Chez Reavie Outlasts Bradley, Sucher for Win
TPC River Highlands Shines for annual Travelers Champ
CROMWELL – The pressure mounted as Chez Reavie‘s six-stroke lead after Round 3 dwindled to one single shot as he and challenger Keegan Bradley, of Vermont, teed-off on the 17th hole of this grand golf course in rural Central Connecticut, just a few miles from Hartford.
Reavie’s fate looked as though it would resemble that of Zack Sucher who held a similar six stroke lead over the tourney leader and his PGA Tour pro scavengers who were backing up the United Van Lines trucks for another day of moving the leaderboard of The Travelers Championship.
Reavie shot a steaming 28 on the TPC River Highlands’ “Back 9” to post a seven-under (63) on Saturday to stake his six-stroke lead. A day later, it looked as though the work he put in on Moving Day was going to be wasted away as one of New England’s favorite sons of golf tightened the vice that is the lifeblood of the tour, as in the vice grip of pressure constantly squeezing the leader.
Not today, though, as the pressure reversed course and it was Bradley who buckled on the 17th hole green. Bradley’s play-by-play card tells the tale as you read it from bottom to top:
Shot 6 in the hole
Shot 5 putt 4 ft 6 in., 6 in. to hole
Shot 4 putt 21 ft 4 in., 3 ft 7 in. to hole
Shot 3 75 ft 11 in. to green, 17 ft 5 in. to hole
Shot 2 186 yds to left intermediate, 88 ft 5 in. to hole
Shot 1 259 yds to fairway bunker, 157 yds to hole
That combination, a double-bogey six, played against Reavie’s “birdie three” and the tournament was clinched.
“I knew Keegan was going to come out firing today and ready to go. I’ve played a lot of golf with him,: said Reavie. “He’s a fantastic player. I just was fortunate enough to stay patient and make that big putt on 17 to give myself a little cushion on 18.
“Being in the second to the last group at the U.S. Open last week, that definitely gave me a lot of confidence coming into this week, and in particular into today. I played really well on Sunday at the U.S. Open, and I tried to treat this the same as I did then,” he said.
Overall on the final round, Reavie hit 11 of 14 fairways and 15 of 18 greens in regulation, finishing at 17-under for the tournament. The 37-year old Reavie pocketed $1,296,000 for his weekend effort and won on the tour for the first time since the RBC Canadian Open in 2008 while Sucher and Bradley tied for 2nd place at 13 under; and Vaughn Taylor finished in 4th at 12 under
The double-bogey dropped Bradley into the tie for 2nd and the botched putt cost him some $300,000, simply blamed on losing his concentration after acknowledging he’d lost a chance at the tournament title. Bradley and Sucher each earned a $633,600 consolation prize. Taylor earned $345,600 for his fourth place runner-up role.
In the end, the deep field of players competing at the highest level combined with near flawless event planning and execution to make the Travelers Championship a new “Major” of golf, possibly its “6th Major,” after The Masters, the PGA, The US and British Opens and The Players Championship. Mostly, it’s the field of players who decide which tournaments are the best.
“I’ve always loved the layout since the first time I came here,” said Reavis after his trophy and hefty check presentation. “Just the way the holes are shaped you can shape shots and think around the greens. It’s a great challenge and something I really enjoy.
“The people, except for the one or two knuckleheads today, have been great,” he added, speaking of the fans. “Everyone at Travelers, I mean, they just make it such a fun, special week for the players and their families. It’s a company that I like to support, and I feel privileged to come here and play in their tournament.”
That feeling – that specialness – is quite contagious to the point where The Travelers Championship just might be the best organized event in American sports history, each and every year. It’s that great.