TPC River Hills' marathon event tied four other sudden-death playoffs, the only one in 38 years. It was the longest single champion playoff in PGA Tour history. The 1949 Motor City Open was the longest playoff, with Tour legends completing it.Lloyd MangrumAndCary MiddlecoffWhen darkness prevented further play, they agreed to serve as co-winners.
English won his fourth Tour win in his career despite the emotional and physical toll of competing at the U.S. Open last week (he finished third solo), flying from San Diego to Cromwell Connecticut and almost the whole crowd actively rooting for him.
This was the 31-year old's second win of the 2021 season. He had also won January's Sentry Tournament of Champions, in a playoff against Joaquin Niemann. His two previous victories came in 2013 calendar year.
English won this win, and while he will be the single defending champion next year, the tournament had no real losers. Hickok, a previously unknown player, matched English clutch shot for shot throughout the exhausting tournament.
Hickok was the No.1 player in the week. Hickok was ranked 331 in the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) and fought to the end, despite not having competed in a PGA Tour event. The 29-year old had only two top 10s in his career, both in opposite-field events in the United States. He has not yet qualified for a major championship.
Hickok won the playoff with a remarkable birdie on 72nd hole. He also managed to hold onto a 54-hole lead. Hickok's stellar Sunday was despite playing in the final pairing alongside Bubba Watson. Watson has three wins and is a runner up in this event.
Watson was joined by a trio former world No. 1 major winners. 2 Dustin Johnson, 12-time Tour winner Jason Day and Bryson deChambeau, 27, 8-time Tour winning player.
Although Hickok didn't win the Tour, Hickok's $806,600 check in second place was sixty-one percent of the University of Texas product's earnings over 67 Tour starts. Hickok almost secured his Tour card for next year and received a lot of attention. For a man that Tour-loving fans only had heard of four days before, the ubiquitous shouts of "Kramer” in the crowd were incredible.
It was a life-changing runner up.
He finished in sixth place behind Watson and Hickok, but he returned to English. He had a good start with a birdie at the first and two more on his front nine. This allowed him to reach the turn at 3-under.
Although the leaderboard was very crowded, English, a University of Georgia graduate, remained composed. Watson, 42, was in control of the back nine and clinched his fourth career Travelers victory. He held the solo lead at 13 under with five holes remaining. Watson was then inexplicably unable to finish the stretch and finished bogey.
English was in front with a birdie on 16 and a subsequent par on 17. However, an additional bogey on 17, which he had struggled with the day before, tied him with Marc Leishman from Australia, who maintained the clubhouse lead at 12 under par.
English's 28-foot birdie shot on the par-4 18th was the final touch to a Sunday 5-under 65. He finished one stroke ahead of Leishman. English seemed like a solid bet to win, but Hickok made a nine-foot birdie to force overtime.
English and Hickok both won the seven first playoff holes. Both were particularly strong on the greens and sank one pressure-packed putt after the other. English was able to survive a poorly-plugged lie on one hole in a greenside bunter, as well as two lipped-out birdie puts from Hickok to make it to the tournament's eighth playoff hole. The sixth hole was his closest to victory, but he missed a seven-foot birdie attempt, which seemed to be his only missed putt.
After seven more holes, both were exhausted. However, with the shadows growing longer on the 18th hole (the sixth and final time they played it in overtime), English made a 16-foot birdie to win the match. English was extremely grateful to his fans for their support, even though they were rooting for him.