CROMWELL, Conn. Graham DeLaet has been close to victory on the PGA Tour, and he's inched ever closer this season. The former Boise State golfer came as close as he could get Sunday at the Travelers Championship, shooting a 1-under 69 to finish 11-under and in third place after entering the day in the lead.
Ken Duke and Chris Stroud, also seeking their first tour victories, were 12-under for the tournament. Duke beat Stroud with a 2-foot birdie putt on the second playoff hole.
The result is the best of DeLaet's career, and the second time he's been one stroke short - he tied for third at the 2010 Houston Open.
The $414,800 payday increased his season earnings to $1,348,387 in 17 tournaments this season, and DeLaet surpassed his 2012 income of $1,051,951, which he gained in six more events.
"Wish I could have rolled in a couple more today, but it was playing tough and couldn't quite get it going," DeLaet tweeted.
DeLaet, a Saskatchewan native and the 2009 Canadian Tour player of the year, also helped raise $36,000 to help relief efforts in Alberta, where widespread flooding has killed at least three and forced thousands to evacuate. He had "For Alberta" written on his cap Sunday, and he pledged to donate $1,000 for every birdie he made during the tournament. He had three Sunday for a weekend total of nine, and PGA Tour Canada, a bank and a Canadian businessman all agreed to match the donation.
"Hopefully it puts a small dent in what they need," he said. "But our hearts are still with them."
Duke needed 187 tour starts to get his first win, securing it at a tournament that is building a reputation for such breakthroughs. The 44-year-old journeyman held off Stroud, who chipped in from 51 feet on the 18th hole to force the playoff.
But Duke made the better approach shot on the second extra hole, bouncing his ball in front of the flag and rolling it close.
"Yeah, it's been a long time," said Duke, who turned pro in 1994." I've been on the Canadian tour, the mini tours, Asian Tour, South American Tour, all of them; Web.com, and it's just great to be a part of this big family on the PGA Tour."
Duke, who came in ranked 144th in the world, is the sixth golfer in eight years to get his first PGA Tour win here, joining J.J. Henry (2006), Hunter Mahan (2007), Bubba Watson (2010), Fredrik Jacobsen (2011) and Marc Leishman last year. Watson finished fourth, two shots behind, after making a six on the par-3 16th hole.