Quicken Loans National 2017
Round 4 - Kyle Stanley wins in a playoffJuly 3, 2017
Kyle Stanley was in tears on the 18th green after he holed a 5-foot par putt to win the Quicken Loans National in a playoff over Charles Howell III. He wept again in the interview room as he spoke about the long slump between his first and second career victories and the doubts that his game would ever return.
He believed he could win again. But he never really had to think about it until midway through his round on a wild Sunday at TPC Potomac.
''There was some doubt there for a little bit. Yeah, I mean, it's no fun,'' Stanley said, wiping away tears. ''You certainly question if you'll get back ... and have a moment like this. It makes this pretty special, for sure.''
On a day when about a dozen players had realistic chances to win, Stanley moved into a share of the lead for the first time with a birdie on the par-5 10th as the leaders faltered behind him. He never had the lead alone until the trophy was his.
Stanley and Howell began the day four shots off the lead, playing together in the fourth-to-last group. Stanley got into the mix with birdies on the fifth, sixth and eight holes, none of the putts longer than 10 feet.
Howell nudged ahead momentarily with a 27-footer for eagle on the short par-4 14th, only for Stanley to match him with a two-putt birdie.
Both parred the final four holes to shoot 4-under 66s and finish at 7 under, and no one could catch them. Howell had a 21-foot putt to win on the final hole of regulation that rolled over the left edge of the cup.
Playing the par-4 18th again in the playoff, both missed their tee shots to the right, with Stanley getting lucky to draw a good lie. Both missed the green. Howell's chip came up short and he missed the 11-foot par putt. Stanley chipped to 5 feet and pumped his fist as the putt dropped.
Stanley's previous win came in 2012 at the Phoenix Open. Later that year, he was ranked a career-best 47th in the world. He declined steadily after that, bottoming out at No. 683 in May 2015.
Even before this week, he was having his strongest season since that 2012 campaign, with four top-10 finishes and three missed cuts in 19 starts.
For three days, the event had been a staid affair, with a lackluster field, small galleries and steady, sometimes dull golf from David Lingmerth, who led after each of the first three rounds. Tournament host Tiger Woods did not attend while he seeks treatment for his use of prescription drugs.
On Sunday, the crowds were bigger, the course was softer and chaos broke out. Then it started pouring. A pop-up storm temporarily soaked TPC Potomac and doomed the chances of Sung Kang, who didn't pack any rain gear in his bag and missed a 4-foot birdie putt in the heart of the downpour just before play was stopped for 5 minutes. When play resumed, he hit his tee shot into the water on the par-3 17th.
''It was so unfortunate,'' Kang said. ''There was a zero percent chance of rain today and it was raining so hard.''
His consolation prize was qualifying for his first British Open. The top four players who weren't already exempt earned spots, and Kang, who finished in an eight-way tie for fifth, got the final berth because of his world ranking.
The other British Open qualifiers were Stanley, Howell and Martin Laird of Scotland, who closed with a 67. He tied for third at 5 under with Rickie Fowler, who shot a 65.
Fowler embraced his role as the tournament's star attraction, making a career-best nine birdies, but he lamented the one hole that got away - the easy 14th, where his drive found the water and he made double bogey.
Howell, who hadn't played in more than two months because of a rib injury, notched his 16th career runner-up finish. He hasn't won in 10 years and never imagined he'd come so close this week.
''Going into this week I was extremely rusty,'' Howell said. ''I really can't believe how well I played.''
Lingmerth coughed up the lead immediately with a bogey on the first hole. His chances ended when he pulled his drive on the punishing par-4 11th into a hazard and made double bogey. He closed with a 73. Daniel Summerhays, who blew a three-shot lead at the Memorial a month ago, moved in front with a birdie on 2 but gave it back with a double bogey on 4. He shot 74.
Playing on a sponsor exemption, 20-year-old Australian Curtis Luck also held the lead briefly but coughed it up with bogeys on Nos. 8 and 9. His top-10 finish means he won't have to use a sponsor exemption at the Greenbrier Classic next week.
Stanley is heading home for a week off before he gears up for Royal Birkdale. At some point the tears will give way to satisfaction.
''I wish I didn't cry so much, to be honest,'' he said. ''It just feels good to put the work in and see the rewards. I think that's where most of the emotion's coming from.''
Round 3 - David Lingmerth holds on to leadJuly 2, 2017
David Lingmerth waved his arm disgustedly to the right to warn the gallery after he blocked his tee shot on the tight par-5 10th hole at TPC Potomac. After two shots from the rough, one from a hazard and one from a bunker, he made a 6-footer for bogey to fall to 3 over for the day.
He was still tied for the lead. Minutes later, he led by himself again when Daniel Summerhays bogeyed 11.
It was that kind of day at the Quicken Loans National.
Lingmerth steadied himself after his adventure on 10 and made an aggressive swing with a driver that came off perfectly on the short par-4 14th, leading to a two-putt birdie. The 29-year-old Swede made a sloppy bogey on 17 and managed a 3-over 73 to drop to 7 under and maintain a one-shot over Summerhays.
Spencer Levin, who teed off two hours ahead of Lingmerth, was alone in third at 5 under after the best round of the day, a 65.
There was little wind Saturday, and the greens were softened by a thunderstorm that caused a 90-minute delay, but TPC Potomac played as difficult as ever, showing as much bite as its storied neighbor, Congressional. Saturday ended the same way the first two rounds did - with Lingmerth atop the leaderboard.
Lingmerth, who came from behind to win a Web.com Tour event at TPC Potomac in 2012, has a chance to go wire-to-wire for his second PGA Tour victory.
''I haven't had the wire-to-wire scenario in my career, but a lot of great players have won tournaments that way and I would like to do it as well,'' he said. ''I'm kind of feeling like I'm up for the challenge.''
Lingmerth relied on a fade to avoid trouble off the tee while starting the tournament with back-to-back rounds of 65. On Saturday, it didn't take long for his go-to shot to abandon him. He yanked his opening tee shot into a fairway bunker, leading to bogey. It was one of four tee shots he missed to the left in the first eight holes, including a driver in the water on the narrow par-4 fourth.
Still, no one managed to get ahead. Geoff Ogilvy's putter went cold and he didn't make a birdie in a round of 74. He was still just three shots back, along with a fellow Australian half his age, Curtis Luck, who shot 67, and South Korean Sung Kang, who shot 71. Kyle Stanley and Charles Howell III both shot 67 and were four shots back.
Just 17 players were under par after three rounds.
Summerhays was solid from tee to green but couldn't get many putts to fall. His only chance to win this season came at the Memorial, where he led by three shots after 54 holes but shot a final-round 78 to tie for 10th. He's earned $8.4 million in 188 career PGA Tour starts without a victory.
''I struck the ball extremely well,'' he said. ''I've had a lot of great looks, so maybe I just need to persuade that ball into the cup a little bit more.''
Levin has been the PGA Tour's iron man this season, with little to show for it. He's making his 25th start and has teed it up in every event he's been eligible for, making only 10 cuts and failing to record a top-20 finish. At 176th in the FedEx Cup standings, he's in danger of losing his tour card.
''It was the best round I've had all year by far. It's been a tough year, but the putts have been going in this week, which is obviously why I'm playing well,'' Levin said.
Levin, who first gained attention as a cigarette-smoking amateur at the 2004 U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills, has played in 232 events in his PGA Tour career, with his best finish a runner-up in 2011. That was also the year he played in his only British Open.
''I've had a chance and have never won, so if I don't, it wouldn't be anything new,'' Levin said. ''But I'm going to go out there with a different mindset. I'm going to try and make putts and see if I can't do it.''
Even if he doesn't win, he could earn one of four spots available at this event for the British Open at Royal Birkdale. No player inside the top 18 going into the final round is currently eligible for golf's next major.
Round 2 - David Lingmerth maintains advantageJuly 1, 2017
David Lingmerth knows he won't have to shoot 20-under par for the week to win at tricky TPC Potomac. After two near-flawless rounds in the Quicken Loans National, he was halfway there.
The 29-year-old Swede, the winner of a Web.com Tour event on the punishing Washington-area layout in 2012, shot his second straight 5-under 65 on Friday to extend his lead to two shots over Geoff Ogilvy.
Lingmerth used his reliable fade off the tee to avoid trouble and set up birdie opportunities. He has gone 34 straight holes without a bogey. His final fade of the day was possibly his best, a 6-iron from 177 yards that he held up against the wind on the par-4 18th. It finished 7 feet from the hole, leading to birdie.
Several players said before the tournament that 10 under might be good enough to win. Lingmerth's winning score five years ago was 8 under.
''It's definitely as tough as advertised,'' he said. ''It happens quite a bit actually that (the) two-round score ends up being pretty close to the final winning score. That's not necessarily always the case. So I'm hoping to keep plugging away, making more birdies over the weekend.''
Lingmerth hit 12 of 14 fairways on Thursday and 10 of 14 on Friday, and he hit all but five greens in regulation each day. His short game was sharp, too. After his approach came up short on the uphill par-3 12th, he hit a bump-and-run into a steep slope that trickled onto the green and settled inside 2 feet.
The former University of Arkansas player won the 2015 Memorial for his lone PGA Tour title.
Ogilvy played in the first group off the 10th tee and also shot 65.
Daniel Summerhays shot 68 and was alone in third, four shots back. Sung Kang, who shot 69 amid tougher conditions in the afternoon, was five shots back along with Arjun Atwal (67).
Ogilvy took advantage of calm morning conditions and flawless greens to birdie three of his first four holes. He added birdies from 6 feet on No. 1 and inside 2 feet on Nos. 2 and 4. He finished with an 8-footer for par.
''That 7:15 (tee time) is pretty early. You've got to get out of bed pretty early, but once you get out here it's always nice. It was the perfect morning to play golf,'' Ogilvy said. ''It's always nice to be under before you're over on a course this hard.''
The 2006 U.S. Open champion, who was once ranked No. 3 in the world, now sits at 232 and had to take a one-time exemption for being in the top 50 in career earnings to maintain his PGA Tour playing privileges this season. He missed the U.S. Open for the first time in more than a decade and isn't in the British Open, either, although that could change this week. The top four players in the Quicken Loans National field who aren't already exempt will qualify for the British Open, provided that they finish inside the top 12.
''I have to get the job done here,'' Ogilvy said. ''Back in the day when I was top 50 in the world, you have long-term exemptions, I would have considered going to play France this week.''
No one came close to challenging the leaders in the afternoon as the wind picked up, firming up the already-dry fairways and baking out the greens at TPC Potomac, which is hosting the event for the first time. The cut was 4 over.
Big numbers were easy to come by. Playing in the featured afternoon group with Rickie Fowler, Marc Leishman bogeyed four of his first six holes before rallying on the back nine to shoot 72 and remain in contention, eight shots off the lead. Fowler didn't make a single birdie in his round of 72. He was 12 shots back.
Justin Thomas, the second-highest-ranked player in the field behind Fowler, couldn't overcome the quadruple-bogey 9 he made on the 10th hole Thursday. He missed his second straight cut and hasn't broken par since his record-tying 63 in the third round of the U.S. Open.
Russell Henley, who shot 67 on Thursday, made nine bogeys and was 10 shots worse on Friday. He still made the cut on the number.
Atwal is playing on a sponsor's exemption from the tournament host who happens to be a good friend - Tiger Woods, who is skipping this year's tournament while he seeks treatment for his use of prescription drugs.
''I've been talking to him almost every day, and obviously he's one of my better best friends as I would say. He wants me to play well,'' Atwal said. ''I'm hoping I won't let him down.''
Round 1 - David Lingmerth leads with opening 65June 30, 2017
David Lingmerth is one of a few players in the Quicken Loans National field with any memories to draw on at TPC Potomac - and they're the best kind of memories.
The winner of a 2012 Web.com Tour event on the tight, tricky layout near Washington, Lingmerth once again relied on his accuracy off the tee Thursday to shoot a 5-under 65 and take the first-round lead.
The 29-year-old Swede, who doesn't have a top 10 finish on the PGA Tour this season, hit 12 of 14 fairways, which tied for best in the field. Starting on the back nine in the afternoon, he made five birdies in a seven-hole stretch beginning at the 13th hole, three of them from inside 7 feet.
''I feel like that's kind of one of my strengths, a thing I pride myself in, hitting a lot of fairways,'' Lingmerth said. ''I like this type of golf course when you can see the definition, you can zone in on your targets. You've really got to stay committed off the tee.''
He won the 2015 Memorial Tournament for his lone PGA Tour title.
Troy Merritt, the winner two years ago at Robert Trent Jones Golf Club, was a stroke back along with Marc Leishman, Johnson Wagner, Sung Kang, Nick Taylor and Daniel Summerhays.
TPC Potomac is hosting the event for the first time and has been extensively redesigned since it last welcomed the PGA Tour in 2006. It presented a stern test amid sunny, breezy conditions Thursday. Slight misses off the tee were punished severely and, as the weather heated up, even wedge shots were bouncing and releasing on the greens.
Leishman, the big-hitting Australian who won the Arnold Palmer Invitational this year, welcomed the challenge.
''It's getting pretty baked, which is great. It feels a lot like Melbourne, actually,'' Leishman said. ''You can hear that real, you know, the hard sound when the ball hits the green. You've got that purplish color, especially by the end of the day. It's great. I'm enjoying it.''
On the 626-yard, par-5 second hole, Leishman's 355-yard drive left him with a decision that few players had to confront. He watched his playing partners lay up and waited for the green to clear. He pulled out a 3-wood and then put it back in the bag. He also considered laying up with a 9-iron.
Ultimately, he settled on a 3-iron that he pulled slightly into a massive bunker in front of the green. No worries, though: He blasted out to 12 feet and made the putt for birdie.
The Quicken Loans is a home game of sorts for Leishman, who lives in Virginia Beach, Virginia. He drove his own car to the Washington area Tuesday and is staying with friends. His wife, Audrey, is home with their two sons. She's also expecting their third child, due next week. Two years ago, Audrey nearly died from toxic shock syndrome.
''We were just hoping she would survive and she survived, and we were hoping she would get somewhere back to full strength and she's done that,'' Leishman said. ''Yeah, pretty exciting time for the Leishmans. Hopefully, she'll hold out until next week and we can finish this tournament and go home and be a dad for a couple weeks.''
Leishman played alongside Rickie Fowler, the top draw at a tournament that is missing most of golf's stars. Fowler was 3 over through two holes but rallied with four birdies to get back to even par after his first nine. He saved par from 8 feet on the sixth hole and 14 feet on the eighth to shoot 70.
Wagner reaped the rewards of a four-hour practice session Wednesday. At one point he was hitting mid-iron shots from the short-game area through a gap in the trees to the driving range while caddie Matt Hauser watched. They'd come up with a swing thought that was working and he wanted to hit a few more balls.
''I've just been struggling with really striking the golf ball the last few months,'' Wagner said. ''Finally we hit something that really, I could repeat in my head out there today.''
The former Virginia Tech player was back on the putting green Thursday afternoon, grinding over 75-footers. At 140th in the FedEx Cup standings, he could use a big week to lock up his PGA Tour card for next season.
''I've been in this situation a bunch,'' Wagner said, ''and I'm not overly stressed about it.''
The intensity of his practice suggested otherwise.
|2||USA||Charles Howell III||-7||-||71||69||67||66||273|
|T26||RSA||Tyrone van Aswegen||Par||-||72||66||74||68||280|
|T63||USA||Billy Hurley III||9||-||73||71||72||73||289|
|T65||USA||D. A. Points||10||-||69||74||73||74||290|
|T65||USA||Harold Varner III||10||-||72||70||75||73||290|
|T68||USA||J. B. Holmes||11||-||71||72||73||75||291|
|T68||USA||J. J. Henry||11||-||73||70||74||74||291|
|CUT||TPE||Cheng Tsung Pan||6||-||74||72||-||-||146|
|CUT||KOR||K. J. Choi||8||-||73||75||-||-||148|
|CUT||USA||J. J. Spaun||11||-||73||78||-||-||151|