One of the great playoff pitchers in baseball history came through in a different type of playoff on Thursday. Hall of Famer John Smoltz survived three extra holes at Planterra Ridge Golf Club to earn one of three available spots in the U.S. Senior Open.
Smoltz shot a three-under-par 69, but had to hold off two others who shot the same score in the playoff. The U.S. Senior Open will be held June 28-July 1 at the Broadmoor in Colorado Springs. Kenny Perry is the defending champ.
For awhile, it looked like Smoltz would cruise on through. The 1996 NL Cy Young winner was five under through 12 holes before bogeys on 13 and 16. Incredibly, he earned the final spot in the Georgia qualifier despite making a double bogey on the third playoff hole. The field of 105 golfers included Augusta National member/Masters legend Jeff Knox, who shot 74.
During his Hall of Fame career, Smoltz was known to be an avid golfer, often playing with fellow Atlanta Braves pitchers Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine. After retiring, Smoltz, the only player in baseball history with 200 wins and 150 saves, missed the cut in a Web.com Tour event in 2011. He turned 51 on May 15.
Smoltz is currently a baseball analyst for MLB Network and Fox, which happens to own broadcast rights to all the USGA championships, including the U.S. Senior Open. The tournament is in the middle of the MLB season, but we're guessing his bosses will have no problem giving him the time off to play.