Putts don't drop for Affrunti in final round, playoff

There are times in the life of a professional golfer when it doesn't do any good to question why putts don't drop.

Joe Affrunti finds himself in such a position.

Affrunti watched one putt Sunday lip out before another did a full 360-degree spin around the cup, leading to a double bogey on the 17th hole during the final round of the United Leasing Championship. Then on Monday, with a chance to still capture his first Tour win in a four-man playoff, Affrunti's par putt on the first hole again lipped out, allowing Ben Martin to leave Victoria National Golf Club in Newburg, Ind., with his first tour victory.

Afterward, Affrunti knew there was no sense stewing about the result.

"It's one of those things where when you see a couple of putts force you out, it's a little bit of luck and a little bit of, 'That's part of golf,'" Affrunti said in a phone interview Monday. "You can't be (ticked) off about it."

In Monday's playoff, Affrunti's tee shot traveled down the right side of the fairway and found the edge of the rough on the Par-4 18th hole – a hole Affrunti parred in three of the four rounds of the tournament. After laying up and then getting onto the green on his third shot, Affrunti's 10-foot par putt lipped out, ending his chance at his first win.

The playoff came a day after Affrunti waited out a lengthy weather delay and then finished as darkness fell. On the 17th hole, Affrunti misread his first putt, not taking into full account how soft the greens had become due to the rain that fell earlier in the day. After his putt lipped out, Affrunti was left with a four-foot putt for bogey. But that putt rolled completely around the edge.

Affrunti could have avoided a playoff with a birdie on 18, but he parred the hole instead, putting him into Monday's four-man playoff.

"Maybe that was somebody telling me I need to work on my putting more," Affrunti said. "It was a good putt – it just didn't go in this time."

With the finish, Affrunti jumped 99 spts on the Tour's money list, moving to 52nd. He has now earned $55,207 in 10 events.

Affrunti will now take a week off after withdrawing from this week's PGA Tour stop in West Virginia. He had made the trip, it would have been his eighth straight week competing – a schedule he said couldn't maintain. He'll spend the week around the Chicago area and won't pick up a golf club until Friday when he begins preparations for next week's John Deere Classic in Silvis, Ill.

As much of a rhythm as Affrunti feels his game is in right now, he looks forward to a few days away from golf before continuing his comeback to beging a full-time PGA Tour player next week at TPC Deere Run, located 143 miles from Crystal Lake. Affrunti was scheduled to play in a Pro-Am tournament in Washington, D.C., Monday, but the playoff forced him to cancel.

He welcomes the break.

"It's like anything – if you work from sunup to sundown seven days a week, you're going to need a break," Affrunti said. "Physically and mentally, you need a break and so a week off is a great. Mentally, it's a little relaxing to not be concentrating and working on your game so hard.So I can take a little break and and take a little time off the course for a few days."

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