Harris English outlasts Kramer Hickock for Travelers Championship title
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Harris English outlasts Kramer Hickock for Travelers Championship title



What began as a free-for-all ended with an epic battle at TPC River Highlands Sunday as Harris English survived an eight-hole playoff to defeat Kramer Hickock to earn his fourth PGA Tour title.

The playoff was the third longest in PGA Tour history until English finally prevailed with a birdie on the 18th hole. Nearly two hours earlier, English rolled in a 27-footer on 18 to take the outright lead at 13-under. The normally stoic English unleashed a huge fist pump and ran to get his ball after it fell into the bottom of the cup.

 

Just a few moments later, Hickock hit a wedge to eight feet and poured it in for a birdie to force a playoff. English’s fist pump certainly got the crowd going, but Hickock’s celebration was even more electric.

As the playoff began, each player seemed destined to take the title at different points. English’s chances looked bleak after his second shot into the 18th green found the bunker and settled right next to the lip. But English somehow hacked it out and buried the six-footer after Hickock’s putt from 43 feet lipped out.

Both players made par at each of the first seven playoff holes as the pair each made more than six putts from outside five feet. English said he put in extra practice time on the greens this morning and the work certainly paid off to both extend the playoff and to win. In the end, the mental and physical durability was the difference.

“It's hard to stay mentally into it and not to lose focus, but I tried really hard to stay focused and stay sharp and really be on my toes, because in a playoff situation in match play scenarios like that, you’ve got to be ready for anything,” English said. I expected Kramer to hole every single putt, and just trying to stay in it. I fought hard and had a couple chances to get it done, but finally after No. 8 we got it done.”

English was in good form coming in after posting top-10 finishes in both the Palmetto Championship and the US Open, and English believes that this win cements his place amongst the game’s best.

“This is a validation win. It took me seven years to win this year in Maui, and I think this is a validation of where my game is right now,” English said.

With the win, English moves to second in the FedEx Cup Standings and to a career-high 12th in the Official World Golf Ranking. The 31-year old has also placed himself firmly on the radar for US Ryder Cup captain Steve Strivcker.

“The Ryder Cup is where I want to play. That's what I miss about playing golf at University of Georgia,” English said. “I miss that team atmosphere, and that's the pinnacle of our sport is to represent your country and to play in probably one of the biggest tournaments in the world. I still need to keep playing well and keep showing Strick that I deserve to be on the team, but looking forward to having a chance, and we'll see what happens.”

Kramer Hickock didn’t quite get over the finish line Sunday, but he produced plenty of memorable moments and quickly became a fan-favorite in Hartford.

“It was a huge learning experience for me. It was just a tremendous day,” Hickock said. “It was just a hard-fought battle out there. Played tough. Kudos to Harris. He battled so hard. There were times I put him in a tough spot, he put me in a tough spot, and he came out on top and he's a true champion.”

About the author

Peter Santo

Peter Santo

Peter Santo is a golf writer and a graduate of Emerson College. He previously covered all sports for The Boston Globe, Associated Press, and The Washington Times.

When not writing about or playing golf, he can often be found listening to or creating country music.

He can be reached by email at petersanto1129@gmail.com

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