ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. (AP) — Charles Howell III made a 15-foot birdie putt on the second hole of a playoff with Patrick Rodgers on Sunday in the RSM Classic to end an 11-year victory drought.
Howell dropped to his knees and buried his head in his hands, then tearfully embraced his wife and two children. He earned ,152,000 and a return trip to his hometown of Augusta, Georgia, in April to play in the Masters for the first time since 2012.
After Rodgers sent a birdie attempt of 21 feet past the cup on the second extra hole, Howell’s putt died in the cup and capped a comeback in which he went bogey-double bogey on his first two holes to lose the lead he had held through the first three rounds.
Howell closed with a 3-under 67, birdieing Nos. 15-17, to match Rodgers at 19-under 263 in the final PGA Tour event of the year. After making the 36-hole cut on the 2-under number, Rodgers shot 61-62 on the weekend.
Howell had a 22-foot birdie attempt on the final hole to win in regulation, but the ball turned away from the cup inches from the edge. Both players had birdie looks on the first playoff hole, with Rodgers missing from 27 feet and Howell from 14 feet off the front fringe.
The 39-year-old Howell won for the first time since the 2007 at Riviera. He also won in 2002 at Kingsmill.
Rodgers’ 17-under 123 weekend was one shot off Troy Matteson’s PGA Tour record for consecutive rounds of 122 set the 2009 Frys.com Championship.