Cleat Geeks

The 19th Hole: Stanley Finds His Way Back

Kyle Stanley just kept plugging away, even as the results seemed to slip more and more. Such is the life in professional golf, where just the slightest wobble can take a player from contention to middle of the pack or just fighting to make cuts.

Sunday, the hard work paid off, as Stanley took down veteran Charles Howell III in a playoff to capture the Quicken Loans Invitational. It’s Stanley’s second PGA Tour win but first since 2012.

Though only 29 years old, Stanley has been through some struggles the last few years. Since the win, his results had slipped every year, to 158th in 2014 and 181st in 2015, when he spent part of the year alternating between the PGA Tour and Web.com Tour.

“There was some doubt there for a little bit,” Stanley said. “It’s no fun. You certainly question if you’ll get back to, you know, and have a moment like this. It makes this pretty special, for sure.”

“I just had a lot of people kind of help me the last few years. It’s been a huge team effort. It just feels good to put the work in and to see the rewards.”

It was also a big opportunity for Howell, who has been on the PGA Tour since 2000 but also has gone through many peaks and valleys and of late injury issues. He last won in 2007 and last was this close in 2013, when he lost in a playoff to Brian Gay in the Humana Challenge.

Representing the Oklahoma State crew along with Howell was Rickie Fowler, who charged Sunday with nine birdies. But a devastating double bogey on the 14th – statistically the easiest hole on the course – wound up the difference as he was two strokes out of the playoff, finishing tied for 3rd with Martin Laird.

 

This Week

Image result for greenbrier classicThe tour returns to the Greenbrier in West Virginia for the first time since 2015, after last year’s event was wiped out by terrible flooding in the area in the days leading up to the event.

After months of cleanup and hard work, the area is back to its beautiful and challenging self. The last time this event was staged, it came down to a four-man playoff, with Danny Lee outlasting Kevin Kisner, David Hearn and Robert Streb.

 

Quicken Loans Picks

Man, did we get close to finally breaking back into the win column. It produced a nice DFS week at least.

Rickie Fowler – A Sunday charge almost got the Cowboy there. 5-under, tied for 3rd

Marc Leishman – The Aussie is quietly one of the most steady guys on tour recently. 4-under, tied for 5th

Kevin Streelman – A steady week leads to a nice paycheck. 2-under, tied for 17th

Robert Garrigus – It was the big man’s best week in some time. 1-over, tied for 29th

 

Greenbrier Picks

Keegan Bradley – After registering top 10s in his last to starts, the former PGA champion may be finding some good form again.

Kevin Kisner – He’s looking to avenge the near-miss from two years ago and become a multiple winner this season.

J.B. Holmes – The big hitter looks to bounce back after making the cut last week but then struggling on the weekend.

Longshot – Russell Henley – The Georgia product finished one stroke out of the playoff here two years ago.

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