Sutherland Wins Schwab Cup On 9th Playoff Hole

By JOHN MARSHALL, Associated Press

PHOENIX, Arizona — Kevin Sutherland and Paul Broadhurst fought darkness through six playoff holes on Sunday, neither able to make a putt to end the Charles Schwab Cup Championship.

When they returned Monday morning, they faced a different challenge: the crisp desert air.

Figuring the ball wouldn't fly as far, Sutherland made the proper adjustment, hitting a 7-iron on the par-4 17th hole to 4 feet.

Sutherland made the putt, ending the final PGA Tour Champions event of the year after nine playoff holes played over two days.

“Obviously, it was a lot different weather. It was cool, not quite as warm as yesterday, so the ball wasn’t going as far,” Sutherland said. “It wasn’t as breezy obviously, but just the ball wasn’t going as far so those holes played quite a bit differently. Then I hit a 7-iron that I’ll remember a long time.”

Sutherland and Broadhurst were forced to return to Phoenix Country Club to finish after playing to a stalemate over six playoff holes in near darkness on Sunday. They continued to match each other through two playoff holes on a chilly morning in the desert, the second with dueling birdies.

Sutherland finally broke through on the ninth playoff hole, hitting his 163-yard approach shot close to the flag. He made the putt to win his fourth PGA Tour Champions title after Broadhurst got up-and-down for par from short of the green.

“Kevin hit the shot on the ninth extra hole, he hit a great shot into a couple of feet,” Broadhurst said. “I thought I hit a good shot, but it just hung up in the cold breeze and came up a yard short. Another yard it might have been 10 feet. It was a good playoff.”

Sutherland won at Phoenix Country Club to clinch the season title in 2017. His win this year was only for the tournament title. The season champion won't be crowned until next year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

After returning to the course Monday morning, Sutherland two-putted from 30 feet on No. 17, the seventh playoff hole. Broadhurst had it a little tougher after pulling his approach shot, but he chipped to about 4 feet and made the putt to extend the playoff.

The eighth playoff hole resulted in a birdie. Actually, two to extend the playoff another hole.

Sutherland rolled in a 25-footer on the par-5 18th similar to what he made to force the playoff on Sunday. Broadhurst dropped a 6-footer on top of him to force a ninth playoff hole.

“I made a great putt on 18,” Sutherland said. “I felt pretty confident that Paul was going to make his birdie putt, so I rolled in about a 25 footer there for birdie to kind of keep it going.”

Sutherland and Broadhurst played until it was too dark to see the ball on Sunday, trading one missed birdie putt after another over six playoff holes.

Sutherland had a 20-foot birdie putt lip out on the fifth playoff hole. Broadhurst just missed an 8-footer in near darkness on the sixth playoff hole.

Despite racing around the course and riding in carts between shots, the players finally decided it was just too dark to go on, pushing the finish to early Monday.

Broadhurst has been putting while looking at the hole instead of the ball since returning from the pandemic-caused shutdown, and it worked well as he shot a bogey-free 63 on Sunday to make up a six-shot deficit.

Sutherland led by five shots over Wes Short Jr. after a second-round 64, but he labored through his final round. He rallied to make a 25-foot putt on No. 18 to force the playoff and finish off a 2-under 69.

“I’m proud of the way I played all week. Kevin won and that’s fair enough,” Broadhurst said. “He hit the shot when it mattered and it was a great shot he played into the 17th.”