Shindler pars first playoff hole for victory at Rex Hospital Open
June 04, 2017
By Nick Parker, PGATOUR.COM
- Conrad Shindler captures his first victory in a playoff over Chesson Hadley. (Kevin Prise/PGA TOUR)
RALEIGH, N.C. – As the sky opened up and it began to downpour on TPC Wakefield Plantation, Conrad Shindler dropped in a two-putt par on the first playoff hole to win the Rex Hospital Open. Shindler forced extra holes with a final-round, 4-under 67 and then after one more trip down the 18th fairway, ran over to celebrate his first career Web.com Tour victory in the arms of his waiting fiancée, who had flown in to surprise him.
“It’s going to take a couple days and seeing a couple pictures or looking at the trophy for it to really sink in, but it’s an incredible experience right now,” Shindler said. “You always dream of it. You always dream of picking up the trophy and to get to do it is unbelievable.”
On the first playoff hole, Hadley missed a three-foot putt for par and Shindler knocked in an 18-inch putt to secure the win and the $117,000 winner’s check to move up to fifth on the Web.com Tour money list.
“I’m not going to lie, to have that 18-inch putt, I was shaking,” Shindler said. “You always dream of those moments, but when it comes down, you got to saddle up and still execute.”
Shindler, a Web.com Tour rookie, entered the day one shot back of the lead but jumped into the lead with a front-nine, 4-under 32 that included birdies on Nos. 3, 4, 5, and 7. With the lead in hand and a host of players giving chase, Shindler posted his lone bogey of the day at No. 12 but countered it with a birdie at No. 13 to post an even-par back nine and force extra holes. Shindler entered the 72nd hole with a chance to birdie for the win but missed the green short right. He was able to get up and down for par, though, to enter the playoff.
That was the story of the week for Shindler, escaping when he was in trouble and taking advantage when he got opportunities. Through 73 holes, Shindler only made four bogeys.
“We were committed to conservative targets if they needed to be, and man, we only made four bogeys,” Shindler said. “We turned bogeys into pars and we turned some pars into birdie looks and a couple of those went, and you’ve got to have some of those go for the week to be right.”
Hadley, the 2013 Rex Hospital Open champion, leaves his hometown feeling like he let one slip away with “a really bad putt at a really bad time,” despite posting a 5-under 66 in the final round. In addition to the three-putt on the first playoff hole, two other misses will also eat at the 2014 PGA TOUR Rookie of the Year, who was looking for his third career Web.com Tour victory and first since the 2013 Web.com Tour Championship.
“That just sucks. That sucks so bad. It sucks to suck, but I’ve got to be proud with the way I played today,” Hadley said. “I’ve been playing terrible for two years, and I’ve been starting to trend a little bit. I trended last week, and this week I played some great golf. I certainly think I should have won this golf tournament, but I didn’t. And that’s the reality of it. I’m not saying that to take anything away from Conrad, I do not mean that like that at all, but I missed a tap-in at No. 10 for par. I don’t know I went up to tap it in; it was just one of those freak moments. It was probably a foot. Then I hit it in there to 3 feet on the next hole and missed that, and then you saw what I did on that playoff hole.”
Following those two brutal short misses to open the back nine, Hadley rallied, reeling off a brilliant four-hole stretch of golf to jump into a share of the lead with birdies at Nos. 12 and 14 and an eagle at No. 15.
“Most of the time I’m a scoreboard watcher, but I just didn’t really care just because I figured I’ve got to go make birdies anyways, so it doesn’t really matter what’s going on,” Hadley said. “After I made that [eagle] putt, you can imagine the emotion and I’m trying to control myself, and I probably looked in control, but I was very nervous. It was nice to give myself an opportunity. I haven’t been there in a while, but shoot, the No. 1 player in the world not two weeks ago missed a 4-footer on the last hole in a playoff, so I’ve got to find a way to shake it off and go play next week.”
Andrew Putnam (66), Andrew Landry (66), and Kyoung-Hoon Lee (69) all finished a shot out of the playoff at 14-under 270.
* Sunday weather: Mostly Sunny, High: 87, Winds: WSW 4-8 mph.
* This week’s purse is $650,000, with $117,000 going to Conrad Shindler.
* Conrad Shindler earns his first career win in his 12th start on Tour. His previous best finish was a T5 at the Panama Claro Championship.
* Shindler’s victory comes at age 28 years, 11 months and 15 days.