Frazar pips Karlsson in play-off for first victory
AMERICAN Harrison Frazar beat Sweden’s Robert Karlsson on the third hole of a sudden-death play-off to win the St. Jude Classic on Sunday for his first PGA Tour title.
The 39-year-old, in his 355th career start, matched pars with Karlsson on the first two play-off holes and then parred the parfour 12th to give him victory when the Swede chipped 12 feet past the hole. “I never thought this would happen,” Frazar said. “The last few years have been long and tough.
“It’s been tough on me physically, emotionally. I wasn’t sure this would ever happen, but I’m very proud.” Frazar, who had considered quitting the tour, battled back from season-ending hip surgery last August and missed five successive cuts this year before regaining his form. “It just shows you how sometimes when you let your guard down or you let your expectations soften, you can free yourself up,” said Frazar.
While the American finally tasted victory after four career secondplace finishes on tour, Karlsson fell agonisingly short once again at TPC Southwind. Karlsson, aiming for his first US Tour win after 11 European Tour victories, also lost here last year in a four-hole playoff to Briton Lee Westwood. Frazar and Karlsson both finished the regulation 72 holes tied on 13-under-par 267 after Karlsson shot two-under-par 68 in the final round, and Frazar 67.
“It was a great match, and someone has got to win and someone has got to lose,” said Karlsson. “This time it was me. I’m very, very proud of the way I played and handled myself.” Tied for third on eight-underpar 272 were Camilo Villegas of Colombia (64), Japan’s Ryuji Imada (66), American Charles Howell III (66) and twice U.S.
Open winner Retief Goosen of South Africa (69). Karlsson, 41, who led after the second and third rounds, maintained his one-stroke lead over playing partner Frazar until the American caught him on 14- under with a birdie at the parthree 11th.
The Swede opened the door for Frazar at the long par-four 17th where he pulled his drive into deep rough left of the fairway and made bogey. Frazar gave up his one-stroke advantage on the last with a bogey to set up sudden-death. Karlsson showed his grit, by making an eight-foot par at the last to maintain the tie.