NORTON, Mass. — Chris Kirk picked up the biggest win of his career Monday in the Deutsche Bank Championship. To be determined is just how big.
Kirk closed with 5-under 66 at TPC Boston, coming up with three big putts on the back nine to pull away for a two-shot victory at 15-under 269. He made a strong case to be one of the three U.S. Ryder Cup captain's picks Tom Watson will announce today (6 p.m., Golf Channel).
Kirk played the final 36 holes with Rory McIlroy and outplayed him. Of greater importance was winning the FedEx Cup playoff event for his second victory this season. And he got it done with a bogey-free round. "It's my biggest win ever," Kirk said.
Billy Horschel had a chance to at least force a playoff when he stood in the fairway on the par-5 18th hole with a 6-iron in his hand. Horschel chunked the shot so bad that it barely reached the hazard, and he made bogey for 69 to finish 13 under with Geoff Ogilvy (65) and third-round leader Russell Henley (70).
McIlroy, who started the final round two shots behind on a course where he won two years ago, fell back with successive bogeys on Nos. 5 and 6 (after the second, he threw his ball toward a pond), bounced back with a pair of birdies and then fell out of the mix by missing two short par putts early on the back nine. He closed with 70 and tied with John Senden (66) at 11 under.
The top 70 in the FedEx Cup point standings advance to the third of the four playoff events, the BMW Championship in Denver this week.
Kirk, 29, won for the third time in his career, though never against a field this strong and never with this much riding on it. He was No. 14 in the Ryder Cup standings, five spots away from being an automatic qualifier for the Sept. 23-28 event at Gleneagles in Scotland. "I definitely put myself in contention for (a captain's pick)," Kirk said. "If I get picked, great. If not, I'm still happy with my win."
More Ryder Cup: Europe captain Paul McGinley also announces his three picks today (7 a.m., Golf Channel).