Satoshi Kodaira comes from 6 back, earns 1st PGA Tour win in playoff at RBC Heritage

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Satoshi Kodaira comes from 6 back, earns 1st PGA Tour win in playoff at RBC Heritage

PGA Tour

Satoshi Kodaira comes from 6 back, earns 1st PGA Tour win in playoff at RBC Heritage

Here is a recap of the final round of the RBC Heritage at Harbour Town Golf Links in Hilton Head Island, S.C.:

WINNER: Satoshi Kodaira is now a PGA Tour winner, and he finished things off with a flourish.

The 28-year-old Japanese player fired a 5-under 66 on Sunday to storm from six shots back to reach a playoff at the RBC Heritage. He took on Si Woo Kim in extra holes, defeating the South Korean on the third playoff hole when he drained a 25-footer for birdie at the par-3 17th and Kim couldn’t match from 20 feet.

This is Kodaira’s maiden PGA Tour title in just his 15th career start on the circuit. In fact, he had never posted a top 25 on the PGA Tour until this showing (his previous best coming last week in a T-28 at the Masters).

Kodaira is not a first-time winner overall, though, as he has captured six titles on the Japan Golf Tour. But this victory certainly surprises many.

Heck, it’s a shock considering where things stood on the back nine. Kodaira was charging but still a couple adrift of a cruising Kim, until the South Korean made three late bogeys and then couldn’t get a 6-footer for birdie and the win at the 18th to drop.

But credit Kodaira for taking advantage. Both parred the opening hole of the playoff (No. 18), with Kodaira actually missing a 12-footer for the win. Both then parred the 18th again before a move to the 17th allowed Kodaira to take care of business.

Kodaira has never played a full slate on the PGA Tour, but with the two-year exemption that comes with this win, he said afterward he does plan to take up PGA Tour membership.

Sounds like a good plan to us.

JUST MISSED: Kim was so close. His third PGA Tour win before the age of 23 eludes him, though. Still, he’s a Players Champion and a two-time winner at age 22, so all is good. But he definitely squandered this one. Kim began the final round one shot back of Ian Poulter, but established himself in the lead with a 3-under 33 on the front nine. He had a two-shot lead early in the back nine when his putter started to falter. Kim missed an 11-footer for par at the 12th, a 7-footer for birdie at the 13th, a 4-footer for par at the 15th, a 6-footer for par at the 17th and another 6-footer at the 18th – that one being for birdie and a one-shot win. Those flatstick troubles would be his undoing in the end. Luke List had a 10-footer for birdie at the 18th to potentially put himself in a playoff. But he couldn’t get the putt to drop. As it turned out, Kim missed his birdie putt, meaning if List had made his he would’ve made the playoff. But it’s a close call for List that doesn’t come to be. He had six final-round bogeys in a closing 72, so it was amazing he was still in it in the first place. He ties for third at 11 under in the end. Poulter, the 54-hole leader, held steady on the front nine as he went out in 1-under 35 and remained around the lead. But his back nine was a disaster. Bogeys at Nos. 10, 13, 14, 16 and 17 saw him fall apart. He actually did well just to bogey 14, as he hit his tee shot in the water. The back-nine 40 meant a 4-over 75 and Poulter finishes the week in a tie for seventh at 9 under.

SHOT OF THE DAY: Yes, there was some luck involved. But what a tee shot from Patrick Cantlay!

He would make the putt to close his front nine with an eagle. He would finish the week T-7 at 9 under.

SHORT SHOTS: Bryson DeChambeau rebounds from a tough Saturday. The 36-hole leader plummeted with a third-round 75. But he rockets back up from T-20 to T-3 as a final-round 66 puts him at 11 under for the week. It’s his second top four here in three years, with that first one (a T-4 in 2016) coming in his pro debut. … Dustin Johnson closes with 67 to tie for 16th at 7 under. … Matt Kuchar posts a disappointing final-round 73 to fall 14 spots to T-23 at 6 under. … Rory Sabbatini, the 18-hole leader, falls apart a bit on Sunday. A 3-over back nine leads him to a final-round 74. He had held on at T-8 after a pair of follow-up 70s, but in the end he finishes T-23. … Defending champion Wesley Bryan ties for 42nd at 3 under. … Doc Redman, the reigning U.S. Amateur champion, ties for 50th at 1 under. He was playing as an amateur.

UP NEXT: We now go to the Valero Texas Open, where Kevin Chappell is defending champion. Follow all the action live on Golfweek.com and our Facebook and Twitter feeds.

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