For the second straight week on the PGA Tour, we needed extra holes to determine a champion. Danny Lee beat David Hearn on the second playoff hole to take the Greenbrier Classic. Kevin Kisner and Robert Streb made it to extra holes, but bowed out on the first after Lee and Hearn posted birdies.
Lee is yet another mid-20s winner on the PGA Tour. He's a former U.S. Amateur champ -- the youngest ever to win it, edging the 18-year-old Tiger Woods. So the pedigree is there and now that he's got a win on the most competitive tour in the world, more success is likely on the way. Here's what else we learned on Sunday in West Virginia.
Tiger Woods is back!
Well, kind of. Aside from the scores, which were obviously a major improvement over the car fires at Memorial and the U.S. Open, Tiger put on a stripe show from tee-to-green throughout the week. He keeps talking about these "baseline shifts" and getting his "patterns" and "feels" all set. He insisted he was talking about taking one step back to move forward. There were going to be short-term struggles to find long-term stability with this motion under swing "consultant" Chris Como.
The scores had to be better. This is one of the easiest setups on tour. But more important than the birdies and the rounds in the 60s was the consistency off the tee. Woods has looked completely lost in recent events, yanking tee balls deep down the left side and blocking drives off the course to the right. In Sunday's round, his first bogey-free round since the summer of 2013, Tiger hit 12-of-14 fairways. That leads to 15-of-18 greens in regulation, a mark he hit multiple times this week in West Virginia.
St. Andrews is going to be an entirely different test than a Greenbrier resort course. Low scores will be out there, but it's not going to be soft and receptive. Some borderline drives aren't going to stop in the fairway, but rather run off into the junk. Tiger is on the edge right now. Even when it's going well, there's going to be a bad swing or two from the tee that can wreck a round. We saw him pump one out of bounds on Saturday for a double bogey, and he caught a fortunate bounce off an out-of-bounds road back in-bounds on Friday. Those swings are always lurking, and he's still fighting an uphill battle to achieve the kind of game that can contend at majors. But this week was nice boost after the carnage of his two prior starts.
There had been fallow stretches before when he was making swing changes, but never the embarrassing lows of 2015. But this week was nice boost after the carnage of his two prior starts. It could not get much worse -- eventually he was going to put a respectable week together, but maybe something is starting to happen with this swing.
You don't need a putter to contend on the PGA Tour
Lee's win is a career-changing moment, but the most exciting development on Sunday was Robert Streb putting with his sand wedge on the entire back nine. After the head of his putter snapped off when he tossed it on his bag, Streb opted to use his 56 degree sand wedge and proceeded to roll in five birdies on the inward nine. The 4-under 32 was good enough to get him into a playoff with the co-lead. It was an astounding run, that featured a few gimmes, some moderate-length putts and this 30-foot bomb at the 13th hole.
Robert Streb just poured in a 30-footer... with a wedge... to tie the lead. #QuickHits http://t.co/tkt0Xv3CTq— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) July 5, 2015
There were a couple of shaky putts, which you would expect from a pro using a club that's not intended for putting. But this streak through the back nine and into the co-lead was the most fun part of Sunday's finish.
Kevin Kisner is on a Buffalo Bills type run
This was the third playoff loss for Kisner, who got in the clubhouse first at 13-under. However, his shot at a first career win was gone right from the start of the playoff. The UGA alum flew the green and caught an awful lie. With four guys in the playoff, birdies were essential to move on so he needed to probably hole it. Instead, he couldn't put a swing on the buried ball, needing three hacks just to get it on the green.
Kisner draws a tough lie and his chances are over. pic.twitter.com/F6o8qkhCUo— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) July 5, 2015
It would seem that Kisner will win, and probably this year given the way he's playing right now. This was the third playoff he's lost since the Masters -- according to Ryan Ballengee, no active tour player has lost three playoffs in the same year.
His finish at the RBC Heritage was one of the ballsiest and most impressive you'll see on any tour and in any year, but Jim Furyk got him. He was nails at The Players, and eventual winner Rickie Fowler said he wouldn't ever want to face Kisner in a playoff again. Kisner seemed like the best bet of the four who went to extras, but he was toast as soon as he flew the green into that awful lie.
"He might as well pick up. It's over." Damn, didn't expect Jim Nantz to stab Kevin Kisner's dead body on tv.— No Laying Up (@NoLayingUp) July 5, 2015
Kisner is a really funny and candid guy, who were getting to know more and more with his repeated contention on tour. Now he just needs to get a W and stop this playoff-loss trend. It will come soon.
The tour now heads to the Quad Cities for the John Deere Classic, where Jordan Spieth will return to the circuit. Here are your final results from the Greenbrier:
|Place||Player||Score||Round 1||Round 2||Round 3||Round 4||Total|
|T37||Billy Hurley III||-6||67||71||69||67||274|
|T37||Sung Joon Park||-6||68||65||66||75||274|
|T54||Davis Love III||-5||68||69||69||69||275|
|T60||Brendon de Jonge||-4||70||66||70||70||276|
|T67||Meen Whee Kim||-3||69||69||68||71||277|