Watson again proves he can handle pressure
The eight-time TOUR winner never lost confidence en route to his second Travelers win
June 28, 2015
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
- Bubba Watson's longest drive of the tournament came in the second round at 363 yards. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Bubba Watson birdied the second extra hole to beat Paul Casey in a playoff Sunday at the Travelers Championship.
The victory is the eighth of Watson’s career and second at TPC River Highlands -- he won there in 2010, also in a playoff.
The win is Watson’s second this season and moves him to third in the FedExCup standings.
“I proved to myself in '10 that I could win under pressure in the playoff; I proved to myself that I could mess up 17 and still have a chance to win, and so I knew that if I just kept my head down and kept doing what I needed to do, I could still have a chance to win, and that's what I did,” Watson said.“
After Watson and Casey traded pars on the par-4 18th, they headed back to the tee. Casey drove into a fairway bunker and found the sand again on his approach before hitting a flyer over the green.
It didn’t matter. Watson found the fairway, hit the green and made his 12-footer for birdie and the win.
Since 2010, only Rory McIlroy with 11 has more victories on the PGA TOUR than Watson.
THREE THINGS TO KNOW
1. Paul Casey, describing his shot out of the fairway bunker on 18 on the second hole of sudden-death:
“Right in between clubs -- 7-iron would have never made it, and I'm trying to take maybe 10 yards off the 6-iron, which is a lot to take off a 6-iron, and I just made a poor swing.
"I could have maybe busted a 7-iron to get back there, but it was just awkward. Maybe I should have hit it longer off the tee.”
2. Graham DeLaet also found the bunker on 18 and, like Casey, struggled with it. Needing birdie to make it a three-way playoff, the Canadian missed the green right and failed to get up and down to save par.
“Yeah, I was just exactly in between (clubs),” said DeLaet, who shot 69. “It would have had to be a perfect 6-iron, but it felt like 5 was a little too much, and 5 kind of brought in the lip, and I just barely clipped the lip. I actually hit a decent shot.
"It was close to being really good, but it was also close to being really bad. So where it ended up, I guess I'd take it.”
3. DeLaet and Brian Harman were in contention until some untimely bogeys late Sunday, but they still walked away with a decent consolation prize. So did Luke Donald and Carl Pettersson. They each earned a spot in the field for next month’s Open Championship at St. Andrews.
The Open Championship Qualifying Series was in place for the first time this year at the Travelers Championship, where the top four finishers not otherwise eligible would gain entry into the year’s third major. It was an odd position for Donald to be in -- the Englishman has played every Open Championship since 2002 except one when he was injured in 2008.
“It brings up a lot of great memories, watching it as a kid, and obviously some memories playing it as a professional,” said Donald following a final-round 66 to tie for seventh with Bo Van Pelt and Mark Wilson, both of whom he beat out for a spot by virtue of a higher world ranking.
Donald was also helped by a bogey-bogey finish from Chris Stroud.
“It's obviously probably the major I'd love to win the most, coming from the U.K.”
Pettersson was just as eager to be going back. He’s never played The Open when it was held at St. Andrews.
“I'm thrilled,” he said. “It's a nice bonus. It hasn't been the greatest of years for me so far, but I feel like I'm at a turning point.”
CALL OF THE DAY
Tom Werme of PGA TOUR Radio calls Bubba Watson's playoff victory at Travelers Championship.
SHOT OF THE DAY
Shot of the Day
Bubba Watson drains lengthy eagle putt for the Shot of the Day
QUOTE OF THE DAYI've won enough around the world to know what winning feels like, I also know what coming in second feels like. I've done that a lot. My little boy is right behind you, 20 yards away sucking his finger, so I look at him, and it kind of makes everything pale in comparison.
Thanks @TravelersChamp for a great week. Tournament was first class as always. I'm gonna miss Hartford until next time— Mark Anderson (@mark_andersonsc) June 28, 2015
Game was just a bit off this week! But still had a great time @TravelersChamp. Fans were awesome this week. Tons of support for tourney!— Billy Horschel (@BillyHo_Golf) June 28, 2015