Winner: Chez Reavie
It had been such a long time for Chez Reavie, but it seems the sweet taste of success never grows old. Even so, Reavie was calm and collected when he lifted his ball from the final hole of the Travelers Championship and raised a salute to the cheering crowd at the TPC River Highlands. It had been 11 years and 250 tournaments since he last felt like this.
“I went through some injuries and some long years there in the middle,” Reavie said. “But it was great because it gave me a good perspective of what life is and what golf is.”
The Travelers started out as a scorekeepers’ feast at the storm-softened par-70 Highlands, with a six-way tie for the lead at 64. Bronson Burgoon birdied four of his first six holes, and Ryan Armour tied his season low. Mexico’s Abraham Ancer shot 30 on his back nine, and Korea’s Kyoung-Hoon Lee had his low to date. Canada’s Mackenzie Hughes holed an 18-footer for birdie on his last hole and Zach Sucher, No. 2,045 in the world, dropped a nine-footer for birdie in the last group on the last hole. Six others were at 65 and 12 were at 66. But the Highlands was not a feast for everyone. Phil Mickelson, Jordan Spieth and Tony Finau, among others, all missed the cut. At the halfway point, Sucher shot 65 and was 11-under 129, and Reavie and Vermonter Keegan Bradley, a New England hero, were two behind on 66s.
Then came the stunning reversal in the third round. Reavie, after falling six behind, ended up six ahead. Sucher, leading by two, ran off four birdies and led by six, then hit a punishing patch. He bogeyed the 10th, missing the green, and caught bunkers at 11 and 12 and double-bogeyed both and shot 71. But Reavie, his playing partner, after a bogey-birdie front, sizzled with seven birdies on the back for a 63, one on a three-foot putt, three on six-footers, and the others from 10, 11 and 24 feet. And Reavie was 16 under and leading Sucher and Bradley by six.
“Zack got some tough breaks early,” Reavie said. “I kind of caught fire at the end.” In the final round, Sucher raced home with five birdies and tied for second with his 67–267, four behind. “It changes the rest of our year, it changes our plans,” Sucher marveled. Bradley posted four birdies coming in, setting off the New England fans. “It felt like a Ryder Cup,” he said. But he double-bogeyed the 17th, shot 67 and tied Sucher, four back.
Reavie had a muted finish. He birdied the fourth from 21 feet, bogeyed No. 8 after missing the green, holed a 14-footer for a birdie at the 17th and finished with a 69 and a 17-under 263 to win by four. He reflected on the hard years. “I enjoy every minute of every week I’m out here now,” Reavie said, “and I don’t think I would necessarily be that way if I didn’t go through those tough times.”