Faxon Wins Buick Event in Playoff
Brad Faxon’s persistence at the Buick Championship finally paid off.
He rolled in a three-foot birdie putt on the first playoff hole Sunday at the tournament in Cromwell, Conn., and beat South African Tjaart van der Walt for his first victory since 2001.
Faxon, 44, tied the course record in regulation with a nine-under 61, a personal best. It was his eighth PGA Tour victory, earning him $774,000.
The Rhode Islander has been a mainstay at this tournament, appearing 22 times. His best finish had been eighth in 1996.
“People get excited about this tournament, and I love playing close to home,” Faxon said.
Van der Walt shot a 64 Sunday and birdied the final two holes to tie Faxon at 14-under 266 and force a playoff back to the 434-yard, par-four 18th.
Third-round leader Justin Rose at 69 finished one stroke out of the playoff. Former British Open champion Ben Curtis, Jerry Kelly and NCAA runner-up Michael Putnam were at 12 under.
Faxon thought that he would be home sooner than later earlier in the week. He was in his hotel room packing Friday afternoon when he learned that he had made the cut.
“This was really kind of out of the blue,” Faxon said. “The first two days I played OK. Then something happened yesterday where all the putts started going in.”
On Sunday, not only did his putts fall but he took advantage of favorable rulings to save par on the last two holes.
On the playoff hole Faxon and Van der Walt hit great second shots.
Faxon drove into the left fairway bunker and had 169 yards to the hole and stuck his seven-iron approach three feet from the cup. Van der Walt drove it right down the middle to within 134 yards. His approach banged off the flagstick and rolled slightly more than nine feet from the cup. The players high-fived each other as they walked up the 18th fairway to an ovation.
Van der Walt pushed his birdie putt right, then watched as Faxon rolled his in for the win.
Loren Roberts bogeyed the second playoff hole but still won the Tradition in Aloha, Ore., beating Dana Quigley, who double-bogeyed the par-four.
Quigley’s 3 1/2 -foot putt for bogey on No. 17 lipped out, and Roberts’ fell.
Quigley knocked in an eight-foot putt for an eagle on the par-five 16th in regulation but bogeyed the next hole and missed a 17-foot birdie on 18, opening the door for Roberts.
Quigley shot a four-under 68 to finish 72 holes at 15-under 273.
Roberts made birdie putts on the final two holes to finish at 67 and force the playoff.
“Those were the two best putts I made all week -- and they came at the right time,” he said.
Roberts, 50, finished tied for second at the U.S. Senior Open and was fifth in the Senior British Open, the only other events he has played on the tour for players 50 and older.
Quigley, who joined the Champions Tour in 1997, played in 278 consecutive events until a hip injury forced him to miss the Senior British Open. He has won 10 events on the Champions Tour, but never a major.
Cristie Kerr made clutch par putts on the final two holes to win the Wendy’s Championship for Children on Sunday in Dublin, Ohio, despite challenges from Pat Hurst, Annika Sorenstam and Paula Creamer.
Kerr finished at 18-under 270, one shot ahead of Creamer and Sorenstam. Creamer, the third-round leader, had a 71 and Sorenstam a 66, matching the day’s low round.
Kerr parred the 17th to remain in front, making a 10-foot putt after chipping past the pin from over the green.
She rolled in a four-foot putt on the final hole.
Hurst’s closing 70 left her at 272 and tied with Jeong Jang, who closed with a 67.
Creamer clinched the LPGA rookie of the year award with her tie for second.
Italian Edoardo Molinari beat American Dillon Dougherty 4 and 3 to win the U.S. Amateur championship on Sunday at Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, Pa.
Molinari rallied from a three-hole deficit after 18 holes and closed out the victory with a 25-foot birdie putt at the 33rd hole.
He became the first Italian male to win a U.S. Golf Assn. title and the first European to win the Amateur since in 1911.
Wendy Ward and Beth Daniel were named to the U.S.’ Solheim Cup team by captain Nancy Lopez.
The biennial competition with Europe will be Sept. 9-11 at Crooked Stick in Carmel, Ind.
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