Dramatic final day at the Travelers as Scheffler wins in playoff

Kevin Kent

Scottie Scheffler poses with the trophy at the Travelers Championship (Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images)

Kevin Kent

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Sunday at the Travelers would serve up a feast of scoring and no shortage of late drama as Scottie Scheffler needed a playoff to see off the charging 22-year-old Tom Kim. Both Shane Lowry and Seamus Power had strong showings to secure top-10 and top-20 finishes respectively in Connecticut.

Shane Lowry hit the course with Justin Thomas for company for the fourth round in succession and the pair were joined by Tony Finau for the final day’s three-balls. A solid start saw Lowry par his opening two holes before back-to-back birdies on the following two par-4s. Another two pars would come before a disastrous three-putt for double on seven would undo all the Clara man’s early good work.

On a day of fine margins, you must feel this was the point Shane’s charge for the title ended. Two more birdies around the turn would keep him in touch, however. Another bogey on the par-4 12th was clawed immediately back on the following hole but the gap would prove to big for Lowry to bridge. One more birdie on the 17th was to come and he would tidy up to go around in -3 for the day and -17 for the week in another strong showing to finish T9.

Seamus Power was able to take advantage of the receptive course on his final day around River Highlands. His 63 could have been even better but for finding the water on the 158-yard 16th. Power’s seven-under final effort was his round of the week and moved him well up the order for a nice weekend’s earnings on T20 for the week. The 16th was the only blot on the Waterford man’s copybook with eight birdies on his card including back-to-back on two and three and again on six and seven. A nice haul of FedEx points to come his way too on this, the final Signature Event of the regular season before the Tour heads for the playoffs.

The soft course was there to be attacked on Sunday and the cream of the PGA Tour would deliver a fitting spectacle of scoring. For most of the day the congested top of the leaderboard was packed with talent all within a couple of strokes.

Despite charges from Kim, Finau, Tom Hoge, and Akshay Bhatia who all had legitimate claims on the trophy, one man was unfazed and quietly went about doing what he does best. Scottie Scheffler was calmness personified as he navigated his way around with fellow title contenders, Kim and Bhatia. Kim had led all week but once Scottie got his nose in front, it was beginning to look inevitable.

The 18th would serve up more drama though, as a nervy gap wedge for Scheffler flirted with the greenside bunker and came to rest on the fringe with 26-feet to close out the tournament. Tom Kim had other ideas as his second pitched inches from the 18th hole before spinning back 10-feet. A glint of hope. As the players sized up their putts, Sunday would deliver another twist with several fans attempting to storm the green while holding flares in a climate protest.

They were quickly and efficiently subdued by Connecticut’s finest but not before leaving their mark with flare residue left on the green. Maintenance was called in and the green repaired but was this distraction going to affect concentration? Scheffler was away and a lovely touch saw his third hole-side for par. All down to Tom Kim to extend the day with his 10-foot left to right putt to tie Scheffler on -22. The 22-year-old showed nerves of steel to stroke his birdie home and take us to a playoff.

A new pin was cut on 18 and both players found themselves in the heart of the fairway. Scheffler’s second right over the flag would leave him in good shape. Kim however would find himself plugged in the green-side bunker and with no shot but for making and holding on the green.

All Kim could do was roll his long putt close and Scheffler was left with two putts for his sixth win on Tour this season. He would need both, but Scottie would hole out for his fourth Signature Event win and further cements his place as world number one.

Speaking after his win, while holding his baby son Bennett, Scheffler was asked how it felt to be the first player since Arnold Palmer in 1962 to win six-times on Tour before July: “Yeah, its pretty special, you know, it’s been a great season and I’ve been fortunate to come away with some wins and its been a lot of fun,” he said.

“You know Tom played great today, he’s a great player and a great champion and it was fun playing with him today.”

Asked what went through his mind when the events on the 18th green unfolded and how was he able to settle himself after the dramatic scenes: “You know fortunately for Tom and me, we were both out there and we are great friends so we were able to kind of sit there and kind of relax each other before, cause you don’t really know what’s going on, you don’t really understand the situation. There are people running around everywhere so it was a bit confusing but fortunately the police did a great job.”


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