Gary Woodland is a PGA Tour winner for the first time since 2013.
Woodland, who played golf at the University of Kansas from 2003-07, beat Chez Reavie with a par on the first hole of a playoff Sunday at the Waste Management Phoenix Open in Scottsdale, Ariz.
“I’m kind of overwhelmed right now,” Woodland said. “I’ve played well the last five years, I think I had six second-place finishes. I just haven’t put four rounds together. That was the struggle last year.”
Woodland birdied three of the last four holes for a 7-under 64 — the best round of the day — and finished at 18-under 266 at TPC Scottsdale.
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He 2-putted for birdie on the par-5 15th hole, curled in an 8-footer on the par-3 16th, made a 5-footer on the par-4 17th and parred the par-4 18th.
“Really, I was in the zone,” Woodland said. “I really had it going. My caddie asked me when we got done, did I know I made nine birdies? I didn’t even know that I did that. I knew I was just trying to give myself a chance. I knew there was some birdie holes down the stretch. I knew the guys behind me could make birdies. I was just trying to give myself a chance every hole.”
He celebrated with his wife, Gabby, and son, Jaxson Lynn, who was born a month premature in June. They were expecting twins, but lost one of the fetuses in a miscarriage.
“For him to be here, it’s obviously a miracle,” Woodland said. “I’m just so excited to share this with him and my family. Hopefully, it’s the start of something special.”
A Topeka native, Woodland shot a par-4 on the playoff hole to defeat Reavie, who birdied Nos. 17 and 18 to force the playoff.
In the playoff on 18, Woodland hit short of the green from the left fairway bunker and chipped to within 2 feet to set up his third PGA Tour victory.
Woodland’s last victory was the Reno-Tahoe Open in 2013. His other PGA win was the 2011 Transitions Championship.
“It’s been coming. We knew it the last month,” Woodland said. “And sure enough today it all clicked and I made some putts early, gave me some confidence and really hit the ball well coming down the stretch.”
Reavie, who was born in Wichita and played college golf at Arizona State, made a 20-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole before bogeying the playoff hole. He missed the green left in the playoff and couldn’t get an 11-footer to fall.
“I carried the sign board here growing up when I was in high school and junior high, and to have a chance to win the tournament this week was a lot of fun,” Reavie said.
The crowd was estimated at 64,273 for a record weeklong total of 719,179. On Saturday, 216,818 jammed the grounds, the biggest turnout in golf history.
The Star’s Jesse Newell contributed to this story.