It took a while for him to hit his stride, but 44 year old Ken Duke finally picked up his first career PGA Tour win after 187 starts at this week’s Travelers Championship. Duke fired a final round 66 to move to 12 under par and send Chris Stroud to a playoff. A two foot birdie putt on the second playoff hole sealed the deal for Duke. “Yeah, it’s been a long time,” he said.” I’ve been on the Canadian Tour, the mini tours, Asian Tour, South American Tour, all of them; Web.com, and it’s just great to be a part of this big family on the PGA TOUR.”
This victory had to provide Duke with some sense of vindication after putting so much work into the game that he loves but not finding a great deal of success. Before this event, Duke had amassed 20 top 10 finishes since turning pro in 1994. He’s been the runner-up on three different occasions. It would be a fair statement to say that he has struggled at points this year – Duke has missed 10 cuts in 19 events. He does, however, have five top 10 finishes this year.
The winner’s share of the prize money at this event was $1,098,000. Last year, Duke earned a total of $1,511, 628 in thirty events. I would say that’s not too bad for a week’s work. He has also moved up to 20th in the FedEx Cup standings and will also see quite a nice bump in his official world ranking tomorrow. Maybe now that he’s gotten off the hump the wins will start coming a bit more frequently.
“You gotta believe in yourself in everything you do,” Duke said. “That’s why those guys at the top are winning week in, week out because they believe they can do it. It’s kind of one of those things once you finally do it it might come easier the next time. That’s kind of the way I feel.”