McDowell beats Simpson in playoff for RBC Heritage

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HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. — Graeme McDowell defeated fellow U.S. Open champion Webb Simpson on the first hole of a playoff to win the RBC Heritage on Sunday for his second career victory on the PGA Tour.

McDowell, 33, was four shots behind when the round started, but rallied with a closing 2-under-par 69 over windblown Harbour Town Golf Links. The 2010 U.S. Open champ from Northern Ireland had his only bogey of the day on the 72nd hole to force a playoff with Simpson, the reigning U.S. Open titleholder.

McDowell’s approach shot on the extra hole ended up about 15 feet from the cup and he two-putted for a par. Simpson (71) could not answer, missing his par attempt from 7 feet.

McDowell had a 9-under 275 total for 72 holes and earned $1.044 million.

McDowell acknowledged he was frustrated and disappointed after missing the cut in the Masters by a shot. If he had made the cut, McDowell wondered if he would have had the motivation to break through at Harbour Town.

“It’s funny the way things happen,” he said. “I wouldn’t swap this for a top 10 last week.”

Simpson had a chance to win in regulation, but his 22-foot birdie putt on No. 18 went 3 feet past the hole.

Luke Donald (69) and Kevin Streelman (72) tied for third place at 7 under.

Richard H. Lee (73), a former Washington Huskies player from Bellevue, tied for ninth place at 3-under-par and made $125,667.

Other tournaments

Bernhard Langer, a three-time player of the year on the 50-and-older Champions Tour, said he has never had a better start.

Langer, 55, shot a 5-under 67 to win the inaugural Greater Gwinnett Championship by three strokes in Duluth, Ga. Langer had a 10-under 206 total for 54 holes, earned $270,000 and posted his fifth top-three finish in six events this year.

Tom Lehman (67) and Tom Pernice Jr. (70) tied for second. Kirk Triplett (74), a graduate of Pullman High, tied for 36th place at 5 over.

Raphael Jacquelin of France won a record-tying playoff at the Spanish Open, edging Germany’s Maximilian Kieffer on their ninth try at the 18th hole in Valencia, Spain. Jacquelin made a 5-foot birdie putt to end the battle with Kieffer.

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