Charles Howell III is finally a winner on the PGA Tour again.
For the first time since the 2007 Genesis Open, Howell III hoisted the trophy at the RSM Classic on Sunday, defeating Patrick Rodgers on the second sudden-death playoff hole.
“I just haven’t been able to pull it off for so long,” Howell said after he rolled in a 15-foot birdie putt to win. “But to hang in there, to turn it around the way the guys were playing around me, I needed some good fortune on my side. Fortunately, I had it.”
Howell III looked like he would have a cakewalk to his third career victory earlier in the week, but the combination of good play from his chasers as well as some self-inflicted stumbles made Sunday on St. Simons Island much more dramatic than he would have liked. The Oklahoma State product faltered out of the gate in the final round, playing the first three holes in 3-over par.
Getting his bearings back shortly thereafter, Howell III required birdies on three of his final four holes to force a playoff with the red-hot Rodgers who played the weekend in 17-under par, a PGA Tour record for the final 36 holes of a tournament.
“The way that I played this weekend was a testament to how hard I’ve been working,” Rodgers said. “I put myself in position, gutted to not get it done, but congrats to Charles because he played awesome and definitely deserves it.”
Howell III had three chances to win the tournament: a putt on the 72nd hole to win it in regulation; another on the first playoff hole; and finally, the one that dropped on the second playoff hole.
The win earned Howell III $1.152 million and a return trip to the Masters in April, the first time he will play in his hometown tournament since 2012.
“Quite honestly, I didn’t know if I would ever win one again,” Howell said. “I had come up short so many times.”
The PGA Tour goes on hiatus for the rest of the calendar year with unofficial events littering the schedule between now and the Sentry Tournament of Champions in Maui the first week of January.