Cameron Beckman Cameron Beckman rallies to capture Open victory at Grayhawk Golf Club

Cameron Beckman was so certain he was going to lose his PGA Tour card, he'd already filled out a Q-School application. In fact, Beckman admitted there have been times this year when he thought about giving up on professional golf.

Perish the thought.

Beckman defeated Kevin Sutherland with a par on the par-4 second hole of a playoff to win the Open Sunday in Scottsdale, Ariz. Winner of the 2001 Southern Farm Bureau Classic, Beckman earned just his second title since joining the Tour in 1999.

It was also his first top-10 performance since finishing tied for fifth at the 2007 Ginn sur Mer Classic at Tesoro. He entered the week 175th on the money list and moved up to 86th, thanks to his career-best $900,000 payday at Grayhawk Golf Club's Raptor Course.

"I'm a little surprised," Beckman told reporters, noting that he's had a poor year and battled back problems that kept him out of action for eight weeks. "I honestly was thinking about quitting the game — that's how bad I felt. I can't explain to you how good I feel right now.

"I don't know what it was and why I did it, but I just felt good all day, and it happened."

Beckman, who is now exempt for two years, was four strokes behind Sutherland after the first nine holes. However, he opened the back nine with birdies on five of the first seven holes on route to a final-round score of 7-under-par 63, tying Sutherland with an 18-under 262 total.

"I had the go-for-it attitude going," Beckman said. "What difference does it make? I had nothing to lose. I mean, that's kind of just what I carried with me all day."

Sutherland, who shot 66 Sunday, certainly had his chances to win. However, he failed to convert putts of 13 and 9 feet, respectively, that would've allowed him to win the tournament at the end of regulation and then again on the first playoff hole.

Sutherland recorded his third runner-up finish since winning the 2002 World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship. It was also his second runner-up effort of the 2008 season after tying for second at the 2008 Barclays — the first of the four PGA Tour playoffs for the FedExCup events — losing in a playoff to Vijay Singh.

"This one seems a little harder than Barclays for some reason," Sutherland told reporters. "I had a nice lead on the back side and it was really nothing that I did wrong.

"I guess the bogey on 16 hurt, but Cameron played terrific, he really did ... He was making a lot of birdies, so my hat's off to him."

Mathew Goggin (63) finished alone in third place at 17-under 263. Arron Oberholser (66), J.J. Henry (64) and defending champion Mike Weir (63) all tied for fourth at 14-under 266.

After Beckman and Sutherland shot par on the par-4 18th hole to start the playoff, Beckman hit his second shot on the par-4 17th hole to 6 1/2 feet to eventually clinch victory. Meanwhile, Sutherland hit his second shot to the right of the green and was unable to recover.

"The scary thing is in the second playoff hole, I had no idea about that shot, so for me to stand up there and hit it six feet, how nice," Beckman said. "What's next? I'm at a loss for words. It's just awesome."

October 27, 2008

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