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Duke earns first win in Travelers playoff

10:41 PM, Jun 23, 2013   |    comments
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Cromwell, CT (Sports Network) - Ken Duke birdied the second playoff hole Sunday to defeat Chris Stroud and win the Travelers Championship.

Duke closed with a 4-under 66 to get in first at 12-under-par 268. In the next group, Chris Stroud chipped in for birdie to tie Duke at minus-12. The closing birdie gave Stroud a round of 67 at TPC River Highlands.

The pair returned to the 18th for the playoff. Duke found the putting surface with his approach before Stroud dumped his into a bunker. Stroud blasted to six feet and then watched as Duke 2-putted for par.

Stroud drained his par effort to extend the playoff.

They played the 18th again. After they both found the fairway off the tee, Duke stuffed his approach within two feet of the cup. Stroud knocked his second to about 25 feet and 2-putted for par.

Duke kicked in his short birdie effort to earn his first PGA Tour title.

"I've worked hard. I had a great session with Mr. Toski last week," Duke said of his coach Bob Toski, who won this title in 1953. "I've knocked on the door a lot, but this is what it's all about."

Graham DeLaet managed a 1-under 69 to end one back at minus-11. Bubba Watson triple-bogeyed the 16th to drop back to 10-under par. He parred the last three to wrap up a round of 70.

Webb Simpson (65) and J.J. Henry (68) shared fifth at 9-under-par 271.

U.S. Open champion Justin Rose tripped to 1-over 71 that left him tied for 13th at minus-6.

Watson and Stroud were among those battling for the lead on the front nine. Watson, who had two birdies and two bogeys on the front nine, birdied the 10th, 13th and 15th to move one clear at 13-under. However, he dumped his tee shot at the par-3 16th in the water and that led to a triple bogey, which dropped him to 10-under.

Duke played the front nine in 1-under with a birdie at the second to go with eight pars. He flew up the leaderboard with three birdies in a 4-hole span from the 10th to get to 12-under.

"I got an unbelievable break on 10," said Duke, as his approach bounced off a tree to within six feet of the hole.

The 44-year-old stumbled to a bogey at the 14th, but bounced back with a 6- foot birdie putt at the 15th to get back to minus-12. He calmly parred the last three, then waited to see what would happen.

Stroud birdied the par-5 sixth to move to 10-under. He parred the other eight holes on the front nine.

Around the turn, Stroud birdied the 15th to get within one. He parred his next two holes, then knocked his approach just over the green at the last. Stroud chipped in for birdie to force the extra session.

"I hit three really good shots in the playoff, but it wasn't enough. Congrats to Ken Duke," Stroud said

NOTES: Duke earned $1.098 million for the win ... This was Duke's first tour win and it came in his 187th career tour start ... He was the sixth first-time winner in the last eight years at this event ... Duke is the 10th first-time winner of the season on the PGA Tour ... Watson fell to 1-5 when leading after 54 holes ... Last year's winner Marc Leishman closed with a 73 to end in a share of 30th at 3-under 277 ... The PGA Tour heads to Washington, DC, for the AT&T National, where last year's champ Tiger Woods will not defend his title due to an elbow injury.

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