Sunday's golf: Kevin Kisner wins 6-man playoff at Wyndham Championship

Associated Press

Greensboro, N.C. — Kevin Kisner finally broke his playoff drought to win the Wyndham Championship. He hopes the victory will help him achieve another milestone — representing the United States in the Ryder Cup.

Kisner stuck his approach to 3 feet on the second extra hole and made the putt to win a record-tying six-man playoff on Sunday.

Kevin Kisner hoists the trophy after he sunk a birdie putt on the second playoff hole to win the Wyndham Championship golf tournament at Sedgefield Country Club in Greensboro, N.C., Sunday, Aug. 15, 2021.

The 37-year-old Kisner, an excellent putter who now has four PGA Tour wins, has never qualified or been selected to represent the U.S. in the biennial matches against Europe. American captain Steve Stricker will make six picks after the Tour Championship, and Kisner believes he's at least put himself in the mix.

“Who knows, man?” Kisner said. “I’ve never been picked before, so I’m not going to go out there and jump on a limb and say that I’m going to get picked this year.

“I love Stricker, he’s a great friend and great guy. He’ll do what’s best for the team and the country.”

And that could mean Kisner, who's 23rd in the U.S. Ryder Cup points standings, yet has shaken off an uninspired year with improved play at the right time.

Kisner has shot in the 60s in 12 of his last 20 rounds. His 66 on Sunday at Sedgefield included birdies on the 16th and 17th holes to reach 15 under and the playoff.

In the playoff, he bested Adam Scott, Roger Sloan, Kevin Na, Si Woo Kim and Branden Grace after all had made pars on the first additional hole.

“To be standing here is pretty sweet,” said Kisner, who had been 0-5 in playoffs.

With Scott looking at a 4-footer for birdie on the first extra hole, Kisner thought he would have to hole a pitch from short of the 18th green just to stay in the playoff, and he nearly did it. Kisner grimaced as his ball settled just right of the cup.

But Scott's short putt missed badly and all six players went back to the 18th tee. This time, only Kisner gave himself a close look at birdie on the 505-yard closing hole.

Kim shot 64 in the final round. Scott had a 65 while Grace, Na and Sloan each closed with 66.

It was the third six-man playoff on the PGA Tour and the first since Robert Allenby won at Riviera in 2001.

It didn't look like a playoff would be necessary after Russell Henley, who led after the first three rounds, recovered from a slow start to reach 17-under after a birdie on the 10th hole. But Henley bogeyed three of the next four and came to the 72nd hole needing par to stay at 15 under.

But Henley missed a 6-footer to go 0-for-3 this season with the 54-hole lead. He was in front after three rounds at Las Vegas last October and at the U.S. Open in June.

“I knew I had to shoot under par today, so just disappointed,” Henley after his 1-over 71. “It stings pretty bad.”

There was drama through the final round of the tour's last regular-season event as players outside the postseason sought to get in.

It looked like former FedEx Cup champion Justin Rose, who started the week 138th, had done enough to make the 125-man field for The Northern Trust. But the Englishman missed a 5-footer for par on the final hole that dropped him to 126th — first outside the playoff field.

“Obviously it was in my hands up 18,” Rose said. “I didn’t do a very good job of that.”

Rose's loss was Chesson Hadley's gain. The veteran who finished second at the Palmetto Championship at Congaree in June made a hole-in one on the par-3 16th — complete with an awkward, leg-kicking celebration — and shot 62.

That was enough to sneak him into next week's field at No. 125. And unlike Rose, Hadley needed to make the playoffs to secure full playing privileges for next season.

Sloan and Scott Piercy were two others who played their way into the playoffs. Canada's Sloan moved from 131st to 92nd while Piercy came in at No. 126 and improved 10 spots.

Three players who missed the cut this week fell from the top 125 after starting the week playoff-bound. Ryan Armour went from 122nd to 127th, Bo Hoag from 125th to 129th and Patrick Rodgers from 123rd to 128th.

Threatening weather for later Sunday led tour officials to move up tee times. They didn't count on a mash-up at the top leading to the 12th playoff on the PGA Tour this season.

LPGA

Ryann O'Toole won her first LPGA Tour event in 228 starts, closing with a bogey-free 8-under 64 at Dumbarnie Links for a three-shot victory in the Trust Golf Women's Scottish Open on Sunday.

After tapping in for a closing par, the 34-year-old O'Toole was showered with champagne and greeted with a kiss by her fiancee, Gina Marra.

“I still feel like I'm in shock and the tears are going to come later when things die down,” O'Toole said. “I'm excited and happy. The hours and grind and heartache this sport brings, the constant travel, for this moment, I hope it only happens again and again.”

Ryann O'Toole watches her shot from the second tee during the final round of the LPGA's Hugel-Air Premia LA Open golf tournament at Wilshire Country Club Saturday, April 24, 2021, in Los Angeles.

O'Toole finished at 17-under 271. With the wind down and plentiful sunshine, Lydia Ko closed with a course-record 63 to post 14 under, tying for second with Atthaya Thitikul (66).

“I putt pretty well today and hit a pretty solid round today, 6-under, but at least it's not enough for the win,” Thitikul said. “I just know that I tried my best and I'm proud of myself already.”

O'Toole began the day tied for the lead at 9 under with Ariya Jutanugarn and Charley Hull, and the American took the lead with birdies on three of her first four holes.

Thitikul drew even with O'Toole with a birdie on the par-3 sixth, but O'Toole got back in front with a birdie on the par-4 ninth to turn in 31. She maintained her advantage throughout the back nine and finished with eight birdies, including all four par-5s.

“I tried not to look at the leaderboard,” O'Toole said. “I tried to just trust in my caddie to guide me to whether we needed to lay or get aggressive, stay patient or whatnot. It wasn’t until 18 that I saw that Lydia was not far off and I could tell when I made the birdie on 17 that there must have been some sort of gap because people were cheering, and I was like, OK, clearly I can’t mess this up too badly now.”

O'Toole was working with a new caddie, Michael Curry, after her previous looper retired following the Evian Championship. She said she had also been considering retirement.

“I'm getting married in December, and OK, my clock's ticking. I want to have kids. Like, how much longer am I going to be out here? I thought maybe this year would be my last year,” O'Toole said. “I’ve never wanted to be a mom on tour as far as having a kid and doing all that. It doesn’t sound fun to me. But at the same time, I don’t know if I could stop playing golf now.”

She became emotional as she celebrated the victory with Marra.

“It’s so nice to be able to share that, and to be myself out there and to have her greet me on the green and just live in a world today that I’m not scared to hide that,” O'Toole said.

Jutanugarn shot 68 and finished at 13 under, and Hull was another shot back after her fourth straight 69. Ally Ewing, who will represent the U.S. in the Solheim Cup for the second time this fall, matched Ko’s 63 and finished at 11 under.

O'Toole made the Solheim Cup team as a rookie in 2011 and went 2-0-2 in her matches, but her best tournament finish in 11 LPGA Tour seasons was third, most recently in 2018.

The LPGA remains in Scotland next week for the Women's British Open at Carnoustie, the final major championship of the year. Five players earned spots in the Women's British Open field thanks to their finishes at Dumbarnie: Kelsey MacDonald, Whitney Hillier, Karolin Lampert, Haeji Kang and Prima Thammaraks.

PGA Tour Champions

Doug Barron birdied the final three holes for his third straight 6-under 64 and a two-stroke victory Sunday in the PGA Tour Champions’ Shaw Charity Classic.

The 52-year-old Barron also eagled the par-5 11th in a back-nine 30 at Canyon Meadows. He also won the 2019 Dick’s Sporting Goods Open.

Steve Flesch was second at 16 under after a 65. He lost a late stroke with a bogey on No. 16.

Billy Andrade (64) and Brandt Jobe (66) tied for third at 13 under.

First-round leader Billy Mayfair was 12 after a 69, and Calgary resident Stephen Ames closed with a 70 to match David McKenzie (67) at 11 under.

Canadian star Mike Mike Weir had a 68 to tie for ninth at 9 under. The 2003 Masters champion won the Insperity Invitational in early May in Texas for his lone senior title.

Robert Allenby had a 67 to tie for 44th at 1 under. He turned 50 last month and tied for 64th in the Senior British Open in his Champions debut.

The tournament was the first the PGA Tour Champions or PGA Tour event in Canada since the Shaw Charity Classic in 2019.