For all the big moments in Graeme McDowell's career, his resume was short on PGA Tour victories.

McDowell relished what he called his first authentic tour win, defeating fellow U.S. Open champ Webb Simpson in a playoff at the RBC Heritage on Sunday at Hilton Head Island, S.C.

McDowell's been at the center of some of golf's biggest moments, from his rousing triumph in the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach in 2010 to capturing the winning point for Europe in that year's Ryder Cup matches. He has six European PGA victories, too, but he hadn't triumphed in the weekly grind of the world's top tour.

"This game kicks you more often than it gives you a pat on the back," McDowell said. "It's hard to win."

Not on this day for McDowell, who pushed forward on windblown Harbour Golf Links when his rivals were moving backward, unnerved by the 20 to 30 mph winds that rattled the course.

He rallied from four strokes down when the day began to take a one-shot lead into the 72nd hole. Then after he made his only bogey of the round to fall into tie with Simpson, McDowell two-putted from about 15 feet to make a par on the extra hole that Simpson couldn't match.

"I guess the weather was what the doctor ordered. I needed that to get close to the leaders," said McDowell, who earned $1,044,000 for the victory.

McDowell, from Northern Ireland, had a 69, one of only three scores in the 60s among the 70 who teed off Sunday.


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Simpson, reigning U.S. Open winner, shot 71. Luke Donald shot a 69 to tie for third with Kevin Streelman, who had a 72.

Champions Tour: Bernhard Langer, a three-time Champions Tour player of the year, said he's never had a better start to a season. Langer relied on his short game to bail him out of trouble early, and he added to his impressive start to the season by shooting a 67 to win the inaugural Greater Gwinnett Championship by three strokes in Duluth, Ga.

He had six birdies for his fifth top-three finish in six events. He also won the Ace Group Classic and was the tour's points leader even before his successful three days at TPC Sugarloaf.

"I've had very good starts before, but this is exceptional so far," Langer said.

Langer, who finished 10-under 206 for the tournament, took control with a 40-foot chip-in for birdie on No. 10. Tom Lehman, whose 67 included birdies on 17 and 18, tied for second at 7 under with Tom Pernice Jr.

European Tour: Raphael Jacquelin of France won a record-tying playoff at the Spanish Open, edging Germany's Maximilian Kieffer on their ninth try at the 18th hole in Valencia. Jacquelin made a 5-foot birdie putt to end the back-and-forth battle with Kieffer in what started as a three-way playoff including Chile's Felipe Aguilar.