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Brian Stuard earns first PGA Tour title in playoff

AVONDALE, La. — Brian Stuard made steady golf pay off on a waterlogged course.

Stuard, 33, birdied the final hole of a largely unspectacular final round to get into a three-way playoff on Monday, then beat Jamie Lovemark on the second extra hole at the Zurich Classic for his maiden PGA Tour triumph.

Weather delays forced a Monday finish and shortened the event to 54 holes. Stuard never bogeyed a hole throughout the tournament on the long (7,425-yard), par-72 TPC Louisiana course.

"I wasn't playing great. I was just kind of, I don't know … hanging around," Stuard said after shooting 69, not even among the top 20 scores on the day. "I kind of hung in there all week."

Lovemark, Stuard and Byeong-Hun An made the playoff at 15-under-par 201.

An, from South Korea, botched consecutive approach shots on the first playoff hole, leading to a bogey. Lovemark left a 9½-foot birdie putt for the win just inches short on the 18th green in regulation. He parred No. 18 on the first playoff hole, but his approach on the second playoff hole — also on No. 18 — found a muddy area near the grandstand, well left of the green.

Stuard remained composed, virtually clinching the win with a 160-yard approach to within 2½ of the pin for an easy birdie putt.

"I feel good," Lovemark said after his best finish since his only other second place in 2009. "Not too disappointed. Just a little bummed, but moving on to next week."

Top-ranked Jason Day tied for fifth at 13 under. "I just wish it was 72 holes," Day said. "At least I gave myself an opportunity to be around the leaders."

Stuard's best previous PGA Tour finishes were two second places in Mexico, in 2010 and 2014.

Brian Stuard earns first PGA Tour title in playoff 05/02/16 [Last modified: Monday, May 2, 2016 10:23pm]
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