From SB Nation At a place where he’s won and also memorably blew up at his caddie, Bubba Watson puts on a show to take the Travelers in extra holes.

The full Bubba Watson experience was on display Sunday at the Travelers Championship. The two-time Masters champ and former winner at this event:

  • Bombed drives
  • Attempted shots others could not even dream up
  • Made improbable eagles
  • Trash talked fans
  • Demonstrably complained about an unfortunate break
  • Unnecessarily blew a three-shot lead with four holes to play
  • Pulled off extraordinary shots to escape in and then win a playoff

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It was all there. For most of the afternoon, it appeared that no one would come close to Bubba, who was overwhelming TPC River Highlands, a place where he has won before and always seems to contend. And then all of a sudden he had to execute an unlikely up-and-down just to force a playoff with Paul Casey.

On the second extra hole, Casey got sloppy and ended the high-wire act for Bubba. Watson ripped his drive down the center, put his approach in the middle of the green and then poured in a birdie putt while the Englishman fiddled around with a double bogey. The smooth and easy last hole was a departure from everything we’d watched out of Bubba over the preceding two hours. He emerged with his eighth career PGA Tour win. Since 2010, only Rory McIlroy, the No. 1 player in the world, has more.

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After predictably bombing out early from the U.S. Open last week, Bubba showed up to Hartford and promptly opened with an 8-under round of 62. He spent most of the tournament in sole possession of the lead, but had to work for it at the start of Sunday’s round. Back-to-back birdies on his first two holes — including one in which he trash talked a fan for giving him terrible advice — put him in front for what looked to be a comfortable Sunday march to another title.

Bubba let the rest of the field hang around with 10 straight pars. Casey, his former UGA teammate Brian Harman and Graham DeLaet were the primary chasers throughout the afternoon. Bubba seemed to slam the door shut with an astounding eagle at the par-5 13th hole. From a fairway bunker, he pounded an approach shot, opting to go for the green over the water — something DeLaet, his playing partner, wouldn’t even attempt from the center of the fairway. But there was Bubba, dropping this sand shot right in the heart of the putting surface. He made the shot count with the eagle putt.

It should not have been a contest after that. But Bubba did what he does, and needlessly tried to drive the green with an enormous cut driver at the par-4 15th. He scrambled to make par at what should be an easy birdie hole. The cut driver was repeated again at the 17th, but it overcooked into another bunker down the left side and he could not recover. He gave a shot back and dropped even with Casey at 16-under. The three-shot lead was gone, and he had to sweat it out in extra holes with more up-and-down play.

Whatever you think of Bubba, it’s always interesting to have him in the hunt at a golf tournament. Normally on the Sunday after a major, a tournament would sleepily fly under the radar. But Twitter ignited (mostly with unkind words) when Bubba attempted all manner of shots and nearly imploded to give his multi-shot cushion away down the stretch. It made the Travelers Championship worth watching late in the final round.

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Bubba will continue to be one of the most controversial players in the game. Most who follow it closely cannot stand him and don’t like to see him succeed. But him being relevant, and a win just a week after another Jordan Spieth major title, is good for the game.

The Tour now swings down to West Virginia and the Greenbrier Classic, where Tiger Woods will again try to play some respectable golf. Here are the final results from the Travelers:

Place Player Score Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Round 4 Total
1 Bubba Watson (Playoff win) -16 62 67 68 67 264
2 Paul Casey -16 67 68 64 65 264
3 Brian Harman -15 66 65 65 69 265
4 Graham DeLaet -14 67 66 64 69 266
5 Carl Pettersson -13 65 66 70 66 267
6 Zach Johnson -12 65 70 64 69 268
T7 Luke Donald -11 68 68 67 66 269
T7 Bo Van Pelt -11 70 68 65 66 269
T7 Mark Wilson -11 66 68 67 68 269
T10 Ken Duke -10 69 68 67 66 270
T10 Jason Gore -10 64 68 69 69 270
T10 Jon Curran -10 67 67 67 69 270
T10 Chris Stroud -10 65 67 68 70 270
T10 Brandt Snedeker -10 68 68 63 71 270
T15 Martin Laird -9 70 67 67 67 271
T15 Brendon Todd -9 67 70 67 67 271
T15 Nicholas Thompson -9 66 67 70 68 271
T15 Steven Bowditch -9 68 68 69 66 271
T15 Mark Anderson -9 67 71 65 68 271
T20 Seung-yul Noh -8 64 69 71 68 272
T20 Gary Woodland -8 66 69 68 69 272
T20 Kyle Stanley -8 67 68 68 69 272
T20 David Toms -8 69 67 66 70 272
T20 Brice Garnett -8 66 69 66 71 272
T25 Scott Pinckney -7 67 71 67 68 273
T25 Tony Finau -7 68 69 66 70 273
T25 Danny Lee -7 66 67 69 71 273
T25 Brian Stuard -7 64 67 71 71 273
T25 Harris English -7 64 71 67 71 273
T25 Brendan Steele -7 67 71 68 67 273
T25 Francesco Molinari -7 67 66 69 71 273
T25 William McGirt -7 67 69 66 71 273
T25 Billy Horschel -7 67 69 66 71 273
T25 Chez Reavie -7 70 65 71 67 273
T25 Cheng Tsung Pan -7 67 68 71 67 273
T25 Chad Campbell -7 68 70 69 66 273
T25 Scott Langley -7 65 68 73 67 273
T25 Sergio Garcia -7 67 68 66 72 273
T39 Keegan Bradley -6 64 69 71 70 274
T39 Morgan Hoffmann -6 67 71 67 69 274
T39 Marc Leishman -6 70 67 68 69 274
T39 Nick Watney -6 69 64 70 71 274
T39 Cameron Smith -6 73 65 68 68 274
T39 Colt Knost -6 67 70 69 68 274
T39 Chad Collins -6 70 67 69 68 274
T39 Robert Garrigus -6 65 72 70 67 274
T39 Patrick Rodgers -6 68 70 63 73 274
T48 Jason Kokrak -5 69 66 69 71 275
T48 John Peterson -5 70 66 69 70 275
T48 Spencer Levin -5 68 68 67 72 275
T48 Jim Renner -5 67 68 70 70 275
T48 Aaron Baddeley -5 68 66 68 73 275
T48 Jeff Overton -5 69 69 71 66 275
T54 Byron Smith -4 69 67 69 71 276
T54 Alexandre Rocha -4 66 70 69 71 276
T54 Scott Brown -4 65 67 73 71 276
T54 Cameron Percy -4 69 69 68 70 276
T54 Derek Ernst -4 68 67 67 74 276
T54 Jhonattan Vegas -4 66 69 67 74 276
T60 Steven Alker -3 70 68 68 71 277
T60 Tyrone van Aswegen -3 68 69 69 71 277
T60 Jonathan Randolph -3 67 69 71 70 277
T60 J.J. Henry -3 68 67 72 70 277
T64 Bryce Molder -2 66 71 70 71 278
T64 David Lingmerth -2 68 68 72 70 278
T64 Tom Hoge -2 68 70 73 67 278
T64 Jon Rahm -2 68 69 69 72 278
T68 Will MacKenzie E 65 69 72 74 280
T68 Jim Herman E 67 71 70 72 280
T68 Tom Gillis E 65 71 74 70 280
T71 Mark Hubbard 1 68 68 70 75 281
T71 Eric Axley 1 68 70 70 73 281

 

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