On a day that was kicked off by Jim Furyk shooting the first 58 in PGA Tour history, it was a grind for the final groups to get to the finish — and a winner — at the Travelers Championship.
However, in the end, Russell Knox’s final round of 2-under 68 was good enough to capture the win at TPC River Highlands in Cromwell, Conn. Knox’s 14-under 266 total beat 49-year-old Jerry Kelly by a shot after Kelly went out earlier in the afternoon and shot 6-under 64.
It wasn’t easy for Knox, who bogeyed the 16th hole with a three-putt on the difficult par 3. He didn’t make it easy to clear the water guarding the par-4 17th, but Knox managed a par. On No. 18, Knox’s drive went way right, with his approach finding a greenside bunker deepened this year. After blasting out to 12 feet, Knox calmly knocked in the putt for the victory.
Daniel Berger, who entered the final round with a three-shot lead, stumbled with a bogey on the par-5 sixth and never recovered. He made four consecutive bogeys to start the back nine en route to a 4-over 74 that left him tied for fifth with Furyk, Tyrone Van Aswegen and Robert Garrigus.
Justin Thomas, who followed Furyk’s 58 with a 62 of his own, tied for third with Patrick Rodgers.
For Knox, this is his first win of calendar 2016 on the PGA Tour, but it goes down as his second win of the season. Earlier in the campaign, Knox won the WGC-HSBC Champions in China for his first PGA Tour win.
The win certainly puts Knox on the radar of European Ryder Cup captain Darren Clarke. Knox, a Scot, is now 10th in the world ranking points qualification list for the Ryder Cup. That’s right on the bubble for the Hazeltine-bound team, albeit putting him there with two wins and four top fives this season.
“I knew by winning this tournament, it’s put Darren Clarke in a very difficult position not to pick me,” Knox said. “It’s his decision. He can pick whoever he wants, and that’s the luxury of it. If I make the top nine, then I deserve to be on the team. If I’m No. 10, he can quite happily pass on me, and that’s just the way it is.”
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