For all the big moments in Graeme McDowell’s career, his résumé was short on PGA Tour victories.
McDowell relished what he called his first authentic tour win, defeating fellow U.S. Open champ Webb Simpson in a playoff at the RBC Heritage in Hilton Head Island, S.C., on Sunday.
“This game kicks you more often than it gives you a pat on the back,” McDowell said. “It’s hard to win.”
Not on this day for McDowell, who pushed forward on wind-blown Harbour Golf Links when his rivals were moving backward, unnerved by the 20- to 30-mph winds that rattled the course.
He rallied from four strokes down when the day began to take a one-shot lead into the 72nd hole. Then after he made his only bogey of the round to fall into a tie with Simpson, two-putted from about 15 feet to make a par on the extra hole that Simpson couldn’t match.
McDowell, from Northern Ireland, had a 69, one of only three scores in the 60s among the 70 who teed off Sunday. Simpson, reigning U.S. Open winner, shot 71.
Luke Donald shot a 69 to tie for third with Kevin Streelman, who had a 72. Jerry Kelly rounded out the top five after his even-par 71.
Bernhard Langer added to his impressive season by shooting a 67 to win the inaugural Greater Gwinnett Championship by three strokes in Duluth, Ga.
The 55-year-old Langer, who finished 10 under, took control with a long chip-in for birdie on No. 10. He had six birdies for his fifth top-three finish in six events.
Tom Lehman, whose 67 included birdies on 17 and 18, tied for second at 7 under with Tom Pernice Jr.