Potomac, Maryland – At the conclusion of 72 holes at TPC Potomac at Avenel Farm, there were two players tied at 7 under par, and neither had won in a very long time. Both Kyle Stanley and Charles Howell III finished Sunday with final round 66’s to reach a sudden death playoff in the 2017 edition of the Quicken Loans National. (The winless spell had been since 2012 for Kyle Stanley at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, and since 2007 at Riviera for Charles Howell III).
Before the playoff, Charles Howell had an 18 foot putt on the last to end his ten year drought, and as it neared the cup, it looked as if it was perfect speed, but even the desperation of a fruitless decade couldn’t keep the ball from sliding just off to the left.
Once again playing the eighteenth (for the first hole of the playoff), Howell III missed his approach just right of the green leaving what appeared to be a routine up and down from about 50 feet to save par. Stanley’s approach landed close to the hole, but just rolled through the back of the green leaving a delicate 20 foot downhill chip. Howell’s stab from just off the green was less than mediocre, leaving himself about 16 feet for his par.
Meanwhile, Stanley pulled off a gem with his downhill flick – leaving himself all of 4 feet for his par. Howell wasted no time, and once again hit what looked like a solid putt from nearly the same position as the one at the end of regulation, but this attempt missed right.
When Stanley poured his in the heart, thus ending his own journey of futility – the emotions began to flow.
“There was some doubt there for a little bit,” a teary eyed Stanley said. “Yeah, I mean it’s no fun – You certainly question if you’ll get back to, you know, and have a moment like this. It makes this pretty special for sure.”
Stanley moved to 14th in Fedex Cup standings and qualified for the 146 Open Championship at Royal Birkdale. The second place finish marked the 16th runner up for Charles Howell III in his career, but the silver lining is that he too earned a spot at Royal Birkdale . . .
Rickie Fowler who shot a final round 65, tied for third with Martin Laird at 5 under par.