NORTON, Mass. — Chris Kirk picked up the biggest victory of his career Monday in the Deutsche Bank Championship.
Still to be determined is just how big.
Kirk closed with a 5-under 66 in another wild Labor Day finish at the TPC Boston, coming up with three big putts on the back nine to pull away for a two-shot victory. Along the way, he made a strong case to be one of the three Ryder Cup picks that will be announced Tuesday.
Kirk played the final 36 holes with Rory McIlroy and outplayed the world’s best golfer. Of far greater importance was winning this FedEx Cup playoff event for his second victory this season. And he got it done with a bogey-free round.
Billy Horschel had a chance to at least force a playoff — and possibly win — when he stood in the fairway on the par-5 18th hole with a 6-iron in his hand. Horschel chunked the shot so badly that it barely reached the hazard, and he made bogey for a 69.
Horschel tied for second with 54-hole leader Russell Henley (70) and Geoff Ogilvy, who extended his unlikely run through these FedEx Cup playoffs.
The top 70 in the FedEx Cup advance to the BMW Championship in Denver later this week.
Kirk won for the third time in his career, though never against a field this strong — and never with this much riding on it.
He was No. 14 in the Ryder Cup standings, five spots away from being an automatic qualifier. This victory could go a long way toward U.S. captain Tom Watson using one of his three selections on the 29-year-old from Georgia.
“I definitely put myself in contention for one,” Kirk said. “If I get picked great. If not, I’m still happy with my win today.”
McIlroy, who started the final round only two shots behind on a course where he won two years ago, fell back with successive bogeys on the front nine, bounced back with a pair of birdies, and then fell out of the mix by missing two short par putts early on the back nine.
He closed with a 70 and tied for fifth with John Senden (66).
Kirk takes over No. 1 in the FedEx Cup, giving him a clear shot at the $10 million prize. The question now is whether his season ends in two weeks at the Tour Championship, or whether he will be in Scotland playing in his first Ryder Cup.
Photo via Mark Konezny/USA TODAY Sports Images
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