Golf

Tearful Kyle Stanley ends five-year drought with play-off win

Kyle Stanley wiped away tears after beating fellow American Charles Howell in a play-off to win the Quicken Loans National yesterday morning (Singapore time), ending five years of struggle.

After both golfers had fired four-under 66s at TPC Potomac to stand atop the leaderboard after 72 holes on seven-under 273, Stanley parred the first extra hole to capture his second US PGA Tour crown, the first coming 135 starts ago at the 2012 Phoenix Open.

"There was some doubt there for a little bit," Stanley said.

"It's no fun. You question whether you are ever going to make it back."

Tears trickled down his cheek. His voice cracked, then halted, as he spoke, seeking the right words to sum up his perseverance to sustain his career the past few seasons.

"I wish I didn't cry so much," Stanley said.

"It just feels so good to put the work in and see the rewards.

"I think that's where most of the emotion is coming from."

Stanley was in the right rough off the tee in the play-off but found the greenside rough, chipped to four feet and made the putt after Howell had missed his par bid.

Howell, coming off a 10-week lay-off with a fractured rib, has not won in 293 PGA starts since taking beating Phil Mickelson in a play-off at Riviera in 2007.

"I'm a bit shocked," Howell said. "I can't believe how well I played.

"I started hitting balls eight or nine days ago. I came in here quite rusty. I'm glad to be back and hopefully can stay healthy."

Ninth-ranked Rickie Fowler made a career-high nine birdies, but the American star also made two bogeys and a double-bogey to settle for a share of third place with Scot Martin Laird on 275.

South Korean Kang Sung was in a pack sharing fifth on 276 that included Sweden's David Lingmerth, Australians Curtis Luck and Marc Leishman and Americans Ben Martin, Keegan Bradley, Johnson Wagner and Spencer Levin.

Howell had some consolation despite failing to end his decade-old win drought, joining Stanley, Laird and Kang in qualifying for the British Open, the season's next Major event teeing off at Royal Birkdale on July 20.

It'll be Howell's first Major start since the 2015 PGA Championship and Stanley's first Major since the 2013 PGA.

"British Opens are a lot of fun," Stanley said.

"You have to get creative and play a non-technical style of golf I think I play really well." - AFP

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