Planet Golf — 22 May 2015 by GW staff and news services
Kirk comes through field for victory

FORT WORTH, Texas  — Chris Kirk made a par-saving 7-foot putt after an errant tee shot at the 18th hole, avoiding a playoff at the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial and winning by a stroke Sunday for his fourth PGA TOUR victory.

With a closing 4-under 66, Kirk got to 12-under 268, one ahead of Masters champion Jordan Spieth, playing partner Brandt Snedeker and Jason Bohn.

After Kirk hooked his tee shot at No. 18 into the left rough, he hit his approach from 155 yards over the green. A nice chip set up the winning putt.

Snedeker, who closed with a 67, hit a similar tee shot as Kirk on the final hole and hit to 12 feet. But his birdie try, which would have been his first since making six the first 11 holes Sunday, slid past the hole and kept him from tying Kirk.

Bohn had a 63 that included six consecutive birdies on the front nine. Spieth shot 65, with a near-birdie that became a bogey at the par-3 16th hole.

When Kirk got in trouble at No. 18, Bohn and Spieth went to the nearby No. 1 tee and were hitting balls in preparation for a potential playoff.

Spieth was only a few minutes removed from a 20-foot birdie putt at the closing hole, where more than an hour earlier Bohn had a 28-footer that lipped the cup and left him lifting the putter over his head in frustration.

When Kirk made his putt, Spieth was standing near the 18th green watching.

Kirk’s victory for a $1.17 million check came at a saturated Hogan’s Alley, where the sun finally came out late in the final round after heavy rain overnight and throughout tournament week.

Kevin Na, the outright leader after the second and third rounds, shot 72 and finished in an eight-way tie for 10th at 9 under. He was part of a leading four-way tie that included Spieth after the first round.

A 54-hole leader hasn’t won Colonial since Phil Mickelson in 2008.

Spieth was making a bid to win the first of consecutive tournaments at home in the North Texas area for the 21-year-old Masters champion from Dallas.

Like all week, Spieth got a rousing ovation when he got to the 18th green. That got even wilder when he finished by draining the long birdie, which was almost good enough for a playoff.

The next stop is the AT&T Byron Nelson Championship in Irving, where Spieth twice made the cut as a teenage amateur.

Spieth had a 50-foot putt tracking to the cup at the 16th hole Sunday, but the ball went on the right edge and then curled 7 foot to the left. Spieth missed the comeback putt, dropping out to 10 under and out of the lead.

Like the opening round Thursday, the scheduled start of play Sunday was pushed back three hours because of heavy rain overnight. PGA Tour officials said more than 1 1/2 inches of rain fell after the third round was complete, on top of probably 8 inches or so that had already soaked Hogan’s Alley in the past few weeks.

There were no delays Friday or Saturday, though the third round included threesomes instead of twosomes along with earlier-than-usual weekend tee tees. There were also threesomes Sunday.

Bohn started the day with par at No. 1, hitting into the greenside bunker at the par 5 that is the easiest hole at Colonial. But he responded with birdie streak of six in a row, including Nos. 3-5 known as the Horrible Horseshoe because of the layout of difficulty of that trio of holes. His front-side 6-under 29 included a 36-foot birdie putt at No. 4, the 247-yard par 3.

 

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