Golf

Rapiscan Classic champ overcomes sleepless night to clinch win in a lengthy playoff

Kevin Sutherland and Scott Parel shake hands after playing five extra holes until play was suspended due to darkness during the 2019 Rapiscan Systems Classic Sunday at Fallen Oak in Saucier.
Kevin Sutherland and Scott Parel shake hands after playing five extra holes until play was suspended due to darkness during the 2019 Rapiscan Systems Classic Sunday at Fallen Oak in Saucier. Special to the Sun Herald

It took seven sudden death playoff holes — two on Monday — but Kevin Sutherland defeated Scott Parel to win the Rapiscan Classic at Fallen Oak Golf Course.

The tournament was clinched when Sutherland birdied No. 18 on a 20-foot putt after Parel had missed his 27-foot birdie attempt.

It is the longest playoff in Rapiscan history. There was a previous 10-hole playoff in PGA Champions Tour history.

The two golfers battled through five playoff holes in the twilight on Sunday before resuming competition on Monday morning.

“I got a second chance,’’ Sutherland said. “Last night I didn’t sleep well thinking about the putt I missed (on the second hole in the playoff). I got a second chance and took advantage of it.

“When I was playing it for the seventh time, I was really conscious of trying to get it to the left of the pin. You feel like you want to hit to the right but it was always runs to the back of the green. So I wanted a different look. I’ve proved I can’t make it from back there.

“Scott hit a good putt and it showed me how much it would break. And it went right in the middle. What a great feeling!’’

The two golfers played six playoff holes on No. 18 and one on No. 10. They played par golf except when both players bogeyed the second playoff hole. Sutherland missed a 3-footer that extended the playoff then.

“You come out and play like you normally do,’’ Parel said. “I was lucky that he didn’t make that short putt (on the second playoff hole Sunday). I was free rolling it. I didn’t hit that many good shots in the playoff but did make some good putts to hang in there.’’

In fact, Parel had to make a clutch 8-foot putt for par Monday to extend the playoff to a seventh hole.

Parel’s birdie putt on 18 put him in a tie with Sutherland at 7-under and they dueled to a lack of daylight ended action Sunday.

“I have had opportunities here in the past,’’ Sutherland said. “I think I’ve had two seconds before. It just feels great. I love the golf course. I think it is the best golf course we play all year.’’

Billy Andrade finished third at 6-under while Marco Dawson was fourth at 5-under.

Defending champ Steve Stricker finished at 4-under total for the tournament.

Sutherland entered the final round with the largest lead in Rapiscan Systems Classic history with a three-stroke lead over Dawson. He entered Sunday’s final round having owned or shared the lead on eight different occasions.

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