Goydos wins 3M Championship on first playoff hole
Paul Goydos had just enough club to win the 3M Championship.
On the first hole of Sunday’s playoff with Gene Sauers, Goydos was 177 yards away on the par-5 18th hole. Knowing Sauers put his second shot into the lake fronting the green, Goydos just had to get the ball on the putting surface.
Goydos, who shot a tournament-record 60 Saturday, would normally hit a 5-iron, but with a downhill lie and knowing it was safe behind the green, he pulled out his 4-iron and hit it thin.
“I thought it’d carry by more than it did, that may have been because of the heavier air,” he said. “The 4-iron was the right club to hit. It just didn’t quite catch.”
The ball cleared the hazard by less than a yard and bounced to the back of the green. Two putts later, Goydos was a PGA Champions Tour winner for the first time this year and fifth time overall. It is his third top-10 in 16 events this season.
“They’re all special, but the last one always seems to be the most special,” said Goydos, who made his tour debut at this event in 2014.
Looking at 191 yards to the front of the green and about seven more to the hole, Sauers, who hit a tour-record 53 of 54 greens in regulation, went with a familiar club.
“Hit 5-iron previous in regulation and so it was plenty of club,” he said. “I just kind of came out of it a little bit.”
It is the second playoff Sauers lost this year. He’s 0-4 in his career.
Kevin Sutherland shot 64 to tie for third with Steve Stricker (66) and Brandt Jobe (67), two shots back.
Scott Verplank was three back after a 66. Wes Short, Jr. shot a 10-under 62, and was among a quartet of golfers finishing four shots back. That group included Kenny Perry, a co-leader with Goydos and Sauers entering the day. He shot 70.
Eleven players were within three shots beginning the round and 16 within four on a course known for its low scores thanks to wide fairways and soft, but fast, greens. In three rounds, the 78-player field recorded 1,105 birdies, beating the old tournament record by one.
Early on the back nine, the tournament had the appearance of a two-man race as Goydos and Sauers led by three shots.
“They were just kind of feeding off each other all day,” Perry said.
Yet, neither could secure the win down the stretch in regulation.
After a 62-minute weather delay, Goydos and Sauers stood on the 14th tee at 19-under. Each recorded four straight pars, before birdies on 18 to force an extra hole.
An eagle on 18 would have put Stricker, 3-under over his last six holes, in a playoff. He recorded par after hitting his second shot over the green and his chip was well short.
“There were some real missed opportunities for me today,” he said.
Perry was 1-under on the front side, after playing the holes in 12-under the first two days. A bogey at 13 dropped him five shots back.