Slow and steady wins the race for Chez Reavie at the 2019 Travelers Championship
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Slow and steady wins the race for Chez Reavie at the 2019 Travelers Championship



CROMWELL, Conn. -- On a course known for furious finishes, Chez Reavie never flinched.

Not when local favorite Keegan Bradley birdied the first two holes on the back nine to pull within three. Not when Bradley birdied 13 to cut Reavie’s lead to two. Not when Bradley added yet another birdie at 15 to bring Reavie’s advantage to just a single shot.

When Reavie all but clinched the tournament with a clutch 14-foot birdie putt at 17, he offered just a simple wave to acknowledge the crowd that was cheering for him for the first time all day.

After shooting 28 on the back nine Saturday to give himself a six-shot lead heading into Sunday’s final round, Reavie remained conservative Sunday and let the challengers come to him.

Reavie stayed steady as Bradley knocked down flagsticks and continued making birdies. Bradley double-bogeyed the 17th to make Reavie’s walk up the 18t hmuch more comfortable, and a simple par at the 18th sealed Reavie’s second PGA Tour win and his first in 11 years.

“I knew Keegan was going to come out firing today. I was fortunate enough to stay patient and make that putt on 17 to give myself a little cushion going into 18,” Reavie said.

Reavie is far from a bomber -- he averaged just 274 yards off the tee this week -- but he ranked third in driving accuracy, led the field in strokes gained tee to green and strokes gained approach, and ranked 10th in strokes gained putting.

The win continues a run of good form for the 37-year-old as he was coming off his career-best finish in a major after a T3 finish at Pebble Beach last week. Reavie’s confidence was already high and ending his long drought between victories will only help.

“I think finally getting it done. You feel like you can win, you feel like you can play well down the stretch,” Reavie said. “In Phoenix I birdied the last hole to force a playoff and lost (in 2018). I came in second the next week at Pebble. I’ve been close but it’s not the same as sealing the deal and winning the golf tournament.”

This win was made even sweeter for Reavie knowing how much he went through to reach this point again. A wrist surgery in 2013 sidelined him for an entire year and left him questioning if his career could have been over.

“I went through some injuries; had long years there in the middle,” Reavie said. “It was great because it gave me good perseverance and good perspective of what life is and what golf. I enjoy every minute of every week I'm out here now, and I don't think I would necessarily be that way if I didn't go through those tough times.”

With the playoff event at TPC Boston now being played every other year due to the new schedule, the Travelers is the only Tour event in New England this season, and Bradley, the hometown hero, gave the crowd plenty to cheer about.

The roars grew louder with each birdie as Bradley got as close as one shot behind Reavie and finished in a tie for second at 13 under par.

“(It was) a dream come true,” Bradley said. “I got to play in front of the fans in New England and put on a show. I've never felt that type of support ever. Maybe in a Ryder Cup. It was so fun.”

Bradley had a resurgence last season as he won for the first time since 2012 at the BMW Championship, and the Woodstock, Vt. native is hoping a strong finish in his hometown event will help propel him the rest of the year.

“I can build a lot on this. I putted incredibly. I need to keep going,” Bradley said. “I put four rounds together and I got to keep going. It's a race to the finish here, and I got to keep the pedal down.”

About the author

Peter Santo

Peter Santo

Peter Santo is a journalism student at Emerson College in Boston. He worked for the student newspaper at Auburn University covering football, basketball, and golf and has also worked at the Boston Herald, Boston Globe and The Washington Times. Follow him on Twitter @PeterSanto29.