Jim Furyk fired an 8-under-par 63 -- the lowest score ever by a winner of the RBC Heritage Presented by Boeing -- then topped Kevin Kisner with a bridie on the second hole of a playoff to capture his second tartan jacket and his first PGA Tour title since 2010.
Kisner, an Aiken native seeking his first PGA Tour win, closed with a 7-under-par 64. He would have been the first South Carolinian to win the Palmetto State's only tour event.
Instead, Furyk became the ninth player to win multiple titles at Harbour Town Golf Links, the first since Boo Weekley repeated as champ in 2008. Furyk’s finish surpassed the closing rounds of Brandt Snedeker (2011), Brian Gay (2009) and Stewart Cink (2004), who each closed wins with 7-under 64s. The former U.S. Open champ had gone nearly five seasons without a victory, having last won in 2010 when he added the Tour Championship and the Transitions Championship to his Heritage title, en route to a FedEx Cup championship.
He needed the historic effort to stave off Kisner, who lurked quietly all day. Kisner caught the 54-hole leader Troy Merritt early in the day, then held close as Furyk zoomed past everyone.
Digital Access for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
Kisner birdied Harbour Town's signature 18th hole to force the playoff. He and Furyk then matched birdies there on the first playoff hole. They headed to the par-3 17th, where Furyk hit his tee shot to within 12 feet and Kisner to 22. Kisner's first putt stayed outside the hole, and finished up for par. Furyk surveyed his 12-footer, backed away once, then pumped his fist as the ball dripped over the lip of the cup to secure the title.
"There was 4 1/2 years of frustration in that celebration," Furyk said afterwards.
Furyk made 18 pars in his opening round, then shot rounds of 64-68-63. He had just one bogey on his round Sunday, and made nine birdies, including a 48-foot putt at the par-4 eighth hole -- one of the toughest on the course -- to highlight four in a row to close his front nine. His lead grew as large as three, but Kisner birdied 14, 15 and 18 -- where he sank a clutch 18-footer -- to close the gap.
"The way I played 18 both times, I mean that's just what you dream about, and that's what I worked so hard for," Kisner said. "I hit every shot just like I wanted to coming down the stretch, and that's all you could ever ask for."
Defending champion Matt Kuchar closed with a 68 and finished 14 under, four behind Furyk, in fifth place. His chances all but evaporated with a bogey at the par-3 14th, which at the time dropped him three behind Furyk. He suffered another bogey at the par-4 16th.
"(I) made a poor decision on 16, looking back on things," Kuchar said. "I thought I could drive it past the tree (in the middle of the fairway) and have a great angle in. And it caught the tree and ended up not the smartest decision."
Merritt shot a 69 and finished third at 16 under. He set the Harbour Town Golf Links course record with a 61 on Friday and sought his first PGA Tour title, but he dropped from contention with a double bogey on the 12th hole, where his tee shot went out of bounds. An eagle on the par-4 16th, where he holed out with a 115-yard shot from the fairway, got him to 15 under, but by then he was still three behind Furyk and two behind Kisner.
Masters champion Jordan Spieth, aiming to join Bernhard Langer as the only golfer to win Masters and Heritage titles in consecutive weeks, saw his chances splash down with his tee shot in the water fronting the par-3 14th hole. He took a double bogey to drop to 9 under for the tournament and even for his round. Earlier, he had pulled within three of Merritt's lead with consecutive birdies at Nos. 3 and 4, but he didn't birdie again until the ninth hole. He followed with a bogey at the 10th and has gotten no closer to the lead. He finished 1 under on his round, 10 under for the tournament in a tie for 11th.
"I'm happy I came here," said Spieth, who didn't play a practice round before the tournament, instead taking a whirlwind tour of New York media stops after his win at Augusta National. "I had a great experience here, as always.
"And (I'm) looking forward to a little bit of rest."
Anticipating bad weather today, the PGA Tour decided to send golfers off in trios off both tees, in an attempt to finish play early. It was already drizzling by the time the first golfers teed off at 7:30 a.m. A light drizzle fell throughout the morning, until the leaders teed off at 9:30 a.m. The sun finally came out at about 10 a.m. With the wet conditions, golfers were allowed to lift, clean and replace their balls in the fairways.
HERITAGE PLAYOFF HISTORY
(Note: Eventual winner listed first)
2015: Jim Furyk, Kevin Kisner
2013: Graeme McDowell, Webb Simpson
2011: Brandt Snedeker, Luke Donald
2010: Jim Furyk, Brian Davis
2004: Stewart Cink, Ted Purdy
2003 Davis Love III, Woody Austin
2001: Jose Coceres, Billy Mayfair
1999: Glen Day, Payne Stewart, Jeff Sluman
1995: Bob Tway, Nolan Henke, David Frost
1990: Payne Stewart, Larry Mize, Steve Jones
1985: Bernhard Langer, Bobby Wadkins
1982: Tom Watson, Frank Conner
1980: Doug Tewell, Jerry Pate
MULTIPLE HERITAGE TITLES
(Golfers with multiple RBC Heritage titles)
Hale Irwin (1971, 1973, 1994)
Johnny Miller (1972, 1974)
Hubert Green (1976, 1978)
Tom Watson (1979, 1982)
Fuzzy Zoeller (1983, 1986)
Davis Love III (1987, 1991, 1992, 1998 and 2003)
Payne Stewart (1989, 1990)
Stewart Cink (2000, 2004)
Boo Weekley (2007, 2008)
Jim Furyk (2010, 2015)
Follow audience engagement editor Jeff Kidd on Twitter at twitter.com/InsidePages.