Graeme McDowell defeated fellow U.S. Open champ Webb Simpson in a playoff to win the RBC Heritage Sunday on Hilton Head Island, S.C., for his second career victory on the PGA Tour.
McDowell was four shots behind when the round started, but rallied with a closing 69 over wind-blown Harbour Town Golf Links. The 2010 U.S. Open champ had his only bogey of the day on the 72nd hole to force a playoff with Simpson, the reigning U.S. Open titleholder.
McDowell struck his approach on the extra hole about 15 feet away and two-putted for par. Simpson could not answer, missing about a 10-footer for par.
Luke Donald and Kevin Streelman tied for third.
McDowell’s win ended a wind-blown day that saw just three of the 70 competitors finish with rounds in the 60s.
Donald shot a 69 while Streelman had a 72. Jerry Kelly rounded out the top five after his even-par 71.
Charley Hoffman, the 54-hole leader, ballooned to a 77 and fell into a tie for sixth.
Both McDowell and Simpson had the chance to win on the 72nd hole. McDowell missed a 12-foot par putt after his approach went over the green. It was his only bogey on the round.
Simpson had a 22-footer for birdie a short time later on the 18th, but sent it 3 feet past to lead to the tournament’s third playoff in four years.
McDowell patted Simpson on the back after the playoff miss and smiled widely as the boats in Calibogue Sound tooted their horns and whistles.
Langer adds to wins
Bernhard Langer added to his impressive Champions Tour season by shooting a 67 to win the inaugural Greater Gwinnett Championship by three strokes in Duluth, Ga.
The 55-year-old Langer, who finished 10 under, took control with a long chip-in for birdie on No. 10. He had six birdies for his fifth top-three finish in six events. He also won the Ace Group Classic in Naples, Fla.
Tom Lehman, whose 67 included birdies on 17 and 18, tied for second at 7 under with Tom Pernice Jr. Pernice made a move with an eagle on No. 15 and added a birdie on 18 for a 70.
Esteban Toledo, the second-round leader, fell out of contention with double bogeys on 11 and 12 on his way to a 75.
Lehman’s last birdie left him one stroke behind Langer, but the German answered quickly with a birdie on No. 16 to add cushion to his lead. He lifted his hands to the fans after the birdie putt as if signaling his victory was secure.
Langer closed with a birdie on 18 — but only after he escaped trouble on the fairway rough — and then raised his visor to the fans.
Lehman, watching Langer’s finish on TV from the media workroom, said “That adds insult to injury” when Langer’s third shot on 18 landed only three feet from the hole.
“The short game got me through,” Langer said after his 18th Champions Tour victory, referring to his ability to escape trouble on 8, 9 and 10.
Raphael Jacquelin of France won a record-tying playoff at the Spanish Open, edging Germany’s Maximilian Kieffer on their ninth try at the 18th hole in Valencia, Spain.
Jacquelin made a 5-foot birdie putt to end the back-and-forth battle with Kieffer in what started as a three-way playoff including Chile’s Felipe Aguilar.
The three players were tied at 5-under 283, with Jacquelin and Kieffer both carding 1-under 71s in the final round. Aguilar finished with a 70.
It was Jacquelin’s fourth European Tour victory and his first in more than two years.
The only other European Tour event decided by a nine-hole playoff was the 1989 Dutch Open.