Kirk Triplett is not a Hall of Famer, but he rode a Hall of Fame swing to a playoff victory over Woody Austin in the Hoag Classic on Sunday.
Playing the par-5 18th hole at Newport Beach (Calif.) Country Club for the third time on Sunday, Triplett finally hit the 3-wood second shot he intended, then holed an 18-foot eagle putt for his seventh PGA Tour Champions victory.
The left-to-right putt was similar to one he holed on the 18th hole in regulation to get into a playoff with Austin.
Each of the players parred the 18th on the first playoff hole. Playing it again on the second extra hole, Triplett drove it in the fairway, while Austin flared his tee shot right and missed the green well right with his second.
Triplett then hit a 3-wood from 252 yards that just carried a bunker left of the green and rolled out to 18 feet of the hole.
“I was thinking the same thing,” Tirplett said when asked his thought process on that shot. “Like any good baseball player I’m one out of three. I’d be in the Hall of Fame, right?
“I’ve been trying to hit the center of the green every single time. That one I thought would go in the bunker, but it covered.”
Austin squandered two opportunities to win, by failing to get up and down for birdie from the fringe at 18 in regulation, then hitting a poor bunker shot at 18 on the first playoff hole, leaving him a long birdie putt that he missed.
Triplett is off to a torrid start to his 2019 campaign. Only a week before, he tied for second in the Cologuard Classic and finished in the top 20 in two of his other three starts.
He finished with a three-under par 68, as did Austin. Fran Quinn, who took a three-stroke lead into the final round, made only a single birdie on Sunday, posted a three-over par 74 and tied for fifth, two shots back.