Chris Kirk threw his hat into the Ryder Cup ring when another impressive round in the company of the world No1 Rory McIlroy helped him win the Deutsche Bank Championship, the second of the four FedEx Cup Playoff events, yesterday.
The 29-year-old American, who finished the year-long qualifying for the nine automatic spots in 14th position, shot a bogey-free round of five-under par 66 to finish on 15-under 269 and two shots ahead of Americans Billy Horschel and Russell Henley and Geoff Ogilvy.
Winner of The McGladrey Classic in the 2013-14 season of the PGA Tour, the world No45 would have surely impressed captain Tom Watson. In Sunday’s third round, he matched a rampant McIlroy shot-for-shot in a round of 64, and then outplayed the Northern Irishman by four shots yesterday.
After making the turn at three-under par, Kirk took the outright lead with a 22-feet birdie putt on the 13th hole, and then consolidated his position with a 14-footer on the 15th hole.
Horschel needed a birdie on the final hole to tie Kirk, but after bombing his drive way down the fairway on the par-5 hole, he chunked his six-iron second shot into the hazard for a bogey.
The round of the day came from the resurgent Ogilvy. The Aussie was the last man to make the field after missing the cut at The Barclays, but rounds of 65 on Sunday and yesterday helped him finish tied second at 13-under par and moved him all the way to 24th place.
McIlroy, who was aiming for his fourth win in five starts, just could not get going and finished tied fifth at 11-under par 273 following a round of 70.
Ian Poulter gave European captain Paul McGinley something to cheer ahead of naming his three wild cards today, making as many as eight birdies in his final-round 65. The Ryder Cup maestro has been struggling with his form this year.
Meanwhile, Luke Donald (67) admitted he wasn’t too sure he will be named one of the three picks today after failing to make it to the third event of the Playoffs.
Donald did well to make four birdies in his last seven holes, but after finishing at even par 284, he said: “If you’d asked me a few weeks ago, I feel like I probably was going to be (picked). Now I’m not so sure.
“Hopefully, he looks a little past form. It’s not a nice feeling to wait it out. If you don’t make it automatically you only have yourself to blame. I wouldn’t hold it against captain McGinley.”
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