Stricker strikes in Crowne playoff
BY Bruce Young | US PGA Tour | 2009 Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial | Round Four | 01 Jun 2009
Steve Stricker birdied the second extra hole at the Crowne Plaza Colonial invitational to defeat Steve Marino and Tim Clark and win his 5th USPGA Tour title, almost two years after his Barclays victory in 2007.
Stricker was in joint second place and two behind Clark’s lead overnight and had made little progress when he made the turn at even par and still two back. When Clark moved to 19 under with a 25 foot birdie putt at the 13th, surely this would be his week. The South African had been narrowly beaten in this event twelve months ago after falling victim to a stunning final hole birdie by Phil Mickelson but as he walked to the 14th tee he led by two over Marino and Stricker.
Marino had taken the lead early in the day with a fast start but try as he may he could not get things moving forward from there. It appeared to be Clark’s tournament to lose and unfortunately for the Australian Open Champion that is exactly what happened. He bogeyed the 14th after a wayward drive forced him to just hack it up the fairway and he was now just one ahead.
Stricker was playing in the group ahead of Marino and Clark and when he bogeyed the 16th he appeared to have lost his chance but a chip in for birdie at the 17th had him back within one.
Stricker created one last chance in regulation with a fine approach at the 18th but missed and waited while Clark and Marino walked to the 18th with the South African one ahead.
Clark played conservatively from the tee but perhaps with the pressure of his first win so near pulled his tee shot into the trees left and could only chip it out sideways leaving him still with 100 yards or so to negotiate. He was unable to get up and down to save par and when Marino made par a three way playoff would follow.
Clark again had a chance to settle the issue at the first extra hole but missed a putt from 6 feet and then at the second extra hole Stricker hit a superb tee shot to five feet and the title was his.
Marino and Clark tied for second again and both still seek that elusive first PGA Tour victory.
Jason Day, playing at what is effectively now his home golf club, had a great week with his outright 4th placing earning him US$297,600. Day now moves inside the top 60 on the money list with US$785,000 and is all but assured of regaining full PGA Tour status in 2010. Day was particularly impressive in handling the situation today, reeling off a lengthy series of pars before a birdie at the 17th secured his top 5 finish.
The PGA Tour now moves to the Memorial Tournament in Columbus, Ohio.