(Reuters) - Former shoe salesman James Hahn put his best foot forward to win the Wells Fargo Championship in a playoff against fellow American Roberto Castro in North Carolina on Sunday.
South Korean-born Hahn, who had missed the cut in his previous eight starts, broke out of his slump in style, sinking a four-foot par putt to win at the first extra hole.
Castro made Hahn’s task considerably easier by pulling his drive into the creek left of the fairway.
Hahn, 34, said he had started to question his future after his recent run of poor form.
“Eight straights missed cuts is tough,” he said in a greenside interview as his voice cracked with emotion.
”You start questioning yourself, are you good enough? Will it ever happen again? And then you start thinking into the future, as far as selling shoes again for a living.
“It’s crazy to call myself a two-time PGA Tour champion.”
Hahn missed a six-foot par putt at the 72nd hole that would have won it in regulation. He then watched on a television monitor as Castro sank a par putt from a similar distance to send the event to a playoff.
Hahn (70) and Castro (71) finished regulation at nine-under-par 279, one shot in front of Englishman Justin Rose.
Americans Phil Mickelson and Andrew Loupe, third-round leader Rickie Fowler and defending champion Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland were two strokes back in a tie for fourth.
Rose (71) hit the front early in the final round but a three-putt bogey at the 16th hole proved his undoing.
“This is a real disappointment. Putter was ice cold today,” said the 2013 U.S. Open champion.
Fowler started the round poorly and a double bogey at the par-five seventh, where his second shot bounced out-of-bounds, rocked his confidence.
“I didn’t get out of the gate swinging well off the tee, kind of fought that a little bit through the round, so yeah, obviously it sucks,” Fowler said.
Mickelson and McIlroy both shot 66, but started the day with too much work to do.
“Unfortunately, one bad hole yesterday cost me,” said Mickelson, referring to his quadruple bogey at the 18th hole on Saturday.
McIlroy was pleased with his progress after three weeks off, a closing bogey notwithstanding.
“I’ve seen enough positive signs this week to know like I‘m on the right track, and obviously ending the week playing the way I did today gives me a lot of confidence going into these next few weeks,” he said.
Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina; Editing by Larry Fine/Peter Rutherford