CROMWELL — Six shots off the lead and tied for 20th Sunday morning, Marc Leishman figured he'd have to shoot 61 to win the Travelers Championship.
He fell one shot short of that at TPC River Highlands. Somehow, he won anyway.
Leishman's 8-under 62 left him at 14-under for the tournament. One by one, golfers failed to finish at that number.
Two hours, 22 minutes after he signed his scorecard, the Warrnambool, Australia, native won his first tournament on the PGA Tour in a surreal finish.
"Mom and Dad probably woke up this morning (Monday, in Australia) and got a real shock,"
Leishman said. "They didn't have to scroll down too far to find my name."
Leishman, 28, earned $1.08 million and a spot for his name on a trophy that includes the likes of fellow Australian Greg Norman and, he noticed, Arnold Palmer.
"It's a bit weird to know that Arnold is on there," Leishman said.
Only Brad Faxon, seven shots behind to start the final round in 2003, came from further back to win this tournament.
Charley Hoffman, who appeared poised to win after 16 holes, and 2010 champion
Sniffing around Hoffman's heels, however, were Bubba Watson, the 2010 Travelers champ; Tim Clark, who's better known for his nickname, the Penguin; three-time PGA winner John Rollins and the two guys who teed off in the final group, Davis and Thatcher.
And over the course of the final nine holes, each one of those players had a chance to take the tournament and stuff it into his pocket, especially after Hoffman fumbled away the lead and let everyone else fight for it.
But it was the guy sitting on the couch who won it.
"It's golf. It's tough. Bad swing here, missed a putt there, things like that," said Watson, who drove into the water at 15 and flew it way left into the deep rough on the slope at 17 and still managed to make pars. "I just came up short."
He wasn't alone.
Clark stood on 17 just one behind Leishman and, with a birdie at 17 or 18, could have forced a playoff. After a perfect drive into the fairway, his approach landed on the green and the, spun back into the rough. His chip left him four feet for par. He missed.
"I pretty much knew I was going to miss it, to be honest," Clark said of the putt. "You put yourself in position to win a tournament and to finish like that ...I don't know what to say. I can't say that was fun out there, finishing like that. I'm very disappointed. When you finish like that, you feel like, `What's the point?' Obviously 17 ... that's like taking a bullet to the head."
The most disappointed had to be Hoffman.
He led by two shots and he stood on the 17th tee knowing all he had to do was put the ball in the fairway and the tournament would be his. Instead, he pushed it so far right into the lake that his drop was in line with the women's tee.
"That's a tough tee shot for me at 17, just trying to get it down there in the fairway and I simply blocked it," Hoffman said. "Had a chance to make bogey (at 17), but didn't get it up and down and on 18, that's a pretty easy hole, I'm thinking birdie to try and win the golf tournament and just hit another poor tee shot. I played pretty good golf for 70 holes, just made a couple bad swings out there, unfortunately, that cost me the golf tournament."
And Brian Davis, the five-time second place finisher who's still looking for that first Tour win? How did you lose this tournament?
"I missed a couple of putts, short putts, and that put me behind the 8-ball because I'd seen that the guys had gotten hot," he said. "I hit a terrible shot on the par-5 (13th). I was in-between clubs and the wind kicked up and obviously I'm trying to press because 16 or 17 (under) was going to be the number. But I hit a bad shot there and made bogey which kind of stopped me in my tracks. If I'd made some putts, from about the eighth hole, ninth hole on, I'd be standing as the winner."
And if Thatcher hadn't stumbled at 15, who knows what might have happened, right?
"I felt like after the birdie at 12 if I eagled 13, even if Charlie finished at 16, I'd have a chance," Thatcher said. "I picked up the eagle at 13 and really, the sky was the limit at that point, everything was going well but then I had the poor tee shot at 15 and that threw a wrench in it."
Bubba Watson. Charley Hoffman. Tim Clark. John Rollins. Roland Thatcher. Brian Davis.
They all had a chance at the trophy. None of them took it.
And winner Marc Leishman watched it all happen from the comfort of the clubhouse couch.