Knox on top at Travelers, Furyk shoots 58
Russell Knox brilliantly reignited his Ryder Cup qualifying dream with a heart-stopping victory in the Travelers Championship in Connecticut.
Knox went into the final round trailing by three shots but found himself two clear of the field, including ‘Mr. 58’ Jim Furyk, courtesy of back-to-back birdies on the 14th and 15th holes to go on and eventually win by a stroke with a final round 68 for a 14-under par tally on the TPC River Highlands course.
The win ensures Knox joins World No. 1 Jason Day, US Open winner Dustin Johnson along Jordan Spieth and Aussie Adam Scott as a double winner on this year’s 2015/16 PGA Tour wraparound schedule.
The victory has seen Knox jump 10 places on the Ryder Cup ‘World’ Points list and go past Ryder Cup stars such as Lee Westwood, Martin Kaymer, Francesco Molinari and Graeme McDowell to be less than 4 points behind England’s Matt Fitzpatrick in breaking into the top nine that will automatically qualify on August 28th for the European Team.
Knox’s success also somewhat makes amends for last November’s WGC – HSBC Champions victory as, at the time, he had not been a member of the European Tour and his victory meant nothing in terms of the Ryder Cup.
However Knox, who should move to No. 13 in the world, can look back to the 15th and 16th holes when his second shot and tee shot respectively stopped agonisingly short of finding water around the two greens.
He did bogey the 16th but then after a par at the next Knox looked seemingly so relaxed he began munching on an apple on the 72nd tee before sending his tee shot right into rough at the last.
But Knox showed all his skill salvaging a sensational 12-foot par putt from a green side bunker to deny soon-to-be 50-year old Jerry Kelly, who shot a 64 to be second on 13-under.
The Scot celebrated by wildly throwing his cap into the crowd and then punching his fists in delight to also become the first Scot to win the Travelers and also securing his first PGA Tour victory on American soil.
As well, he’s the first Scot in over three years to win on the US mainland since Martin Laird, who finished well down the board, captured the 2013 Valero Texas Open.
The story of the day however went to 46-year-old Jim Furyk, who created PGA Tour history with the golfer shooting the first-ever round of 58 on the final day of the Travelers Championship in Cromwell, Connecticut.
The veteran American has become the first player in the 86-year history of the PGA Tour to shoot a 58 and Furyk’s round on the par 70 TPC Riverlands course could have been a 57 as his putt lipped out on the 15th.
All up, Furyk’s round included 10 birdies, one eagle, and seven pars.
“Having had the opportunity to shoot a 59 and managing to accomplish that goal I thought I’ve had my one chance when I birdied the last hole so that will probably never happen again but lo and behold then I made the turn today and I said to myself here we go again”, he said.
“Fluff and I were aware where we were at and I know I turned at eight under par and go out and birdie 10 and then birdie 11, 12 and then it becomes a mental struggle.”
“CBS Sports said there’s probably been a million-and-a-half rounds played on the PGA Tour and you look at the great names ahead of me and it is humbling to stand alone having shot a 58 and it’s a cool accomplishment.”
Marc Leishman finished he best of the Aussies in a tie for 9th place following rounds of 65, 68, 71 and 66.
Aaron Baddeley and Cameron Smith were next best at T34 with Baddeley’s opening round of 73 the other thing keeping him from another very solid result this week.