K.J. Choi of Korea won the PGA Tour’s Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass, coming through a sudden-death playoff against America’s David Toms.
Choi and Toms were tied on 13-under-par through 72 holes so the pair headed back to Sawgrass’ treacherous, island green, par-3 17th to begin a playoff. Both players found the putting surface and, after Choi had lagged his birdie effort, Toms had a chance to win. His 18-foot putt for a two looked destined for the cup but it narrowly missed and rolled three feet past.
He then hit a weak par putt that also missed the hole. Choi calmly rolled his putt for a three home and the victory was his. Although delighted with securing the win, the South Korean felt for his playoff opponent.
“As a fellow player, I felt very sorry for him,” Choi said. “Because I know how that feels. And I felt bad for him.”
Toms was philosophical in defeat and had no excuses for his crucial missed putt.
“No spike marks, no ball marks, no nothing,” Toms said. “Maybe a lot of pressure. But other than that, there was no excuse.”
The American can console himself with the fact that his second place finish moved him to 46th on the Official World Ranking, meaning he will avoid having to qualify for the US Open if he stays in the top-50 for another week.
Graeme McDowell of Northern Ireland led by one shot going into the final round but, after finding the trees from the tee on the 6th, his long game fell apart. He found the water four times during the round and limped in with a 79 to finish way down the field.
England’s Luke Donald couldn’t get it going in the final round, though his closing 71 saw him finish in a tie for fourth – his seventh straight top-10 placing.
The Players Championship
TPC Sawgrass, Florida
May 12-15, purse $9,500,000, par 72
1 K.J. Choi (Kor) 70 68 67 70 275 $1,710,000
2 David Toms (USA) 66 68 71 70 275 $1,026,000
3 Paul Goydos (USA) 69 70 69 69 277 $646,000
T4 Luke Donald (Eng) 69 67 71 71 278 $418,000
T4 Nick Watney (USA) 64 71 72 71 278 $418,000
T6 Aaron Baddeley (Aus) 70 67 70 72 279 $287,375
T6 Jason Day (Aus) 69 70 72 68 279 $287,375
T6 Jason Dufner (USA) 69 70 68 72 279 $287,375
T6 J.B. Holmes (USA) 68 69 73 69 279 $287,375
T6 Hunter Mahan (USA) 70 67 73 69 279 $287,375
T6 Alvaro Quiros (Esp) 67 73 68 71 279 $287,375