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Duke breaks through in dramatic finish

ESPN staff
June 23, 2013 « Live County Championship coverage | Chartbeat test »

Travelers Championship leaderboard

Ken Duke persevered through two stunning moments from other players - one that aided him, one that most certainly did not - to claim his maiden PGA Tour title at the Travelers Championship on Sunday.

Duke, the 44-year-old 12-year veteran of the US circuit, won the tournament at TPC River Highlands at the second hole of a sudden death play-off, minutes after seeing Chris Stroud deny him victory in regulation with a dramatic chip-in at the final hole.

Prior to that, however, the pair had both been aided by the sudden demise of Bubba Watson - the former Masters champion triple-bogeying the 16th after finding water to throw away the tournament having led for most of the final round.

Watson's troubles left Duke in temporary possession of the lead, as he carded a final round of 66 to post 12-under in the clubhouse. By the time the final pairings reached the 18th only Stroud could feasibly catch the leader - and he duly did so, finding the cup from 50 feet away over the back of the green to force a play-off.

Then, after both players had halved the first extra hole in pars, Duke birdied the second after striking a majestic iron approach to just three feet to close out the win.

Canadian Graham DeLaet finished third at 11-under, one out of the play-off despite making a birdie at the last, with Watson alone in fourth.

The left-hander was left to rue his club choice at the 16th, where his approach at the 171-yard hole failed to clear the water on the way to an ugly six.

Elsewhere, US Open champion Justin Rose settled for a finish in a share of 13th, the emotional impact of the last few weeks perhaps taking their toll as the Englishman closed with three bogeys down the stretch to finish six-under for the tournament.

At 44, Duke is the oldest first-time winner on the PGA Tour since Ed Dougherty in 1995.

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