Some left to wonder what might have been
Five players finished one shot off the pace in regulation at 9-under 271, and all had a chance at some point on the back nine to close the gap.
Brendon de Jonge shot a 4-under 66 and had a chance on No. 18 to join the championship threesome. The 31-year-old former Virginia Tech standout, however, made par on the final hole when he needed a birdie. De Jonge, who grew up in Zimbabwe, finished third in last year's inaugural Classic.
"I actually had a terrible putt,'' he said of the last hole. "I had it straight up the hill from 4 feet and barely touched the hole and just had a bad putt.
"It was exciting. It was fun. I just didn't make any putts when I needed to. It would've been nice to make a couple more coming in.''
De Jonge was the co-leader with Webb Simpson after Friday's second round, but ran into trouble during the third round when he clubbed a 2-over 72 and slipped into a tie for 11th. On Sunday, de Jonge rebounded with five birdies after opening with a bogey - his only one during the final round.
"I didn't get off to a great start bogeying the first," he said, "but I made a couple of birdies around the turn which got me back in the tournament and gave me a chance on that back nine.''
Andres Romero closed with a 5-under 65 to charge from a tie for 18th, but parred the final four holes. The 30-year-old Argentine birdied four of the first five holes on the back nine, including three in a row on Nos. 12-14, but closed with four straight pars. He had six birdies and one bogey in Sunday's final round.
"I had to wait for like three hours when I won in New Orleans, so I more or less know how it is,'' said Romero of seeing if his round was good enough to join the playoff.
Cameron Tringale shot a 3-under 67 with five birdies to pull within a stroke of the playoff trio. After a bogey on 15 and a par on 16, the 23-year-old Georgia Tech graduate gave himself a chance with birdies on No. 17 and 18.
"I hit the ball really well,'' said Tringale. "I gave myself chances day-in and day-out. I could have made a few more putts.
"Obviously putting is huge, especially a course like this where you have so many great looks. It's just who's going to make 'em.''
Jimmy Walker, who shot a career-best 8 under Saturday, had a 2-under 68 in the final round.
Walker, who won the Nationwide Tour event at Pete Dye Golf Club in 2007, opened with a birdie but gave the stroke right back with a bogey on the second. He did the same on six and seven, then on the back nine had an eagle on No. 12, before parring the last six holes.
"I hit a lot of putts right where I wanted to,'' said Walker, who made the cut right on the number at 1 over. "The just didn't seem to go in.
"I gave myself some chances all day and just nothing was really falling. I think I made all of them [Saturday]. It was a struggle, but we were hanging in there all day.''
Gary Woodland, who was third after a 67 in the third round, turned in a 1-under 69 Sunday with three birdies and a bogey. He birdied No. 17, but only managed par on No. 18 after leaving his drive 3 feet short of clearing the hump in front of the hole.
"It was right at it,'' said the 27-year-old Woodland of his tee shot on No. 18. "I hit a perfect shot. When I hit it, in the air it was right at it.
"Thought it had a good chance to maybe go in. I drove the ball pretty well, just never hit it close. It's tough to make putts when you're hitting [from] 30 feet. We had a lot of fun. Any time you're in contention on Sunday it's fun.''
Woodland won the Transitions Championship earlier this season and had finished in the top five of four other tournaments before this week.