Bubba Watson outlasts Paul Casey in Travelers playoff

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Luke Donald sneaks an Open invite after looking set to miss out on St. Andrews

Bubba Watson emerged as the victor after requiring a playoff to best England’s Paul Casey at the Travelers Championship.

Casey had overcame a five shot deficit to force a playoff with the American, but two holes were enough for the two-time Masters champion to win at TPC River Highlands.

“It’s just about staying calm,” said Watson, who needed a playoff for his first win here in 2010. “That’s what you have to do. You just breathe and walk slower, take some deep breaths and focus on the fact that no matter what you still come in second place.”

Watson had a chance to win in regulation, but the two-time Masters champion bogeyed the 17th while Casey closed with three birdies on the final five holes.

“There are always ifs and buts and could haves,” said Casey. “But the goal was to give myself a chance to win, and I did that.”

Watson may not have made the playoff had he taken the advice of a spectator.

On the second hole, Watson hooked his tee shot into the heavy rough. With a 100-metre approach shot to the green blocked by a tree, a spectator offered the advice of hitting a low four-iron under the tree and bump it up to the green.

Watson pulled out his sand wedge and blasted the ball over the tree to within a metre of the hole. He then joked: “That’s why you’re on that side of the ropes.”

“I hung on, and that’s what you have to do sometimes to win,” Watson said.

“It does remind me of 2010, where coming down the stretch I had to hit some good shots and I didn’t,” Watson said. “I wish it was a lot easier, but a victory is a victory.”

With this win, the 36-year old also moved a step closer to his career goal.

“My whole goal in my career was to get 10 wins,” he said. “I need two more wins.” 

England’s Luke Donald looked set to miss out on a place in this years Open championships after final hole bogey seemed would cost him a place at St. Andrews.

“Obviously I thought about it the last couple of holes,” Donald said about his chances of making the field at St. Andrews. “I knew I was in a good position. I was trying to make one more birdie really to be honest. Thirteen [under], I thought that would definitely secure one of those top four spots.”

Donald finished tied for seventh alongside Bo Van Pelt and Mark Wilson, but the Englishman qualifies because his world ranking of 68th coming into the week was higher than Van Pelt’s (248th) and Wilson’s (441).
Wilson bogeyed his final hole to miss out on the Open Championship invite.
Full leaderboard details can be found here.

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