Lee Westwood has played golf long enough to be philosophical despite all the times he’s come up short when so very close to victory.
The Englishman, who finished second at the Masters, lost a playoff in Dubai and tied for fourth at The Players Championship this year, won the St. Jude Classic for his second career PGA Tour victory and first since 1998, beating Sweden’s Robert Karlsson on the fourth hole of a sudden-death playoff Sunday in Memphis, Tenn.
“You try to do the right thing all the time,” Westwood said. “It doesn’t always work for you. I’ve been in contention a lot, especially this year, and I suppose I got a break today with other people’s misfortune but made the most of it and took a chance.”
He became the first European to win the tour’s third-oldest event only after Robert Garrigus blew a three-stroke lead on the final hole of regulation with a triple bogey. Garrigus also bogeyed the first playoff hole.
Garrigus said he thought he had a small lead and called it just stupidity.
“It’s little things to win. I’ve got to learn that, and next time I’m in that position I’m going to do it,” Garrigus said.
Westwood and Karlsson went par-par-bogey until they returned to No. 18 again. Westwood stuck his approach 6 feet from the pin and Karlsson left his 43-foot birdie putt about a foot short.
Then Westwood, who went 17 holes between birdies Sunday, rolled in the 6-footer for his second PGA Tour win to go with 20 career European Tour victories.
Westwood, trailing by three shots to start the final round, birdied three holes to grab the lead, but bogeyed No. 17 after flying an 8-iron over the green.
He was ready to leave the course when he was told to stick around.
He wound up taking home a $1.008 million winner’s check after the longest sudden-death playoff at Memphis with a 68-270 total.
“It’s amazing how things pan out,” Westwood said.
LPGA TO PLAY TODAY
The final round of the weather-plagued LPGA State Farm Classic at Panther Creek Country Club in Springfield, Ill., was pushed to today.
Cristie Kerr and Anna Nordqvist held the tournament lead at 20 under late in the final round’s front nine. Na On Min, Jee Young Lee, Katie Futcher, Gwladys Nocera and Na Yeon Choi were three shots off the pace.
A storm cell moved over the course Sunday afternoon, creating lightning strikes and more heavy rain.
U.S. WOMEN WIN
The women from the United States did Harriot and Margaret Curtis proud.
Playing at the Essex County Club in Manchester-by-the-Sea, Mass., the home course of the two women who donated the trophy that began the Curtis Cup in 1932, the U.S. handily defeated Great Britain and Ireland, 121/2-71/2, in the 36th biennial competition between teams of female amateur golfers.
Alexis Thompson, a 15-year-old from Coral Springs, Fla., and 18-year-old Jennifer Johnson of La Quinta, Calif., both took huge leads early in their singles matches.
With the Americans needing two points to retain the cup, Thompson beat Sally Watson, 6 and 5, and Johnson defeated Rachel Jennings, 5 and 4. The U.S. leads the series 27-6-3 and has won seven straight matches.
BJORN HOLDS ON
Denmark’s Thomas Bjorn won the Estoril (Portugal) Open after shooting a 4-under 68 in his final round at Penha Longa.
After taking a three-shot lead over Richard Green into the final round, Bjorn was never in trouble as he compiled 23-under total of 265.