Birmingham, AL (SportsNetwork.com) - Jeff Maggert parred the first playoff hole on Sunday to defeat Kevin Sutherland and go wire-to-wire to win the Regions Tradition, the first major of the season on the Champions Tour.
Maggert, who had at least a share of the lead after each of the first three rounds, shot an even-par 72 in the final round and finished regulation tied with Sutherland, who carded a 1-under 71, at 14-under-par 274.
"I hit the ball good all week. Today was a little rusty here and there," Maggert admitted. "The putts didn't go in like they had the first three days, but fortunately I had pretty good luck coming in and was able to win the playoff."
Maggert has now won two times on the Champions Tour, with the other victory coming at the Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic last season.
Jeff Hart and Gene Sauers fired matching 3-under 69s at Shoal Creek Club and they ended tied for third at 11-under 277.
Last year's champion Kenny Perry (70) finished tied for fifth with Michael Allen (68), Bernhard Langer (70) and two-time champion Tom Lehman (69) at minus-9.
It was virtually a two-player race to the finish all day between Maggert and Sutherland, both of whom shared the second-round lead.
Sutherland, already trailing Maggert by one heading into the day, dropped a shot at the first to fall two back.
Then came a big swing at the par-5 third as Sutherland sank an eagle try and Maggert tripped to a bogey. Just like that Sutherland had a 1-shot lead.
Two holes later, Sutherland made his second bogey to fall back into a tie with Maggert, who went on to take the outright lead with a birdie on six.
It was a 2-shot advantage for Maggert once again when Sutherland made his third bogey on the front nine at No. 8, dropping him to minus-12.
Around the turn, Sutherland sank a 5-foot birdie on 11 to move within one and Maggert tripped to a bogey at 12, tying them for the lead once again.
They continued to trade blows down the stretch as both Maggert and Sutherland sank birdie putts from around 10 feet at 15 to remain deadlocked.
Maggert could have sealed the win at the par-5 17th when he hit the green in two, but a 3-putt led to a par and they both finished up with pars at the last as well.
"I putted well this week, but I couldn't buy a putt on the back nine and it was getting a little frustrating. I just rushed it a bit probably on 17. I should've just took a little more time there," Maggert said about missing a short putt for birdie.
Back to the 18th for the first playoff hole, Sutherland sealed his fate when he found a bunker off the tee. With Maggert safely on the green in two at the par-4, Sutherland's second sprayed to the right and the ensuing chip still landed well away from the hole.
Sutherland 2-putted for bogey and watched Maggert 2-putt for his par and the victory.
"The first three days I played fantastic golf," said Sutherland. "Today, I kind of scrapped it around a little bit, but still posted a decent score and gave myself an opportunity today. Unfortunately wasn't one stroke better."
NOTES: This was the third playoff on the Champions Tour this season, and the second straight event to go to extra holes ... Sutherland is still seeking his first win on the Champions Tour ... Maggert has three career wins on the PGA Tour, while Sutherland has one ... Maggert moved to the top of the Charles Schwab Cup standings with the win and Sutherland sits in second ... Maggert earned $345,000 with the victory ... The Champions Tour makes it two consecutive majors next week when players head to Indiana for the Senior PGA Championship, where Colin Montgomerie cruised to a 4-shot win last year.