLaet, Charley Hoffman and Bubba Watson were passed Sunday by Ken Duke and Chris Stroud, who dueled in a playoff as each sought his first PGA Tour win at the Travelers Championship.
Duke –- a veteran of 19 professional seasons -– emerged victorious with a birdie on the second playoff hole on a sunny day at TPC River Highlands in Cromwell, Conn.
Here are 5 Things to Know from the Travelers Championship:
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1. DUKE'S DART: Well back of Chris Stroud in the fairway on the second playoff hole, Duke nonetheless took dead aim at the bunker-guarded pin with his approach on No. 18.
It was dead-on, clearing the sand and settling inside 3 feet.
Stroud reached the green from the fairway, but was left with a long birdie putt; his effort on the green would have made for a good lag putt, just missing low, but with Duke at can't-miss range he needed to make it.
Duke seemingly took a moment to collect himself while reading the short putt, then rolled it in for the win. He had won twice on the Web.com Tour and earned three runner-up finishes on the PGA Tour.
Duke had gotten ...
Ken Duke, 44, applied the pressure at the turn and never looked back, holding off Chris Stroud on the second hole of a playoff to win his first PGA Tour title on Sunday at the Travelers Championship.
Duke fired a 4-under 66 to vault past Bubba Watson over the final nine holes -- with Watson helping with a triple-bogey 6 at the par-3 16th -- and then hitting his approach shot at No. 18 to 2 feet on the second hole of the playoff.
Stroud forced the playoff with a dramatic chip-in birdie on No. 18 to tie Duke at 12 under in regulation.
See how it all unfolded on Sunday:
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Update No. 33: 6:20 p.m. EDT
PLAYOFF, SECOND HOLE: PAR-4 18TH
• Off the tee: Another bomb here for Chris Stroud, leaving another sand wedge. Ken Duke finds the fairway, coming up just short of the cart path that runs across the fairway.
• Approach shot: Ken Duke applies the pressure here, landing his less than 2 feet from the hole. Stroud hits a solid shot, but will have 20 feet for birdie. A likely must-make.
• On the green: Stroud gives it a chance, but his birdie putt slides by on ...
Low numbers returned Saturday at the Travelers Championship. But unfortunately for the players in the top two groups, red numbers didn't come their way.
Second-round leader Bubba Watson shot even-par 70 in his third round at TPC River Highlands while his playing competitor Patrick Reed carded a 73. The players in the penultimate group, Padraig Harrington and Tag Ridings, combined to shoot 3 over.
Watson enters Sunday in a three-way tie for the lead at 10 under alongside Charley Hoffman, who shot 66, and Graham DeLaet, who equaled the best score of the day with a 65.
We kept you posted on the top developments during Saturday's third round at TPC River Highlands in Cromwell, Conn.
See how it all unfolded:
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Update No. 19: 5:39 p.m. EDT
Bubba Watson has lost his outright lead after a bogey at the par-4 17th. That's three bogeys in his last five holes. Watson is now tied for the lead with Graham DeLaet and Charley Hoffman at 10 under. The four players in the last two groups (Watson, Patrick Reed, Padraig Harrington and Tag Ridings) are a combined 8 over today.
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Update No. 18: 5:23 p.m. EDT ...
CROMWELL, Conn. – All things relative, of course. We’re not talking Merion and the 2013 U.S. Open tough, nor suggesting that TPC River Highlands flashed vicious fangs Friday.
But, it wasn’t exactly the soft touch it was Thursday.
“It was totally different,” said Webb Simpson, who shot 65 Thursday morning and barely broke a sweat, but shot 69 Friday afternoon when he tried to keep it together coming in.
With winds picking up and greens firming up, “it was hard to know what shape you wanted to hit (your shot),” said Padraig Harrington.
Harrington (66-66) and Brendon de Jonge (67-67) are the only names among the top 11 on the leaderboard who at least matched their score from Thursday afternoon when they went out Friday afternoon. Hunter Mahan, for instance, backed up his opening-morning 62 with a 71 in the tricky Friday afternoon winds, and Simpson was four strokes higher.
No surprise, but of those who went out in gentle conditions Thursday afternoon and again Friday morning, Bubba Watson took the greatest advantage. With a 63-67 to get to 10-under 130, Watson – who won here in 2007 – leads Patrick Reed (66-66) and Harrington by two, while a four-way ...
Leader Bubba Watson will bring up the rear of the pack Saturday alongside Patrick Reed, with Padraig Harrington and Tag Ridings in the group ahead for the third round of the Travelers Championship.
Other top groups Saturday will include first-round leader Charley Hoffman alongside Hunter Mahan. The two shot 61 and 62 in the opening round followed by 73 and 71, respectively, putting Mahan T-4 and Hoffman T-8. Keegan Bradley and Webb Simpson will be in the group ahead of them.
Reigning U.S. Open champ Justin Rose tees off at 12:45 p.m. alongside J.J. Henry, both T-12, while 2013 Masters runner-up Angel Cabrera tees off at 9:33 a.m. alongside Andres Romero, both T-53.
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Complete tee times and pairings for the third round of the Travelers Championship (all times EDT):
1:55 p.m.: Bubba Watson, Patrick Reed
1:45 p.m.: Padraig Harrington, Tag Ridings
1:35 p.m.: Nick O’Hern, Tommy Gainey
1:25 p.m.: Hunter Mahan, Charley Hoffman
1:15 p.m.: Keegan Bradley, Webb Simpson
1:05 p.m.: Brendon de Jonge, Ricky Barnes
12:55 p.m.: Graham DeLaet, William McGirt
12:45 p.m.: J.J. Henry ...
Jeff Rude’s “Hate To Be Rude” column appears on Golfweek.com on Wednesday.
Tiger Woods grimaced several times after hitting shots during the first rounds of the U.S. Open, his left elbow obviously causing him some pain. Woods, though, guarded the elbow diagnosis as if it were a CIA secret.
He said Wednesday that he won’t play in the June 27-30 AT&T National tournament that he hosts because of an elbow strain. He said doctors examined him after he returned home to Florida after the Open.
Woods said they prescribed rest and treatment over the next few weeks. His next tournament will be the Open Championship on July 18-21 at Muirfield. It will be only his ninth stroke-play start on the PGA Tour this year.
He said on his website that he suffered minor elbow discomfort before the U.S. Open but aggravated the joint last week. Not that he was forthcoming about his condition at Merion. Per his custom, he was secretive about a physical ailment. He was that way as well when he won the 2008 Open on a broken leg.
“Well, you never want to let any of the guys ...
Michele and Dave Rubenstein packed friends, family and clients into four rows of bleachers to watch the U.S. Open at Merion Golf Club.
This wasn’t your typical grandstands for spectating. This set was erected in the front yard of their 1920s Colonial-style home that overlooks the 14th hole along Golf House Road.
“Any time the USGA wants to throw a party in our front yard,” Michele said, “I’m ready to be here.”
In exchange for allowing a tent for Wells Fargo customers to be built on a portion of the Rubensteins’ spacious yard, their guests enjoyed the equivalent of 50-yard-line seats to the Super Bowl.
The Rubensteins’ bleachers and the palatial tents built on the course, at neighboring Haverford College and on the front yards of several homes bordering the course, were symbolic of the out-of-the-box thinking and unusual partnerships required to bring the U.S. Open back to Merion’s East Course for the first time since 1981. The result was an impressive spirit of cooperation among the community, the club and the U.S. Golf Association.
“When we closed up in 1981,” USGA executive director Mike Davis said of Merion, “we really thought this was ...
The U.S. Open is concluded, but there are final awards to be presented. Thankfully – with their comments and their opinions – players were more honest and candid than they had been all week.
• The edgy award: Rory McIlroy wins this one. When asked about pin placements, he labeled them “on the edge” and then explained his thoughts in detail. “The pin position on 7 today, for example, was on the back of a slope,” he said. “At least put it a couple of yards down so it’s on the flat part of the green. They decided to put it on a ridge. It’s a U.S. Open.”
• The enjoyment award: Adam Scott also was forthright about hole locations. “I think that it would have been probably more enjoyable for us (with the pins in flat spots), but I don’t know if that’s the mantra of the U.S. Open, making it enjoyable.”
• The slow-me-down award: Webb Simpson was utterly open about the topic of slow play. “I think we have exhausted every resource, and it’s still pretty slow,” he said. “I think guys just need to get used to (the fact) that it’s going ...
Here are some reactions to the U.S. Open at Merion Golf Club, which Justin Rose won at 1 over par, from golfers and other figures of the sport via social media Monday:
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• Nicolas Colsaerts, @Coelsss: "@JustinRose99 what a way to close ur 1st major win...huge congrats mate#example#usopen#merion"
• David Hearn, @HearnDavid: "Hole #13 last week played 123 yards on Sunday. Rose makes birdie, Mickelson makes bogey. Rose goes on to win by 2. #shortpar3s #justsaying"
• Steve Elkington, @elkpga: " “@EvanShaps: birdie on final 2 holes like Phil needed yesterday, can you think of a tougher 17 + 18 hole anywhere?”// whistling straits"
• Gonzalo Fernandez-Castaño, @gfcgolf: "I'm glad we only have to play courses set up by the USGA once a year. If we played more, life expectancy of touring pros will drop sharply"
• Luke Donald, @LukeDonald: " "The longest short course i've ever played!" RT @ChrisVanTil @LukeDonald Apart from #3, what did you think of the course setup this weekend?"
• Lee Westwood, @WestwoodLee: " “@IanJamesPoulter: Were those red baskets a little springy this week @WestwoodLee.”you obviously didn't hit it ...
For most people, mid-June brings about the end of the school year and planning for summer trips to the beach. For me, I usually reserve this time of year to write my annual column ripping ESPN for inflicting Chris Berman on U.S. Open viewers.
This year, however, I’m not going to do that. I’m going to refrain for three reasons.
First, ESPN seems to have reduced Berman’s role. I might be wrong about this, but he didn’t seem to be as prominent in this year’s early-round coverage as he has been in past years.
Second, I’m going to take mercy on the pleasant, efficient ESPN staffer whose job it is to email me each year asking me to cut Berman some slack. This one’s for you, pal.
And third, I’ve reached that point in my life where I don’t need the aggravation of listening to Berman. Hence, I now refer to my DVR remote as my Anti-Berman Device – or ABD. At the sound of Berman’s voice, it is programmed to go to mute.
So this year I’ll devote my time to happier subjects. Here are a few that ...
Many people love the U.S. Open because it pushes the game's best players to the limit, and sometimes beyond. For those fans, Sunday's action at historic Merion Golf Club was divine theater, at some moments tragic and at others almost comical, complete with shanks, skulls, big numbers and drama. In the end, it came down to who could avoid catastrophes on a rain-softened, venerable course that many felt at the beginning of the week was going to yield low numbers.
That man wound up being Justin Rose, 32, who made five birdies and five bogeys en route to an even-par 70 that left him at 1 over par and at the top of the leaderboard. With the win, Rose becomes the first English winner of the U.S. Open since Tony Jacklin won at Hazeltine National Golf Club in 1970. He is also the first English major winner since Nick Faldo won the 1996 Masters.
Phil Mickelson, who had either the lead or a share of the lead after each of the first three rounds, shot 74 Sunday to finish tied for second with Australia's Jason Day at 3 over par.
With the tournament on the ...
It was a war of attrition at Merion in Sunday's final round at the U.S. Open. We had shanks, shots out of bounds, a hole-in-one and an improbable eagle. Yet in the end it was an Englishman who won the title, the first in a very long time since Tony Jacklin in 1970 at Hazeltine.
Luke Donald was in that third-to-last pairing with Rose, but stumbled early and never recovered.
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THE OTHER ENGLISHMAN: Luke Donald could not close the deal. Shooting a 42 on the front nine with a double bogey and five bogeys, Donald was more a spectator than a competitor while Rose was gutting out his first major win.
It went terribly wrong on the long par three, 3rd hole when Donald pulled his driver left and didn't know anyone was over behind the bent over pine tree, but when he got to his ball he saw one of the tournament's standard bearers lying on the ground after getting hit in the elbow by the wayward shot.
"She was in some pain and felt a little bit faint, and I felt a little bit faint, too, watching it," Donald said of the incident. "Unfortunately ...
Sometimes, it’s just too much to ask for a storybook ending. Maybe it’s just too good to be true, like Greg Norman leading the Open Championship at Birkdale in 2008 on Sunday at the start; or Tom Watson a short-iron par away from capturing the Open Championship at Turnberry in 2009. And yet here we were, on Fathers Day 2013, with Phil Mickelson celebrating his 43rd birthday, and having shot 67 in round one after pulling an all-nighter on a red-eye flight returning from his daughter’s graduation. All Phil had to do was control a couple of wedges on the back nine. Instead, he’s become golf’s tragic hero: six times a runner-up in the tournament you most want to win as an American. And he had no one to blame but himself.
The week started with all sorts of speculation about how easy Merion would be. Nobody among the many channels of talking heads seemed to deviate from the standard line of punditry, that if it remained wet all week the short, quirky course on Ardmore Avenue would yield low scores.
Midway through the front nine Sunday, it was obvious that not only was Merion ...
Phil Mickelson's tournament began with a red-eye flight. Four days later, he looked to bring home the most red-white-and-blue title in golf by winning his first U.S. Open after five runner-up finishes in his career.
Mickelson began the day at Merion Golf Club with a one-shot lead over playing partner Hunter Mahan, Charl Schwartzel and Steve Stricker.
But it was Englishman Justin Rose's even-par 70 that claimed the title in Pennsylvania, the World No. 5 winning by two shots over Mickelson and Jason Day.
The drama was high on Merion's famed stretch of five closing holes, No. 14-18. Click here to read a breakdown of the extended finish – and players' performances along the stretch during the first three rounds.
Tiger Woods teed off more than three hours earlier than the leaders, following Saturday's dismal 76 with a disappointing 74. Read about Tiger's final round here.
Recap the action from the final round at Merion Golf Club – and scroll down for our previous coverage of U.S. Open week.
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Update No. 54: 7:29 ...
Fly the Cross of St. George next to those red wicker baskets. The U.S. Open has an English champion for the first time in 43 years.
Justin Rose shot a closing 70 Sunday at Merion Golf Club for a 1-over 281 total and his first major championship. He finished two shots ahead of Phil Mickelson and Jason Day.
The 32-year-old Rose overcame his share of misadventures on a course that challenged all comers despite being the shortest at a major in nine years. He took the solo lead for good because of others' mistakes at No. 15: Mickelson and Hunter Mahan, playing in the final group, both lost shots on the hole to fall out of a tie for first.
Rose's last shot was a tap-in for par at the 18th, after his caddie removed the pin with the wicker basket on top, the symbol of Merion that replaces the familiar flag. He had chipped it there from the rough just behind the green, nearly becoming the only player to birdie the finishing hole over the final two rounds of the championship.
It's been a long wait for England since Tony Jacklin won the trophy in 1970 ...