It wasn’t the most exciting of leaderboards entering the final round of the Greenbrier Classic, but it certainly turned out to be a good one. Jason Bohn, Sean O’Hair, S.J. Park, and Bryce Molder were all co-leaders at 11-under. Bohn went from making the cut on the number on Friday to jumping 61 spots on the leaderboard with a 61 to put himself in contention for Sunday.
31 players started their final round within four shots of the lead. If someone was going to make moves, there would be no better place to do to it than the Greenbrier Classic.
Russell Henley drained a birdie on the 18th hole to become the first guy to reach 12-under and enter the clubhouse with the lead. Then Justin Thomas joined the fun after getting off to a hot start with two birdies in his first four holes and Bryce Molder grabbed an early birdie to join Henley at 12-under.
But it would be a fast and furious Sunday at the Greenbrier and there would be plenty of changes.
Thomas would make a birdie at the par 3 8th hole and showed his swagger of confidence walking off the green with sole possession of the lead at 13-under. Thomas ranked 1st in the field tee to green this, but was 64th in putting and it would show on the 9th and 10th holes. Justin bogeyed the 9th hole after getting on in regulation and then double bogeyed the par 4 10th after getting on in two. Just like that Thomas fell back down to 10-under and out of contention
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Kevin Kisner didn’t want to miss out on any action and decided to join Henley at 12-under after grabbing three birdies on the back nine before the 15th hole. Kisner reached the 17th and drained a long birdie putt to put himself in the lead at 13-under. After coming up just short on his birdie putt at 18, Kisner tapped in for par a a 64 tying his career low and taking the clubhouse lead at 13-under.
But not far off the lead was the unlikely story of the day. Robert Streb would make things interesting getting it done on the green with his sand wedge. Yes, his sand wedge. Streb inadvertently broke his putter after tossing it to his caddie on the 9th hole and was forced to use his wedge in replacement of his putter. Robert saved par on the 12th and then drained a 30-foot birdie putt on 13 to put himself one shot off the lead.
Streb kept the magic going with the wedge, draining a 12-footer for birdie on the 16th to take a share of the lead at 13-under.
Robert stepped up to 18 needing a birdie to enter with a share of the clubhouse lead after a bogey on 17. Sticking his tee shot within six feet, he naturally knocks it in. The wedge plays, people. Kisner and Streb were then in the clubhouse at 13-under. This was the third time that particular putter of Streb’s had been broken. His caddie suggested using the wedge with the flattest edge, which ended up being the 56 degree. The move paid off.
Danny Lee would make a huge birdie on the 17th hole to get to 13-under and parred 18 to enter the clubhouse tied with Kisner and Streb.
Meanwhile, David Hearn stepped up to 18 tied for the lead 13-under and put his tee shot within 12 feet, missed his birdie putt short. The Canadian joined the three other guys in the clubhouse to set up a four-man playoff.
Streb was allowed to put his backup putter in his bag, so he would no longer have to putt with his wedge. Honestly, he probably should have stuck with the 56 degree the way he was working it.
With rain drizzling on the first playoff hole at 18, Robert Streb and Kevin Kisner put their tee shots in the rough on the left side of the green, while Danny Lee and David Hearn put their shots on the dance floor. Kisner had a buried lie and took three tries to get it out of the rough, ruining his chances of winning and Streb knocked his close to the hole, but it wouldn’t matter.
Lee would drain his lengthy birdie putt to eliminate Streb and Kisner and put the pressure on Hearn. Learning from his previous putt on 18, the Canadian sank his birdie putt and forced another playoff hole with Lee.
On the second playoff hole, the par 5 17th, both golfers put themselves in trouble in the rough with their tee shots, forcing layups. Lee was able to put his third shot on the green, but pretty far from the hole, while Hearn’s approach shot was from the bank of a bunker and came up short of the green.
Jul 4, 2015; White Sulphur Springs, WV, USA; Danny Lee on the 18th tee at The Old White TPC. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
Lee would take advantage of Hearn’s misfortune and par the second playoff hole to win his first PGA TOUR career victory. It was Lee’s 27th start this season, the most among TOUR golfers. His persistence has finally paid off. With his victory, the 24 year old New Zealander qualified for the British Open next week at St. Andrews.