Satoshi Kodaira birdied the third playoff hole to beat Si Woo Kim and win the RBC Heritage at Hilton Head.
Satoshi Kodaira sank a 25-foot birdie putt on the third playoff hole to beat Si Woo Kim and win the RBC Heritage at Harbour Town. It's the first PGA Tour win for Kodaira, a 28-year-old from Japan who entered the week ranked 46th in the Official World Golf Ranking.
Kodaira started the day six shots back of 54-hole leader Ian Poulter but shot a five-under 66 to post -12 well before the final group reached the closing stretch. Tee times were pushed up four hours to get the final round in as a storm was in the forecast, and groups went out in threesomes. Kim briefly reached -15 but played the back nine in three-over 38, a stretch that included missed putts from between four and eight feet on each of the last four holes.
Kim missed a six-foot birdie putt on 18 that would have clinched the victory, then he and Kodaira both parred 18 twice in the playoff before Kodaira rolled in the birdie at the par-3 17th. Poulter, who was seeking his second victory in three weeks after he won the Houston Open right before the Masters, faded on the back nine and finished in a tie for 7th at -7.
Luke List and Bryson DeChambeau finished in a tie for 3rd at -11. List, who played the final round alongside Kim and Poulter, missed a ten-foot putt on 18 that would have earned him a spot in the playoff. DeChambeau was the 36-hole leader but shot 75 on Saturday, then closed with a 66 to pick up his second top 3 in his last three starts. World No. 1 Dustin Johnson, the only player ranked in the top 10 to tee it up this week, shot 67 to finish in a tie for 16th at -7.
Here are three quick thoughts from the final round.
No live coverage at all?!
The golf tournament itself made adjustments for the incoming inclement weather, as tee times were pushed up to get the round in, but the TV coverage didn't adjust at all. Fans had absolutely no way of watching the end of this tournament live, as neither the Golf Channel nor CBS opted to show it live over the air or on its streaming platforms. Instead, the coverage will be shown on tape delay at the scheduled time.
This, of course, is a bit absurd. I understand not being able to switch around the TV schedule as there are other scheduled programs, but to not at least have the coverage available for a live stream is an anachronistic oversight. Virtually every golf fan will know who won the tournament during the CBS broadcast.
The Harbour Town comeback streak continues
Kodaira's victory is the sixth straight time that the winner of the Heritage started the final round at least three strokes off the lead. That's a testament to the course set-up—the narrow fairways and multiple water hazards in play put a premium on precise ball striking. If the leader doesn't have his best stuff, he'll be exposed, and that happened yet again on Sunday to Ian Poulter.
Life-changing win for Kodaira
Kodaira is just the fifth Japanese man to ever win a PGA Tour event, joining Shigeki Maruyama, Hideki Matsuyama, Ryuji Imada and Isao Aoki. After the win, which brings with it two years of full PGA Tour status, Kodaira said he plans to take his full membership and primarily play the PGA Tour for the rest of the season. He had been competing mostly on the Japan Golf Tour and did not have status on this side of the pond beyond being in the top-50 in the world, so this is truly a life- and career-altering win for the young Japanese.