5 Things: Chris Kirk captures Deutsche Bank title
Monday, September 1, 2014
NORTON, Mass. – Surviving a battle of sloppy 72nd holes, Chris Kirk got to the clubhouse first and watched his number stand up to Billy Horschel's on Monday to win the Deutsche Bank Championship at TPC Boston.
Here are 5 Things to know from the second leg of the PGA Tour's FedEx Cup playoffs.
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1. GLENEAGLES BOUND? Ryder Cup, Ryder Cup, that’s all everyone wanted to talk about after Chris Kirk won his second PGA Tour event in 10 months.
Having won The McGladrey Classic in the fall with a final-round 66, the former Georgia Bulldog had just gotten a two-year exemption. But this win could potentially be much bigger. With the U.S. Ryder Cup selection of the three captain’s picks Tuesday evening in New York, Kirk made the loudest claim for one of those spots on Tom Watson’s team.
Of course, the immediate impact for Kirk is that he moves from 17th to the top of the FedEx Cup points list. Rory McIlroy, who finished joint fifth, is second, while Hunter Mahan dropped from first to third.
But it’s still all about the Ryder Cup as many of the top finishers at TPC Boston – from Kirk to Webb Simpson (T-9) to Bill Haas (T-9) to Keegan Bradley (T-16) to England’s Luke Donald (T-57) – left wondering if they had done enough to impress Watson and European captain Paul McGinley.
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2. IT’S NOW UP TO THE JUDGE: Luke Donald has played in four Ryder Cups, but wants more. He is hoping that his 4-under 67 will push the scale in his favor when European Captain Paul McGinley makes his announcement of three Ryder Cup captain's picks Tuesday.
“Ask me a few weeks ago I probably would have said, 'Yeah, I feel like I'm going to be,' ” Donald said. “Now I'm not so sure. Just obviously Stephen Gallacher played well. I would guess – I don't like to guess, but I guess it would come down to me and who is going to get that last pick. But it's a tough decision either way.”
Donald thinks his direct competition is Lee Westwood. Donald assumes that Ian Poulter and Gallacher will be two of the picks.
“There was a joke made at the end of last Ryder Cup that he gets an exemption no matter how he plays, because the way he plays, you look at my record, his record, our season, mine, Poulter and Westwood, maybe I have a slightly better season than both of those two guys,” Donald said. “But Poulter, obviously a 12-3 record. He's good for the team, he's probably going to (be chosen); it's highly unlikely that he's going to be left out.”
Now Donald waits like the others, with his PGA Tour season complete and his immediate future in doubt.
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3. WOUNDED BADGER: Jerry Kelly has had two rough weeks, thanks to a sore back.
When Kelly limped off the golf course after a second-round 74 Saturday, he not only thought he had missed the cut but wouldn’t be playing golf for quite some time. Yet Kelly made the cut and got some assistance from Dr. Stuart Love, a chiropractor on site.
“Stuart and I used to work a lot and I should have come to him when this was really bad,” Kelly said after his final-round 69 left him a share of 57th place. Not overly impressive, except it earned him enough points to settle into 70th in the FedEx Cup standings, securing the last spot into this weeks’ BMW Championship outside of Denver.
“I knew it was twisted and everything was fired up and it was pushing into the L-5 (vertebra), and it's not a good place to have pain for a golfer. It was a nice, dull, hot butter knife in there.”
Kelly can get the clubhead to impact, but it's painful at different parts of the swing and he is unable at times to shape shots toward hole locations.
After Saturday, Kelly was texting with friend and Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers – who made it clear if he could play with a broken collarbone, then Kelly could go with a hurt back.
“This is the second tournament in a row that Eric (Meller, Kelly’s caddie) didn't think I was going to finish the golf tournament, much less do well on the weekend," Kelly said of his 70-69 finish. “So you know, all we did was all we could.”
Kelly’s spot in the BMW field went back and forth. He was in when he finished, then out when Robert Streb eagled the 18th. But when Jason Day came in hours later to birdie the 18th, Streb fell down the leaderboard, lost points, and fell to 71st, leaving Kelly 70th.
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4. NEEDS A WEEK OFF:Defending FedEx Cup champion Henrik Stenson safely made his way into the BMW Championship with a final-round, 6-under 65 that left him T-26 and 55th in the standings.
For most, it would be happy news of another week of competition and another week to get a chance to play in the Tour Championship at East Lake. But Stenson seemed neither happy nor pleased about the trip to Denver.
“It’s the time of the year where we play a lot and looking ahead at the Ryder Cup, I guess I could do with a week off or two,” Stenson said. “But we’ll go and give it a go.”
His right wrist is aching. So, too, his neck. The Swede would like nothing better than to go home, skip Cherry Hills and East Lake, and rest up.
Instead, he left TPC Boston, headed west.
“I'm not playing poorly,” Stenson said. “I'm kind of a little bit run-down at the moment and when I get that way, as you know the patience seems to be a bit thin and it's a lot of ups and downs on the golf course. Some days are great, some days are not so good.”
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5. SHORT SHOTS:Geoff Ogilvy moved from 100th on the FedEx Cup points list to 24th after a joint runner-up finish with third-round leader Russell Henley and Billy Horschel. … With evening rains having softened the course, many players took full advantage including Scott Stallings with 64; Steven Bowditch, David Hearn, Geoff Ogilvy, Stenson and Gary Woodland shot 65. … Horschel had a chance to catch Kirk, but a bogey 6 on the final hole dropped him into a tie for second; the bogey was one of eight on the day at the 18th and was the only bogey for a player who finished in the top 26. … Vijay Singh’s season ended Monday with a final-round 71; 10 years ago, Singh won here and overtook Tiger Woods' place as World No. 1. … Six players fell out of the top 70 in FedEx Cup points set to advance to Denver – and six moved in. Out: Ryo Ishikawa, Justin Hicks, Ben Martin, Scott Langley, Shawn Stefani and Scott Brown. In: Horschel, Ogilvy, Chesson Hadley, Carl Pettersson, Morgan Hoffmann and Ben Crane.