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Friday, September 30, 2016

Playoff Birdie Gives Austin First Win Since 2007

MADISON, Mississippi (AFP) – Woody Austin, a 49-year-old American who had not won since 2007, birdied the first playoff hole on Sunday to capture the $3 million U.S. PGA Sanderson Farms Championship.

Austin won a three-man playoff over American compatriots Daniel Summerhays and Cameron Beckman to capture his fourth career US PGA crown after they all finished 72 holes on 20-under par 268.

“It has been a long road and a long time,” Austin said. “I’m really ecstatic. Now I’ve got a job again.”

Austin became the eighth-oldest U.S. PGA winner and the oldest since Fred Funk won the Mayakoba Golf Classic at age 50 in 2007.

Austin, who will be eligible for the 50-and-over circuit in January, won two prior playoffs for PGA titles, at the 1995 Buick Open for his first tour triumph and again in the 2004 Buick Championship. His other title came at the 2007 St. Jude Championship.

While the world’s top players spent this week at the British Open, where Phil Mickelson took his fifth major crown earlier Sunday, Austin claimed the $540,000 top prize and a berth in next month’s PGA Championship by winning the event.

Austin fired a final-round 67, as did Beckman. Summerhays closed with a 69.

Beckman, who won this event in 2001, has not won a U.S. PGA event since the tour’s 2010 stop in Mexico.

Summerhays, who shared the 54-hole lead was denied his first tour triumph for the second week in a row.

Last week at the John Deere Classic, Summerhays took a bogey on the final hole to miss a playoff by one stroke. On Sunday, he birdied the last two holes to make the playoff only to miss out once again.

In the playoff, Austin sank an eight-foot birdie putt while Austin missed a six-foot birdie bid and Summerhays found water on his second shot.

“Congrats to Woody,” Summerhays said. “That was an amazing putt he made — 49-years-old and kicking all of our butts. Hats off to him.”

American Nicholas Thompson was fourth on 270, one stroke ahead of countrymen Billy Andrade and Kyle Reifers. Americans Chad Campbell and Bill Lunde shared seventh on 272.