16 August 2021: The final day of the regular season is maddening in many ways. Victory isn’t the only story being written as golfers produce last gasp efforts to secure a spot in the FedExCup playoffs and full status on the TOUR for the next season. The Wyndham Championship produced all of that drama, but also layered it with a busy six-way playoff before finding its winner. Kevin Kisner nailed a nine iron to four feet from the cup to finally win a playoff after five failed attempts. It was Kisner’s fourth PGA TOUR title. Anirban Lahiri shot birdies on 17 & 18 to end the week with an even 70 that saw him finish the season ranked 121st on the FedExCup rankings enough to secure playing rights for 2021-22 and an entry into the Northern Trust later this week.
Si Woo Kim wasn’t even in the reckoning at the start of the day. But the gutsy Korean produced a bogey-free 64 to ride into the logjam at the top of the leaderboard. Overnight leader Russell Henley had less than ten feet for his par-putt to make the playoff, but missed out by the narrowest of margins after leading the tournament all week long. Henley made one-over 71, his biggest score this week, after shooting 62-64-69 in the earlier three rounds.
Branden Grace made a spectacular 28 footer, right to left on the 72nd green to secure his spot on the playoff train. Grace, Kevin Na and Roger Sloan made 66 on Sunday to connect at 15-under at the end of four rounds.
Adam Scott got into contention on a 65. He was nearest to the pin on the first playoff hole and drew guffaws from around the green when he missed what appeared to be a putt to settle the tournament. Kevin Na showed his ability to produce the goods under pressure with a clutch par putt to stay on. All six golfers made par on the first playoff hole, before Kisner produced the gem of an approach to all but secure victory.
Anirban made three bogeys in the first six holes as he got off a perilous start. But he corrected course with a pair of birdies at seven and eight before adding two more on the last two holes to go safely through to the playoffs.
“It was nice to finish strong,” said Lahiri. “And the funny thing is of those three bogeys, every single one of them I was on the fairway. So I think the first six holes it was just going downhill and I had to kind of really gather myself and kind of centre myself and get back to doing what I’ve been doing well.
“I knew I needed to make a few birdies coming in just to be safe for the Playoffs, so that feels good. I’d be lying if I say I’m not relieved. I played the Korn Ferry Finals in 2019 after losing my card and then I had a horrendous season, I played awful. I feel like I’m getting closer to my A-game, which I know is good enough to compete with the big boys.”
“It’s a relief that I can at least plan a schedule to some extent, I’m not waiting until Monday to see if I’m going to be first alternate or in and that’s been the case a number of times in these last two years.”
Justin Rose was standing on a five-footer for a place in the playoffs, only to miss it. He finishes in 126th, helping Chesson Hadley through to the playoffs, while the Englishman will sit out for the first time since 2007.
Final Leaderboard Scores – Updated playoff records
Kevin Kisner 65-68-66-66—265 (-15)* 1-5
Kevin Na 68-64-67-66—265 (-15) 1-4
Branden Grace 66-69-64-66—265 (-15) 0-1
Si Woo Kim 66-68-67-64—265 (-15) 0-3
Adam Scott 66-70-64-65—265 (-15) 3-1
Roger Sloan 71-64-64-66—265 (-15) 0-1
Webb Simpson 65-65-70-66—266 (-14)
Kevin Streelman 66-66-68-66—266 (-14)
Russell Henley 62-64-69-71—266 (-14)
Other Asian Scores
Sung Kang 64-69-68-67 – 268 (-12, T15)
K.H. Lee 67-68-67-67 – 269 (-11, T24)
Sungjae Im 66-68-67-68 – 269 (-11)
C.T. Pan 68-69-66-67 – 270 (-10, T29)
Kiradech Aphibarnrat 66-68-71-67 – 272 (-8, T37)
Anirban Lahiri 67-69-67-70 – 273 (-7, T46)