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Mahan wins first PGA title in playoff at Travelers

Hunter Mahan
Kyle Auclair/Getty Images
Hunter tied for fifth at the Shell Houston Open in April.

CROMWELL, Conn. (AP) — Hunter Mahan was not the fan favorite when he came down the 18th fairway trying for the Travelers Championship.

That honor went to Jay Williamson, a 40-year old journeyman who had played baseball and hockey at nearby Trinity College.

Williamson, playing on a sponsor's exemption, needed the win to get back his tour card.

But after a dramatic 72nd hole Sunday, and an even more dramatic playoff hole, it was Mahan who earned his first PGA Tour victory with a 2-foot birdie putt.

"It's only natural (fans) cheer hard for guys they kind of recognize and know,'' Mahan said. "There's an emotional connection between that kind of player and the fans and stuff and it energizes on every shot, it makes it even better and better.''

Mahan shot a 65, but was trailing by a stroke on the final hole.

When Williamson hit a 161-yard second shot to within 12 feet, the crowd roared.

Then Mahan hit a 144-yard approach to within 7 feet.

Williamson missed a 12-footer for birdie, and the crowd groaned. Mahan put his shot in the back of the cup, pumping his fist and sending the pair back to the tee.

"I just kept plugging away,'' he said. "Jay gave me a little opening on 18 and I'm glad I made it.''

Williamson went right after the flag again in the playoff and his second shot landed just over 7 feet away.

Mahan then hit his 134-yard approach to within 2 feet.

Williamson pushed his putt right, and could only watch as Mahan made what was almost a gimme.

"I hit it too hard and I hit it too high,'' Williamson said. "I'm not proud of either putt, but I'm proud of the way I played today.''

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