Unheralded Duke Earns First PGA Victory
American shot putter Adam Nelson reacts to the crowd after being honored as the 2004 Olympic champion during a ceremony at the U.S. Championships athletics meet, Sunday, June 23, 2013, in Des Moines, Iowa. Nelson was officially elevated to Olympic champion last month, taking the gold that was stripped from a Ukrainian rival for doping. Nelson finished second in Athens behind Yuriy Bilonog, whose gold medal was removed by the International Olympic Committee in December after his reanalyzed sample tested positive for steroids. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Cromwell, Conn. — Journeyman Ken Duke made a 2½ foot birdie putt on the second playoff hole yesterday to beat Chris Stroud at the Travelers Championship to win his first ever PGA Tour event.
Stroud had chipped in from 51 feet on the 18th hole to force the playoff.
But the 44-year-old Duke made the better approach shot on the second extra hole, bouncing his ball in front of the flag and rolling it close.
Duke wouldn’t have been there at all had luck not intervened on the 10th hole, when his ball ricocheted off a tree and onto the green to about 5 feet from the pin, allowing him to make birdie.
Canadian Graham DeLaet finished a stroke back in third place. Bubba Watson finished fourth, two-shots behind, after making a six on the par-3 16th hole.
Rogers, Ark. — World No. 1 Inbee Park sank a 4-foot birdie putt on the first playoff hole against So Yeon Ryu, capping her final-round rally and winning the LPGA NW Arkansas Championship.
The victory is the second straight for Park, who won the LPGA Championship two weeks ago, and the fifth of the year for the South Korean star. She now has seven wins in her last 23 starts.
Park began the day two shots back of a group of four leaders, but she vaulted to the top with three straight birdies on the front nine.
Munich — Ernie Els won the BMW International Open by one shot for his 28th European Tour title. He closed with a third straight 3-under 69 to finish at 18-under 270 on the Eichenried Golf Club course. Els was in front after the first and second rounds and entered the last day as part of a three-way lead.
Glenview, Ill. — Craig Stadler birdied four of the first six holes, then hung on to win the Encompass Championship by one stroke over Fred Couples by sinking a par-saving 12-foot putt on the final hole.
Stadler’s eight years and almost nine months between victories is the longest stretch in Champions Tour history. J.C. Snead had gone almost seven years between titles from 1995 to 2002.
Hinchcliffe Wins IndyCar Race
Newton, Iowa — Andretti Autosport has long been the team to beat at Iowa Speedway. Yesterday, James Hinchcliffe put an exclamation point on Andretti’s dominance there with perhaps the best race of his career.
Hinchcliffe cruised to victory in the IndyCar Series race yesterday, leading all but 24 of 250 laps. He became the first three-time winner this season and gave Andretti Autosport its fourth consecutive victory at Iowa’s oval.
Ryan Hunter-Reay, Hinchcliffe’s teammate, battled back from last place to finish second. He was followed by Tony Kanaan, Ed Carpenter and Graham Rahal.
Leafs Deal for Goalie
Toronto — Looking to solidify their goaltending, the Toronto Maple Leafs yesterday acquired Jonathan Bernier from the Los Angeles Kings.
Toronto gave up forward Matt Frattin, backup goaltender Ben Scrivens and a second-round pick in the 2014 or 2015 NHL entry draft.
The 24-year-old Bernier is eligible to become a restricted free agent. He played in 14 regular-season games for the Kings in 2012-13, compiling a 9-3-1 record with a goals-against average of 1.88 and save percentage of .922.