The PGA Tour Champions has been good for Kevin Sutherland’s bottom line, but the bottom line for Sutherland is that winning usually eludes him.
This time it didn’t. On a cold, windy Monday morning in Biloxi, Miss., Sutherland won the Rapiscan Systems Classic, only his second victory in this his fifth full season on the senior tour.
Sutherland, 54, defeated Scott Parel on the seventh hole of a playoff that was suspended by darkness after playing five extra holes on Sunday night.
He holed a 20-foot right-to-left putt on the 18th hole at Fallen Oaks, moments after Parel had missed on a similar line.
“I was thinking that I had this putt yesterday to win, but hadn’t made a birdie all day,” he said. “I struggled a little bit yesterday. I couldn’t make birdies and unfortunately I made a few bogeys. I didn’t sleep a wink last night. Just glad I got a second chance.”
Sutherland took a three-stroke lead into Sunday’s final round, then shot a birdie-free three-over par 75, allowing Parel to make up a six-shot deficit to him to get into a playoff. The 75 equaled the second-highest final-round score by a PGA Tour Champions winner. Lee Elder won the Denver Post Champions of Golf in 1985 with a final-round 76.
Sutherland has earned more than $1 million in each of his four full seasons on the senior tour and earned $1,961,732 in 2017. Yet his only previous victory came in the Charles Schwab Cup Championship in 2017.
This might be a breakout year for Sutherland, who in his six senior starts this year has finished sixth or better in four of them.
"I know yesterday didn’t look like I putted pretty well," he said, "but I've putted a lot better this year. My ball lstriking is starting to come around, too."