Wood's sudden death playoff win caps exciting 2012 DSGO
8/19/2012 (Updated 11:20:54 PM)ENDICOTT -- Heading into the third and final round of the Dick's Sporting Goods Open all eyes were on the final pairing of John Huston, Brad Faxon, and Willie Wood. While Huston and Faxon led, it was Wood who came out on top in a playoff to win his first career Champions Tour Title.
It looked like Huston was going to run away early after holing out from 75 yards on 1 to record an eagle, it was his tournament to lose. However, after the first hole, things went straight downhill for the defending champ, he double bogeyed 2, then bogeyed 4 and 9, triple bogeyed 10, and bogeyed 15 to finish the day at +6. He found the water on three separate holes and his collapse opened the door for a lot of drama on Sunday afternoon.
Huston's group mate and 2-time BC Open Champion Brad Faxon, capitalized. Faxon birdied three holes on the front 9 to put him well in front, holding strong at -14 at the turn. But two bogeys on the back 9, capped off by a two putt after his tee shot missed the green on the par-3 17, put Faxon at -12 heading into the final hole.
Tom Lehman, Kenny Perry and Michael Allen were all tied for 7th heading into the final round. Lehman shot a bogey-free round to end the day at -5 and put him tied with Faxon at -12. Perry also ended the day at -5, capped off by back-to-back birdies on 17 and 18 to also end tied at -12. Perry's group mate, Allen shot a -6 round, highlighted by an eagle on 12 to end his day at -13 in possession of the lead when he headed into the clubhouse.
The biggest surprise was Horseheads native Joey Sindelar who climbed the ranks after being tied for 13th heading into his 12:45 tee time. He also shot a bogey-free -6 round to end his day tied at -12.
Joining the leaders at -12 was Willie Wood. Tied for third and paired with Huston and Faxon, Wood hit a relatively quiet -3 heading into 18 putting him tied with Faxon at -12 heading into the last hole.
Every tournament hopes to have a nail biting finish and this year's Dick's Sporting Goods Open didn't disappoint. Faxon and Wood both had birdie opportunities that would force a three person playoff for the championship.
There has never been a playoff in the brief tenure of the DSGO and Faxon took the first shot at making history. Putting from the fringe on the far side of the green, Faxon's long putt missed by just a few inches and he would tap in for par ending his day at -12 and losing his chance to take home the trophy.
Wood took center stage with a long 35 foot putt staring him in the face. With the large crowd standing silently watching, Wood made his shot count. Scooting across the green, his ball was headed straight for the hole, hanging right on the edge for a few seconds before finally falling in to cap off his day at -13 and force a playoff with Allen.
Back to the 18th tee they went. Wood teed off first, hitting the center of the fairway. But the long break between swings seemed to have its effect on Allen, his tee shot landing in the water just past the camera tower. To make matters worse for Allen, Wood's approach shot hit the back side of the green, around 20 feet away from the pin. Allen landed in the bunker. After chipping out of the bunker and onto the green, all eyes fell to Willie Wood. He just missed the 15-20 footer, but with the chance to win $270,000 on the line, Wood easily tapped in for par to become the champion of the 2012 Dick's Sporting Goods Open, and the first to do so by way of a playoff hole.
After being presented with the trophy, Wood praised the efforts John Karedes, DSGO Tournament Director, and his staff as well as the hard work of En-Joie Superintendent Rocco Greco for the endless hours of hard work he and his staff put in to getting the course back into playing shape after it was devastated by last September's flood. He finished by thanking the fans for their support and said he was very excited to come back to Endicott again next year.
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