NORTON, Mass. – Chris Kirk made some key putts and posted the biggest victory of his PGA Tour 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, 29, won for the second time this season. He went the last 37 holes at TPC Boston without a bogey. He played the final two rounds with Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland and outplayed the No. 1 player in the world. And Kirk closed with a 5-under-par 66 for a two-shot victory in a FedEx Cup playoff event.
Was it enough to convince Watson he is worthy of one of the three captain’s picks?
“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.
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“The other three? If you get in, it’s a bonus.”
Then Kirk 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 (winning $1.44) million, that’s plenty for me for one day,” he said with a smile.
Watson announces his selections Tuesday in New York. The Ryder Cup starts Sept. 26 at Gleneagles in Scotland.
“I would absolutely love to do it, but I’m not going to really base how happy I am with how I’m playing, or how my year has gone, on whether I make the team or not,” Kirk said.
Ten shots behind after Friday’s opening round, Kirk was so disgusted he skipped his usual practice session. He was nearly flawless the rest of the way.
Kirk made two birdie putts on the back nine Monday, but said 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 it barely reached the hazard (“the worst swing I’ve made all week”) and he made a bogey for a round of 69.
“I thought I was going to hit it on the green. I thought I was going to make the putt and make the eagle and win it outright,” Horschel said. “But it just wasn’t my day, I guess, to hit that bad of a shot.”
Horschel tied for second place with 54-hole leader Russell Henley (70) and Geoff Ogilvy (65).
The top 70 in the FedEx Cup standings are eligible for the BMW Championship, which starts Thursday at Cherry Hills in the Denver area.
Ryan Moore of Puyallup is 34th in the standings and Kevin Chappell, who owns a home in Kirkland, is 61st.
Meanwhile, Michael Putnam (93rd), who is from University Place, failed to advance to the third of four FedEx Cup playoff tournaments.
The top 30 players in FedEx Cup points after the BMW Championship qualify for the Tour Championship, which starts Sept. 11 at East Lake in Atlanta.
Chappell and Putnam closed with 74s and were among players tied for 50th place at 1 under in the Deutsche Bank.
Moore (73) finished 73rd at 6 over.
McIlroy (70) missed two short par putts early on the back nine and tied for fifth place with John Senden (66) at 11 under.