POTOMAC – Kyle Stanley parred the first playoff hole Sunday to win the Quicken Loans National at Potomac, Md. Stanley came from four shots off the pace with a 4-under-par 66 in the final round to force a playoff with playing partner Charles Howell III, who also carded a 66 to finish at 7-under 273 at the TPC Potomac.
After both players missed the fairway and came up short of the green on their approach shots in the playoff, Stanley chipped within 5 feet to set up his clinching putt.
It was the second career victory and first since the 2012 Waste Management Phoenix Open for the 29-year-old Stanley, who entered this event with three top-10 finishes on the year.
“I mean, it’s hard to put into words. It means a lot to me,” Stanley said, according to the Washington Post, after ending a victory drought of nearly five years.
“Team effort for sure. Had a lot of guidance from my coaches the last couple years. Fortunately it’s been the right stuff. Yeah, a lot of hard work.”
Howell, also a two-time winner on the PGA Tour, wound up in a familiar position despite his strong closing round. It was the 16th runner-up finish of his career. After recovering from a rib injury, he was playing for the first time since April.
“Really going into this week, I was extremely rusty. I really can’t believe how good I played,” Howell said, according to GolfChannel.com. “I was going nuts (during the layoff) because I couldn’t do anything. I could putt and ride a bike, but that was it. It was a long nine weeks, but I’m glad to be back and hopefully can stay healthy now.”
The 38-year-old Howell briefly moved into the lead with an eagle at the par-4 14th, only to see Stanley answer with a birdie putt to forge a tie.
Howell nearly won in regulation, but his 21-foot putt for birdie just curled past the left of the cup as he bent down on the green in disbelief.
Stanley and Howell wound up two shots ahead of Rickie Fowler and Scotland’s Martin Laird, who tied for third at 275. Eight players, including third-round leader David Lingmerth of Sweden, were another shot back.
Lingmerth set a tournament record through 36 holes after opening with consecutive 65s, but he faltered on the weekend with back-to-back 73s.
Fowler had nine birdies on the day in his round of 65, but a pair of bogeys and a costly double bogey at No. 14 foiled his chance to at least be part of the playoff.
Laird closed with a 67, highlighted by a chip-in for birdie at the 14th