USA win first Tommy Bahama Challenge
Hank Kuehne's 352-yard drive on the first playoff hole started the U.S. team on the way to victory in the inaugural Tommy Bahama Challenge on Tuesday.
After Kuehne's drive, Chad Campbell had a 50-yard head start for the Americans' second shot in the alternate-ball playoff format. Swinging easily, Campbell left the ball about 10 feet from the cup on the 494-yard 18th hole. Zach Johnson had the first putt and third shot, and it stopped about 2 feet away.
International team captain David Feherty conceded the title before Chris Riley lined up his putt.
David Howell teed off for the international team, which quickly fell two shots behind when Kevin Na's approach shot landed in a lake to the right. The medalist competition also went longer than scheduled. Campbell and Howell tied at 4-under-par 66, but Campbell earned an extra $20,000, plus a 2005 luxury sports car, when backspin carried his second tee shot within 3 feet of the hole, about 12 feet closer than Howell's.
Their "dry heave" competition went from the 10th tee to the 18th green, 81 yards over a lake between the fairways on the Raptor Course at Grayhawk Golf Club.
Each member of the U.S. quartet earned $100,000, while the international team share was $70,000 apiece in the made-for-TV event for promising golfers. Limited to players 30 or younger, the PGA-sanctioned event used medal play to produce a match-play result.
The best score in each 18-hole match was worth one point, with 2 1/2 points needed for a team victory.
Each foursome was made up of two twosomes - Americans against Englishmen Paul Casey, Ian Poulter and Howell, who all played in this year's Ryder Cup, and the South Korea-born Na. Na and Johnson carded 70s in their head-to-head meeting, Poulter beat Kuehne by two strokes with a 68, and Riley's 69 was three shots better than Casey's score.
All four Americans led early on, but only Johnson and Riley were leading by the turn. Casey fell out of contention when he double-bogeyed the 14th hole and bogeyed the 15th. Na had two birdies in the last four holes while Johnson bogeyed No. 16 to squander his three-shot lead. Howell made the most dramatic putt of the tournament, a 40-footer from the fringe on No. 17 to tie Campbell at 4 under.
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