Kyle Stanley has lived a full career in his seven years on the PGA Tour. He's won dramatically. He's lost even more dramatically. His game has gone wayward. His game has soared again (of late). It all came full circle on Sunday when, for the first time since he took the Phoenix Open in 2012, Stanley won on the PGA Tour.
His victory this week came at the Quicken Loans National in a playoff over Charles Howell III. Howell, who has gone nearly 300 tournament starts without a win but remains just one of three golfers to finish in the top 125 on the PGA Tour money list since 2000, or the former Clemson superstar in Stanley who has struggled so badly with his putting and short game in past years that he actually played on the Web.com Tour part time in 2014.
Stanley eventually won with a par on the first playoff hole.
Stanley and Howell shot dueling 66s while playing together in one of the final few pairings on Sunday. Their identical 67-66 weekends were tied with Rickie Fowler for the best in the field. Both finished at 7 under overall Sunday, two clear of Fowler and Martin Laird.
Stanley took advantage in the playoff even after blowing his tee shot out to the right. He found a good lie, and Howell made bogey from the fairway.
For both golfers, it was a successful week. Both probably haven't won as much as they should have given their ridiculous ball-striking. Stanley has been knocking on the door with at T6 at the Memorial Tournament and a T4 at The Players Championship. Howell has been out for a few months with a rib injury.
Both grabbed spots into The Open Championship with this week's performance, but only Stanley got to kiss the trophy. It was a terrific shootout from a couple of elite swingers. A combined 65 on the back nine with no bogeys culminating in a playoff wrapped up an immense day of golf all over the globe.
Rickie Fowler (T3) shot a 65 with a double bogey on the easiest hole on the course.