Jordan Spieth hit a 56-foot shot from a greenside bunker to 7 inches and beat Patrick Cantlay with the tap-in par putt on the first hole of a playoff Sunday in the RBC Heritage at Hilton Head Island, S.C.
Playing four groups ahead of Cantlay, Spieth birdied Harbour Town’s par-4 18th lighthouse hole in regulation, holing a 10-footer for a 5-under-par 66 and 13-under 271 total. Cantlay parred the 18th in regulation for a 68.
When Spieth finished, he was a stroke behind Shane Lowry. But Lowry’s chip on the par-3 14th raced across the green and into the water, leading to double bogey. He finished a stroke back after a 69.
In the playoff, Cantlay also hit into the front bunker, with his lie looking like a fried egg. He blasted 35 feet past the cup and missed the par putt.
Three strokes behind Harold Varner III entering the round, Spieth eagled both front-nine par 5s to get into the mix.
Spieth won his 13th PGA Tour title and second straight on Easter Sunday after taking the Valero Texas Open a year ago to end a four-year drought.
Next Easter Sunday? The final round of the Masters.
“That’s good vibes,” said Spieth, a three-time Masters champion.
Cam Davis (63) also was a stroke back with Varner (70), J.T. Poston (64), Cameron Young (66), Sepp Straka (68), and Matt Kuchar (68).
Spieth has won from the bunker before. He beat Daniel Berger with a greenside bunker shot on the first extra hole at the 2017 Travelers Championship.
Others besides Cantlay, who missed a 15-footer for birdie on his 72nd hole, had a chance to catch Spieth. Straka tied Spieth at 13 under with a birdie on the 17th, then bogeyed the final hole after his approach found some gnarly long grass in front of the green. Varner had birdie chances on each of his last four holes, yet could not convert any of them.
Spieth took off with the early eagles. On the second hole, he holed out from a greenside bunker. On the fifth hole, he reached the green in two and rolled in a 24-footer as the gallery erupted in cheers.
Spieth reached 13 under with a birdie on the eighth before falling back to 11 under with bogeys on the ninth and 11th. He moved into striking position with a birdie on the 13th, then struck his approach to the drama-filled lighthouse hole to 10 feet and posted at 13 under.
LPGA — Hyo Joo Kim staved off a late charge from Hinako Shibuno to win the LPGA Tour’s LOTTE Championship Saturday.
Kim closed with a 1-under 71 — following a bogey on the par-4 17th with a tap-in birdie on the par-5 18th — to finish at 11-under 277, two shots clear of Shibuno at breezy Hoakalei Country Club in Ewa Beach, Hawaii.
Kim earned $300,000 for her fifth LPGA Tour title.
“There were a lot of expectations but also a lot of support coming from friends and family as well,” said Kim, who won a major at age 19 in the 2014 Evian Championship. “There have been ups and downs and I think I am at the up part right now and I feel very proud, a little confident about the future and the outlook looks bright for me and I feel like I can do better moving forward.”
The 26-year old South Korean star had a three-stroke lead after both the second and third rounds and held off a final-round push from Shibuno, the Japanese player who a bogey-free 70.
Kim played the front nine in 1 under. She put her approach on the par-5 fifth hole, which played at 540 yards, inside of 3 feet to to set up a birdie. She birdied No. 8, but bogeyed the par-3 ninth hole that went from a third-round yardage of 146 yards to 184 for the last round.
Kim birdied No. 18 after a bit of drama. She missed the fairway with her tee shot and found the right rough. Her second shot crossed the fairway and nestled into the first cut of the left rough. With her third, however, Kim recovered with a pitch shot that left her with a tap-in,
Kim is one of 10 players who have played in all 10 LOTTE Championships since the tournament debuted in 2012.
“I have been playing in the LOTTE Championship since the inaugural championship and then because LOTTE is my personal sponsor I always wanted to win and do well,” she said.
Shibuno left herself with just over 200 yards to the front of the green with her second shot on 18, but her ball hit the lip of a greenside bunker and fell back in. She went on to par the hole.
“I was having very fun playing with her. My putting was a little, you know, couldn’t go in, so that was the [difference] with her,” Shibuno said.
Hye-Jin Choi was third at 7 under after a 69.
Brianna Do, who played in the final group alongside Kim and Shibuno, started the round three strokes back of the lead, but struggled with a 77 and tied for 12th. Do was seeking to become just the third local qualifier to win an LPGA Tour event and the first since Brooke Henderson in the 2015 Portland Classic.