Satoshi Kodaira defeats Si Woo Kim on the third playoff hole
Satoshi Kodaira is a PGA Tour winner now, and to be that he had to overcome a three holes playoff challenge against the reigning THE PLAYERS Champion Si Woo Kim at RBC Heritage on the Hilton Head Island.
Kodaira’s thought on his plaid jacket, “I will probably not wear it regularly,” he said through an interpreter, sending a burst of laughter through the winner’s press conference. “But this is special.”
The 28-year-old Japanese shot a fighting five-under 66 on Sunday to cover up his six-shot deficit from Saturday to join Kim for the playoff at 12-under-272. Kodaira rolled in a winning 25-footer birdie putt on the par-3 17th hole and watched as Kim failed to match him with a long birdie putt of his own.
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Kodaira is not new to winning, but surely surprised a lot of people with his first PGA Tour Title (has won six titles on the Japan Golf Tour), considering the situation on the back nine. Kodaira was charging but still was two-shot away from the leader Kim, until the Korean made three late bogeys and then couldn’t get a 6-footer for birdie and the win at the 18th to avoid a playoff.
The second-day leader, Bryson DeChambeau fell short of a shot along with Luke List to join them in the playoff, with an 11-under-273 finish on Sunday.
List, who lost to Justin Thomas in a playoff at the Honda Classic had a chance of joining the playoff but missed a birdie putt from just under 10-feet on his last hole.
Interestingly enough, the last five winners of the RBC Heritage had trailed at least by three shots after 54 holes. Kodaira reduced a six-shot deficit at the Harbour Town Golf Links after a magnificent 63 on Saturday, aided it with 70 on Sunday for the win.
The third round leader and the Houston Open winner Ian Poulter posted a 4-over-75 round on Sunday consisting six bogeys (five of them came on his last nine) and two birdies, for a total score of nine-under-275 and a T-7th position on the board with Kevin Streelman, Patrick Cantlay, Bill Haas, Byeong Hun An, Chesson Hadley, and Kevin Kisner, the Dell Match Play runner-up.
Rory Sabbatini, the opening round leader dropped 15 spots on Sunday with 3-over-74 for a T-23rd finish on the board with John Huh, Tyrone Van Aswegen, Bud Cauley, Brian Harman, Brandt Snedeker, Charley Hoffman, Matt Kuchar, and C.T. Pan.