NORTON, Mass. – Chris Kirk made three big putts and captured the biggest win of his career Monday in the Deutsche Bank Championship. Whether that was enough for U.S. captain Tom Watson to add him to the Ryder Cup team was the least of his concerns.
Kirk won for the second time this season. He went the last 37 holes at the TPC Boston without a bogey. He played the final two rounds with Rory McIlroy and outplayed the No. 1 player in the world. And he closed with a 5-under 66 for a two-shot victory in a FedEx Cup playoff event.
Was it enough to convince Watson that he was worthy of a captain’s pick?
I certainly don’t feel entitled, or feel like I’m a shoo-in to get a pick, Kirk said. I’ve obviously really put myself into consideration, and it’s something that I would love to do. But like I’ve said before, the nine guys that made it are automatic. Those are the guys on the team. The other three? If you get in, it’s a bonus.
Then he looked at the blue trophy next to him and considered what he had just achieved.
Winning the Deutsche Bank and going to No. 1 in the FedEx Cup, and $1.4 million, that’s plenty for me for one day, he said with a smile.
Watson announces his selections this evening in New York.
Ten shots behind after the opening round, Kirk was so disgusted that he skipped his usual practice session. He was flawless the rest of the week, particularly Monday.
Kirk made three big putts on the back nine – two of them for birdie – but what pleased him the most was his 15-foot putt for par on the 15th hole that kept him in the lead.
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.
The worst swing I’ve made all week, Horschel said.
Horschel tied for second with 54-hole leader Russell Henley (70) and Geoff Ogilvy, who extended his unlikely run through these FedEx Cup playoffs. Ogilvy was the last of the 100 qualifiers for the Deutsche Bank Championship. He went 65-65 on the weekend without a bogey.
The top 70 in the FedEx Cup advance to the BMW Championship in Denver this week. Ogilvy went from No. 100 to No. 24, and now stands a reasonable chance of getting to the Tour Championship for the top 30.
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 Watson using one of his three selections on the 29-year-old from Georgia. Last week, Hunter Mahan bolstered his Ryder Cup case by winning The Barclays.