SCOTTSDALE, Ariz.(AP) Cameron Beckman had the feeling once before, seven long years ago.
That was the only other time he had won on the PGA Tour.
Once again, he found the reason, and the feeling, indescribable.
“It’s just been a tough year,” said Beckman, one of the many journeyman players who rarely find themselves on the leaderboard, let alone at the top. “I honestly was thinking about quitting the game. That’s how bad I felt. I can’t explain to you how good I feel right now. I don’t know what it was and why I did it, but I just felt good all day.”
The 38-year-old Beckman tapped in a par putt on the second playoff hole Sunday to complete a big comeback and beat Kevin Sutherland in the Frys.com Open.
Beckman, 176th on the money list and 447th in the world ranking entering the tournament, had skipped eight weeks this season because of back problems and was in danger of losing his tour card. He already had filled out his application for qualifying school, a process he knows all to well.
“I sat down with my wife and said, ‘What do you think?”’ Beckman said. “I honestly was just trying to finish in the top 150 so I’d get to the (qualifying school) finals.”
With the victory, worth $900,000, he’s exempt for the next two years.
“He was playing with a lot more pressure than I was,” Sutherland said.
Beckman was four shots behind Sutherland at the turn, then made birdies on five of the next seven holes. Sutherland missed putts of 13 and 9 feet that would have won it at the end of regulation and on the first playoff hole, also the 18th.
The second playoff hole was the 464-yard, par-4 17th, and it was a nightmare for Sutherland. His second shot sailed far to the right over a cart path and into the dirt. His third shot went over the green and down a hill.
Beckman, meanwhile, hit his second shot 6 1/2 feet from the hole. He just missed the putt, and the tap-in gave him his second PGA Tour victory. His first was the Southern Farm Bureau Classic in 2001.
“I don’t know, I just had a calmness about me this week, and it just happened,” Beckman said. “It’s just like the last time I won. It just kind of happened. It’s strange. I don’t know what it is.”
While many players were scrambling to finish high enough to earn full exempt status, Sutherland had no such pressure. He entered ranked 32nd on the earnings list and already had qualified for next year’s Masters and British Open.
“I feel good about how I played. A second-place finish is nothing to sneeze at,” Sutherland said, “but right now it’s a little hard to see that through the disappointment.”
It was the second playoff loss for Sutherland this year. He and Sergio Garcia were beaten by Vijay Singh at The Barclays on Aug. 24.
“This one seems a little harder than Barclays for some reason,” Sutherland said. “I had a nice lead on the back side, and it was really nothing that I did wrong. I guess the bogey on 16 hurt. But Cameron played terrific.”
Beckman made the turn at 13 under, then stormed back with birdies on the 10th, 11th, 14th, 15th and 16th holes.
He finally tied it at 18 under when Sutherland missed a 6 1/2-foot par putt on the par-3 16th, snapping his 53-hole streak without a bogey. Beckman finished with a final-round 63, and Sutherland had a 66.
Australian Mathew Goggin closed with a 63 to finish third at 17-under 263. Defending champion Mike Weir also had a 63 to wind up tied with J.J. Henry (64) and second-round leader Arron Oberholser (66) at 14 under.
Sunday was the warmest day yet, with a high near 90 degrees, in what was a perpetually sunny four days of play on the 7,115-yard Raptor Course at Grayhawk Golf Club.
The Frys event, in its second year, was the fifth of seven stops on the tour’s Fall Series.