Graeme McDowell and Webb Simpson needed a 19th hole to decide the 2013 RBC Heritage, and it was the Northern Irishman who picked up the victory on the replay of the 18th green. It was his first official win stateside since the 2010 U.S. Open, and he was one of the few players on Sunday to finish under par with high winds whipping across the tight Harbour Town layout.
It's not a major but it's still an important victory for McDowell, who's come close on several occasions since that win at Pebble Beach. He has the game to contend at all the majors, and this victory against another recent U.S. Open champ sets him up nicely for Merion in June.
Simpson played in the final group of the day, and had a shot to win it on the 18th with a 22-foot birdie putt. But his ball just missed on the high side, and he had to settle for a par to force the playoff. A recent playoff in 2010 at Harbour Town finished with a bit of rules drama, as Englishman Brian Davis called a penalty on himself when he accidentally moved a loose impediment in the hazard on the left side of the green. The penalty resulted in a playoff concession by Davis to Jim Furyk. This was less memorable, but Simpson did get bit of bad luck with his lag putt up to the hole.
With the wind gusting up to 50 miles per hour on an already smaller classic layout, Harbour Town set up on Sunday as a major championship-style test. An even-par round of 71 was impressive and this could be a nice little preview of what the pros will face in two months in Philly. The two playoff participants, of course, represent two of the past three U.S. Open winners.
Luke Donald, who has historically struggled getting off the tee accurately, made the biggest Sunday move but finished two shots shy of the playoff. Donald matched McDowell and rookie Russell Henley for low-round of the day, a 2-under 69. It's another close call for Donald at this event, where he finished behind Brandt Snedeker in a playoff two years ago.
Here are the final results for the field that made the cut at Harbour Town:
|T9||Richard H. Lee||-3|
|T9||Brendon de Jonge||-3|
|T35||Ted Potter, Jr.||1|