Low-graphic news index |
Saturday, July 7, 2012 - Page updated at 08:00 p.m.
Penner rallies late, wins in playoff
By Scott Hanson
Seattle Times staff
SAMMAMISH — Kevin Penner never got frustrated Friday, even when things looked bleak.
For University of Washington star Chris Williams, the defending champion, it was just one of those days at the Sahalee Players Championship at Sahalee Country Club after just missing being the first player to win the event twice.
Penner, a UNLV senior-to-be from Sammamish, made up a two-shot deficit to Williams on the final hole of regulation, then won on the first hole of a three-man playoff.
"In the past, I would have got frustrated when I hit good shots but wasn't rewarded," Penner said after winning one of the country's premier amateur events. "On the 18th, I figured I needed an eagle."
As it turns out, all he needed was a birdie on the par-5 hole. Williams hit his drive into the lip of the bunker, was forced to chunk it out and then made a bogey when he couldn't get up and down from the greenside bunker.
That dropped Williams to 9-under 272 for the event, tied with Penner and Ben Geyer, who was playing ahead of Williams and Penner and birdied the final two holes to get to 9 under.
"Zero," Williams said when asked how many times in 30 he should make a bogey on that hole, one of the course's easiest. "I should make a par blindfolded."
The first playoff hole was the 18th, and Penner had a lot of confidence.
"I had just made two great shots on that hole, so I felt really good," said Penner, who played at Eastlake High School. When I hit it on the fairway, I knew I could make a birdie."
That he did, making a 6-foot putt after Williams had missed about a 20-footer for birdie. Geyer was left with about a 4 ½-footer for birdie, so Penner figured he had to make his putt to stay alive.
"After I made it, I told my caddie, 'That was a huge putt,' " Penner said.
It became a winning putt when Geyer's putt slid by the hole.
"I didn't think he would miss it," Penner said. "This is my biggest win. There were a lot of local people out here watching me."
For Williams, the second-ranked amateur in the world who will be a senior at UW, the day began badly when he overcooked his eggs, then was pulled over for a traffic infraction on the way to the tournament and arrived six minutes before his tee time.
"I hit my worst drive of the week on the 18th," he said about the final hole in regulation. "Then I didn't get it done in the playoff. I am very disappointed."
Finishing sixth at 6 under was Californian Beau Hossler, who will be a senior in high school this year. Hossler, 17, made national news last month when he was leading the U.S. Open during the second round and he made the cut at last week's PGA Tour event in torrid temperatures outside Washington, D.C.
"I am tired," said Hossler, who wasn't happy with his play this week. "I want to go home and have four days where I don't play any golf at all."
Copyright © The Seattle Times Company
Low-graphic news index
Graphic-enabled home page