Another year, another former Georgia Bulldog golfer winning a PGA Tour event against the best in the world. May some things never change.
Chris Kirk snags his 6th PGA Tour win at The Sentry Sunday, shooting rounds of 67-65-66-65 for a 29 under total and a 1 stroke margin over runner-up Sahith Theegala. The 2006 SEC Player of the Year found his form early in 2024, steadily making his way up the leaderboard each way. With benign conditions the first 2 days, players were going low as expected. But as the trade winds kicked up in Saturday’s 3rd round, many of the world’s best fell back - including world #1 Scottie Scheffler and #4 Viktor Hovland. Even UGA’s Brendon Todd and Brian Harman slid a few spots in the much tougher conditions. Chris Kirk did not; he kept to his game plan, avoided mistakes, and took advantage of the easy holes in route to the Saturday night lead.
Sunday dawned with little wind thanks to an approaching cold front, and Kirk knew he would be chased hard by the likes of Scheffler, Xander Schauffele, and Jordan Spieth. So Kirk proceeds to birdie 4 of his first 7 holes and maintains an advantage as he made the turn. Hitting his trademark high draw, the Athens-area resident continued to make nothing but small numbers. When Theegala, playing 2 holes ahead, tied Kirk with just a handful of holes left, Kirk showed his mettle. The best example is the approach on 17, hit to kick-in distance from over 200 yards, and the shot that gave him a 1 stroke cushion and allowed for a stress-free 18th hole to claim the victory.
This is the 15th straight calendar year that a former UGA golfer has won on the PGA Tour, and Chris Kirk joins Bubba Watson (14) and Harris English (7) with at least 6 Tour wins in their career. He picks up a record 700 FedEx Cup points and a tidy check for $3,600,000. The 2023 PGA Tour Courage Award winner is now set for 2024, with spots in all the majors and signature events, and most of the way towards qualifying for the FedEx Cup playoffs.
And Kirk wasn’t the only one with a good week. Brendon Todd was flirting with the top of the leaderboard before a 3rd round 73 (and a snapped driver shaft) derailed his chances. He finished in a tie for 33rd which is good for $113,000. Harris English in an 8-way tie for 14th and earned $320,250. Sepp Straka, affectionately know as “Ox” at least by Kevin Kisner, was a shot better, tied for 12th, and won $450,000. 2 strokes lower was Brian Harman who snuck into the top 5 and receives $690,500. Russell Henley didn’t have a great week, but his T52 finish was still good for $54,500. That totals over 26% of the total purse available. Not bad for a week in Hawaii.
Apparently sports talk radio still talks about college football even when Georgia isn’t playing. I guess I forgot this fact over the past couple of years. So I’ll just continue to follow these former ‘Dawgs chasing little white balls. Enjoy your week, Bulldog fans, and as always...