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Shaky Watson seals Travelers Championship in playoff

By John Nestor

CROMWELL, Connecticut (Reuters) - American Bubba Watson broke through for his first PGA Tour victory on Sunday at the Travelers Championship, sinking a nervous three-foot par putt on the second playoff hole to defeat Scott Verplank and Corey Pavin.

The win was Watson's first from 122 starts and his comeback from six strokes behind the largest on the PGA Tour this season.

"To get into a playoff was amazing," Watson, who birdied the 72nd hole for a final round 66, told reporters.

"If someone would have told me that I would shoot four-under today I would have thought that might get me in the top five. To get in the playoff and somehow make that par putt was amazing."

Watson and Verplank birdied the 18th, the first playoff hole, to see off fellow American Pavin who hit his approach into a greenside bunker and then failed to hole out.

At the second extra hole, the par-three 16th, neither Watson nor Verplank were on target, the former leaving himself with a more than 40-foot birdie putt, the latter missing the green completely on the left.

Verplank failed to get up-and-down and Watson made his par putt to wrap up the victory.

"I didn't feel nervous on the front nine," Watson said. "But I was nervous down the stretch. When I took that par putt, I couldn't feel my arms."

Having had a chance to avoid a playoff with a birdie at 16, Watson's drive on the 17th found a fairway bunker and his second shot water, leaving him with a double-bogey.

Watson recovered with a monster drive on the last hole, however, to set up a birdie putt and a tense wait with Verplank and Pavin as overnight leader Justin Rose and playing partner Ben Curtis finished their rounds.

"I kind of popped up a three-wood and left myself in a pretty precarious spot, but all in all it was a really good week."

Englishman Rose, who carried a three-stroke lead into Sunday and high hopes of a second Tour victory in a month, crashed out with a 75 to finish in a tie for ninth.

One-over at the turn, he fell apart with three bogeys and a double-bogey on the back nine.

"It's hard to play golf when you feel like you are going to miss every putt from two feet," Rose said. "I was just that uncomfortable on the greens all day."

(Editing by John Mehaffey/Ian Ransom)