Harris English Wins the Travelers Championship After 8 Hole Playoff

Harris English - Travelers Championship
Harris English holds the winners trophy after winning the Travelers Championship golf tournament after a playoff at TPC River Highlands, Sunday, June 27, 2021, in Cromwell, Conn. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

With six holes left in Sunday’s final round of the Travelers Championship at the TPC River Highlands, Bubba Watson had a two-shot lead on any other player on the course with a reachable par five and a driveable par four still yet to come and appeared to be in total control. The three-time Travelers champion failed to birdie the par-five 13th hole, then played the next five holes in six over par to fade out of contention. 

Instead, Harris English sank a 27-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole to take a one-shot lead over Marc Leishman, then Kramer Hickock made his nine-footer on the 72nd hole to force a playoff. Finally, after the longest playoff on the PGA Tour this season and also in the long history of the Travelers Championship, Harris English drained a 16-foot birdie putt on the eighth extra hole to win his fourth PGA Tour title and second of the season.

Harris shot a five-under-par final round 65, and Hickock fired a three-under 67 to reach the playoff that tied for the second-longest in PGA Tour history. The two players each made pars on the first seven holes before English put an end to the marathon, shortly before the lack of daylight would have forced them to return to the course on Monday morning.

English came into the tournament at +3500 to win at TPC River Highlands.

English won $1,332,000 for the win, and the 500 FedEx Cup points moved him into second place in the standings behind Patrick Cantlay and just ahead of U.S. Open champion Jon Rahm. Hickok was grinding to grab his first Tour victory, sinking several clutch putts in the playoff to stay alive, but ultimately he had to settle for second place that will still go a long way toward securing his Tour privileges for 2022.

When Leishman finished his round at 12 under par, three hours ahead of the leaders, it didn’t appear that his score had any chance of holding up, especially with some scoring opportunities available on the back nine. But the wind increased slightly, and the pressure seemed to get to several of the contenders, keeping Leishman’s hopes for a playoff alive until English’s closing putt.

The University of Georgia graduate came into the tournament as a +3500 underdog in the betting odds and started the final round two shots behind third-round leaders Watson and Hickock. Abraham Ancer finished in fourth place at 11 under par after his closing 65.

Kevin Kisner shot a sizzling seven-under-par 63 to finish at ten under with a big group that included Brooks Koepka, who shot a 65. Jason Day held the lead at nine-under-par heading into the weekend after an eight-under-par 62 on Friday, but a pair of 70’s the rest of the way kept him from making a move on Sunday.

Patrick Cantlay had a solid tournament, finishing in a tie for 13th at eight-under-par to retain the lead in the FedEx Cup point standings. Dustin Johnson got himself back into contention after he shot a 65 on Saturday but failed to make up any ground with a final round 71 that left him in a tie for 25th at six-under-par.

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