Monday Finish: Reavie breaks 11-year drought with Travelers victory
Never gave up despite injuries, lean years
June 24, 2019
By Cameron Morfit, PGATOUR.COM
Chez Reavie's winning highlights from Travelers
Buckling down after his six-shot lead had been cut to one, Chez Reavie comes up clutch with a birdie on the 17th hole while Keegan Bradley, his closest pursuer, suffers an untimely double-bogey.
Welcome to the Monday Finish, where Reavie, 37, solidified his reputation as mentally tough by converting a 54-hole lead/co-lead into a victory for the second time in as many tries on the PGA TOUR (2008 RBC Canadian Open). With the victory, he jumped from 35th to 12th in the FedExCup.
1. The long wait made it all the sweeter.
Reavie’s wrist injury, his handful of failures to make the FedExCup Playoffs, his long win drought – all that stuff made winning the Travelers, in his ninth try, even more satisfying.
“It was great,” Reavie said, “because it gave me good perseverance and good perspective of what life is and what golf is. I enjoy every minute of every week I'm out here now, and I don't think I would necessarily be that way if I didn't go through those tough times.”
Reavie kept working hard despite the fact that it had been 3,983 days since his first and only other win on TOUR, at the 2008 RBC Canadian Open. That’s the 11th longest span between a player’s first and second wins on TOUR since 1900.
Would he have expected to win sooner?
“Not really,” he said. “Golf is tough, right? There are a lot of great players on the PGA TOUR. To win out here is an honor and something that shouldn't be overlooked or under appreciated.”
2. For a guy who hadn’t won in 11 years, Reavie had momentum.
He had played in the second-to-last group at the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach the week before, and finished T3. He also shot a back-nine 28 at the Travelers on Saturday that friend Paul Casey called, “one of the best nines that I can think of since I’ve been on TOUR.”
Reavie used that confidence to quiet his nerves as he prepared for the final round at TPC River Highlands, and to hang in there when the putts weren’t dropping. The turning point came when Bradley cut the lead to one and Reavie hit the 17th fairway, fired at the flag, and drained his birdie putt of 14 feet, 4 inches. With Bradley finding the fairway bunker off the tee and skulling his 9-iron approach on the way to a double bogey, it was all but over.
“Being in the second to the last group at the U.S. Open last week, that definitely gave me a lot of confidence coming into this week, and in particular into today,” Reavie said. “I played really well on Sunday at the U.S. Open, and I tried to treat this the same as I did then.”
3. Bradley fired up the home crowd.
Although he now lives in South Florida, Keegan Bradley is a native New Englander and everyone knows it. As such, there was no shortage of thrills as he went 5 under through 16 holes to cut Reavie’s seemingly insurmountable six-shot lead down to a single stroke.
Alas, after thrilling the hometown fans for much of the afternoon, Bradley’s double bogey at 17, combined with Reavie’s birdie, created a three-shot swing and all but ended it for the crowd favorite, who wound up with a 67 and a T2 finish, four shots back.
“Dream come true,” Bradley said. “I got to play in front of the fans in New England and put on a show. I've never felt that type of support ever. Maybe in a Ryder Cup. It was so fun.”
4. Zack Sucher sort of won with a T2.
Saddled with credit-card debt, unheralded Zack Sucher birdied four of his final six holes and chipped in for par on 18 for a 67 and a timely T2 ($633,600).
“It’s life-changing, to be honest,” said Sucher.
Sucher was playing on a Major Medical Extension this season, and had six events in which to earn 347 FedExCup points. But he’d earned just 25 FedExCup points in three starts until his breakthrough at the Travelers. He picked up a much-needed 245 more at TPC River Highlands, leaving him two remaining starts to get the last 77.
Sucher alternated between stellar play (five-shot lead halfway through the third round) and disasters (he responded with a bogey and two doubles in a three-hole stretch). The final round brought more of the same: He four-putted the ninth hole for a double bogey before firing a back-nine 30 to finish T2 and zoom from 222nd to 126th in the FedExCup.
For more on Sucher’s feel-good story, click here.
5. Paul Casey ‘Travelers’ well.
The Englishman played his last six holes in 4 under, highlighted by an eagle 2 at the 15th hole, to shoot 65 and finish T5. Amazingly, it was his fourth top-five Travelers finish since 2015.
“Three weeks off for me,” Casey said of his plans going forward. “I've not played (Open Championship venue Royal) Portrush before, so my focus is now getting ready for that. Go in early, do a (reconnaissance), learn it as quick as I can. And three weeks off really is also to save some energy. I'm not tired, but I've got a lot of golf ahead.
“I'll play Memphis (the World Golf Championships-FedEx St. Jude Invitational). There is a possibility you'll see me at Wyndham because of the Wyndham Rewards now, and then the FedExCup.”
1. Reavie led the field in Strokes Gained: Approach-the-Green (+1.684). (Of his total strokes gained on the field, 41 percent came on approach shots.) He was 10th in SG: Off-the-Tee (+0.723) and SG: Putting (+1.231), 24th in SG: Around-the-Green (+0.457), and first in SG: Total (+4.095).
2. Vaughn Taylor (65, solo third) picked up his best finish since winning the 2016 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. He played the front nine at TPC River Highlands in even par for the week, the back in 12 under.
3. Three-time Travelers champion Bubba Watson slogged through the weekend in 73-71 to finish T54, while U.S. Open runner-up Brooks Koepka finished T57.
4. It was a good week for International Presidents Cup Team hopefuls Abraham Ancer and Joaquin Niemann. Ancer birdied five of the last eight holes for a final-round 63, tying the week’s low score, and a T8 finish. Niemann posted four rounds in the 60s to finish T5, which ties his best of six top-10 finishes in 36 TOUR starts (2018 A Military Tribute at the Greenbrier).
5. Collin Morikawa (T36) led the quartet of newly minted pros, with Viktor Hovland (T54) not far behind. Matthew Wolf (MDF) and Justin Suh (MC) rounded out the foursome. Hovland and Wolff became the fifth and sixth players since 2009 to advance to the weekend while making their professional debuts at the Travelers.
The Wyndham Rewards Top 10 is in its first season and adds another layer of excitement to the FedExCup Regular Season. The top 10 players at the end of the FedExCup Regular Season will earn bonus payouts from the Wyndham Rewards Top 10.
Matt Kuchar remains No. 1, while Brooks Koepka showed that every point counts, jumping from 3rd to 2nd with a T57 finish. Meanwhile, Patrick Cantlay (69, T15) also moved up a spot from 7th to 6th, and Chez Reavie (35th to 12th in the FedExCup) is knocking on the door.
Rank Rank last week Player What Top 10 gets (End of Regular Season) 1st 1st Matt Kuchar $2 million 2nd 3rd Brooks Koepka $1.5 million 3rd 2nd Rory McIlroy $1.2 million 4th 4th Xander Schauffele $1.1 million 5th 5th Gary Woodland $1 million 6th 7th Patrick Cantlay $850,000 7th 6th Dustin Johnson $700,000 8th 8th Paul Casey $600,000 9th 9th Justin Rose $550,000 10th 10th Rickie Fowler $500,000