SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) — The putt to extend the playoff looked like a tap-in to Kenny Perry. Maybe 14 inches. His opponents saw it as somewhat longer. Closer to 3 feet, they said.
Bottom line: Perry missed.
As a result, David Eger and Mark McNulty won the better-ball Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf on the second playoff hole Sunday against Perry and Scott Hoch.
Eger and McNulty, who started four shots off the lead in the 54-hole event at The Club at Savannah Harbor, shot 11-under 61 in the final round for 27-under 189. Perry and Hoch shot 64 to get into the playoff.
Second-round co-leaders Wayne Levi and Keith Fergus finished with 66 for 26-under 190, tied for third with Russ Cochran and Mark Weibe (60), David Frost and Michael Allen (62), Corey Pavin and Tom Lehman (64) and Ian Baker-Finch and Joe Ozaki (64).
In the playoff, both teams settled for par on the 18th, a 457-yard, par-4. They returned to play the hole again. This time, all four players failed to hold the sloped green with their approaches but all chipped fairly close.
But it ended when, after McNulty tapped in for par, Hoch and Perry both missed short putts to extend the match – Perry’s ball lipping out.
“It’s a 14-inch putt that you don’t even think much of,” Perry said. “But, when it’s all on the line, things change and I pushed it and it didn’t go in. So typical.
“It’s the only bogey we made all week. We didn’t come close to making a bogey all week and then to do that in a playoff ….”
McNulty said afterward that Perry’s ball was outside his, which he estimated to be about three feet from the cup. Still, it was a putt nearly everyone figured Perry could easily tap in.
“I was very surprised,” Eger said. “I never expected Kenny to miss that putt.”
Perry-Hoch came to the final hole at 27-under, tied with McNulty-Eger, who had been in the clubhouse for nearly an hour. Perry’s birdie putt for the outright lead from about 30 feet hit the right edge of the cup but wouldn’t fall.
“You know, it’s a tough hole and I thought I made birdie to win the thing,” Perry said. “Hit the prettiest putt I’ve ever seen. Thought it would go in and didn’t. Just wasn’t meant to be.”
Eger had made a putt of nearly 40 feet on the final hole of regulation to get his team into the playoff.
“We had nearly an hour to wait to see if our score would hold up,” Eger said. “We sat outside, in the shade near the clubhouse. We didn’t want to go inside and get too cooled off by the air conditioning.”
Perry, who played in only two Champions Tour events in 2010, is still considered a rookie on the senior circuit. This was his second senior event this season and his first Legends.
“It was a great week,” he said. “I mean, I knew, I thought starting out today, I had 28 (under) in my head. I said, ‘We’ve got to get to 28 somehow.’ When we got to 27 with two to play, I thought, ‘Man, we’re going to be able to do this thing.’ And we just came up one short.”
It was the third consecutive year the Legends has been decided by a playoff on the island layout in the Savannah River, each time going two extra holes.
Eger and McNulty each earned $230,000 for the win. Lehman remained atop the Schwab Cup standings with 850 points, 290 ahead of John Cook who withdrew after teammate Joey Sindelar hurt his back and was unable to continue.