Despite a bogey on the 17th hole at En-Joie Golf Course that kept him out of the Dick’s Sporting Goods Open playoff, Brad Faxon was upbeat about his best result on the Champions Tour this season.
“I feel like I kind of came home in a lot of ways,” Faxon, the winner of the 1999 and 2000 PGA Tour’s B.C. Open on the same track in Endicott, N.Y., told the Ithaca Journal Sunday night after a 12-under, T3 finish in the event that Willie Wood won in overtime. “There were so many people pulling for me. I felt like a lot of people remembered ’99 and 2000 like I did certainly.”
Faxon, world renowned for his putting prowess, took the lead after drilling a 25-footer for birdie on the par-4 fifth hole on Sunday. He followed with another birdie to get to 3-under for the day but dropped a stroke with a bogey on No. 8. Even so, Faxon did not surrender his advantage until his bogey on 17 and a birdie on the 18th by Michael Allen, runner-up to Wood in the extra frame.
The New Englander blamed a mishit chip shot for the four on the par-3.
“Just hit it on the hosel of the club and I haven’t done that I don’t think in my life,” Faxon told the Journal. “It wasn’t the best time to experiment with that, but I don’t think that will happen again for a while.”
Still, Faxon was not out of it, and after he split the fairway with his tee shot and hit a 9-iron to the fringe on 18, he faced a 60-foot putt for birdie. The ball almost dipped in as it rolled just past the hole.
Faxon was pleased for Wood, whose 35-foot birdie putt on the 72nd hole put him in the playoff with Allen.
“I’m excited for Willie,” Faxon said. “We’ve been playing since college and that was a pretty nice cool putt to see.”
Wood returned the praise for his long-time buddy from Barrington, R.I., with whom he played in Sunday’s finale.
“It was nice playing with Brad. He and I have been friends for a long, long time, played college golf, Walker Cup together,” Wood told reporters after a par on the first hole of the sudden-death playoff earned him his first win since 1996. “We were partners in the team championship together down in Boca when they used to have team events back in the ’80s, so he and I have known each other for a long time. It was great playing on Sunday in the last group with a good friend.”
Wood and Allen closed at 13-under 203 in regulation after Wood’s final-round 68 and Allen’s 66.
Emily Kay is a regular contributor to New England Golf Monthly. You may follow Kay on Twitter @golfexaminer