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:

PlacePlayerScoreRound 1Round 2Round 3Round 4Total
1Bubba Watson (Playoff win)-1662676867264
2Paul Casey-1667686465264
3Brian Harman-1566656569265
4Graham DeLaet-1467666469266
5Carl Pettersson-1365667066267
6Zach Johnson-1265706469268
T7Luke Donald-1168686766269
T7Bo Van Pelt-1170686566269
T7Mark Wilson-1166686768269
T10Ken Duke-1069686766270
T10Jason Gore-1064686969270
T10Jon Curran-1067676769270
T10Chris Stroud-1065676870270
T10Brandt Snedeker-1068686371270
T15Martin Laird-970676767271
T15Brendon Todd-967706767271
T15Nicholas Thompson-966677068271
T15Steven Bowditch-968686966271
T15Mark Anderson-967716568271
T20Seung-yul Noh-864697168272
T20Gary Woodland-866696869272
T20Kyle Stanley-867686869272
T20David Toms-869676670272
T20Brice Garnett-866696671272
T25Scott Pinckney-767716768273
T25Tony Finau-768696670273
T25Danny Lee-766676971273
T25Brian Stuard-764677171273
T25Harris English-764716771273
T25Brendan Steele-767716867273
T25Francesco Molinari-767666971273
T25William McGirt-767696671273
T25Billy Horschel-767696671273
T25Chez Reavie-770657167273
T25Cheng Tsung Pan-767687167273
T25Chad Campbell-768706966273
T25Scott Langley-765687367273
T25Sergio Garcia-767686672273
T39Keegan Bradley-664697170274
T39Morgan Hoffmann-667716769274
T39Marc Leishman-670676869274
T39Nick Watney-669647071274
T39Cameron Smith-673656868274
T39Colt Knost-667706968274
T39Chad Collins-670676968274
T39Robert Garrigus-665727067274
T39Patrick Rodgers-668706373274
T48Jason Kokrak-569666971275
T48John Peterson-570666970275
T48Spencer Levin-568686772275
T48Jim Renner-567687070275
T48Aaron Baddeley-568666873275
T48Jeff Overton-569697166275
T54Byron Smith-469676971276
T54Alexandre Rocha-466706971276
T54Scott Brown-465677371276
T54Cameron Percy-469696870276
T54Derek Ernst-468676774276
T54Jhonattan Vegas-466696774276
T60Steven Alker-370686871277
T60Tyrone van Aswegen-368696971277
T60Jonathan Randolph-367697170277
T60J.J. Henry-368677270277
T64Bryce Molder-266717071278
T64David Lingmerth-268687270278
T64Tom Hoge-268707367278
T64Jon Rahm-268696972278
T68Will MacKenzieE65697274280
T68Jim HermanE67717072280
T68Tom GillisE65717470280
T71Mark Hubbard168687075281
T71Eric Axley168707073281

 

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