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Ken Duke claims first PGA Tour win after play-off

Updated: Sunday, 23 Jun 2013 23:56 | Comments

Ken Duke has his first PGA Tour win under his belt
Ken Duke has his first PGA Tour win under his belt

Ken Duke claimed his maiden PGA Tour title after he beat Chris Stroud on the second play-off hole at the Travelers Championship in Connecticut.

The 44-year-old produced a near-perfect approach to land three feet from the hole and, when Stroud narrowly rolled a 30-yarder wide, he tapped in for birdie to claim an overdue success.

Duke and 31-year-old Stroud, himself yet to win on the PGA Tour, had been left deadlocked after 72 holes on 12 under after former Masters champion Bubba Watson blew out of contention with a triple bogey at the 16th.

That left the winless duo to go head to head in the play-off and Duke initially missed a tough birdie putt on the first play-off hole to claim the title.

Both men returned up the 18th and while Stroud out-drove his more senior rival he was left with it all to do when Duke's sand wedge narrowly crept over the bunker before coming to a stop within three yards.

Stroud could only send his effort 30 yards past the hole and, while his birdie effort went close, Duke was left with a simple finish to claim his first title.

"I've worked hard," he said in an interview on Sky Sports 3 afterwards.

"I've knocked on the door a lot and here we are."

They had looked certain to be joined by Watson in the play-off only for his explosion on the 16th which saw him beaten to third by Graham DeLaet, who picked up a shot at the final hole to finish with a one-under-par 69, one shot ahead of the American.

Watson and Duke had been in a three-way tie for the lead with Stroud at the halfway point today.

Duke then took the outright lead before Watson responded with the sort of form that had taken him three clear at the top of the leaderboard at one point yesterday.

However, it had been a less than auspicious start for overnight leader Watson as he began with a bogey at the par-four fourth before picking up a shot at the sixth.

The American hit another bogey at the eighth before responding immediately with a birdie at the next hole as he turned at 10 under.

There were further birdies at the 10th and 13th as he went ahead of Duke whose clean round of four birdies ended when he dropped a shot at the 14th.

At that point Duke was joined by overnight joint leader DeLaet who dropped a shot at the sixth before birdies at the ninth and 12th.

Duke drew back level with Watson with a birdie at the 15th but the latter went clear again with a birdie at the same hole.

It was nip and tuck but there was disaster for Watson at the par-three 16th as he hit a triple bogey to slide two shots off the lead.

Duke finished with five birdies and a bogey for a four-under-par 66, 12 under overall.

All his rivals were still out on the course with one hole remaining, Stroud the nearest challenger and he calmly picked up a shot at the 18th as he forced a play-off with a chip in to force a play-off.

Webb Simpson and JJ Henry finished in a tie for fifth on nine under one ahead of Ryan Moore and Charley Hoffman with Angel Cabrera - who shot a stand-out 63 - in a five-way tie for ninth.

Justin Rose, the US Open champion, had hoisted himself up the leaderboard to within two shots of the lead at halfway but three bogeys on the back nine scuppered the Englishman's challenge as he finished in a tie for 13th.

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