The 2014 PGA Tour season is winding down, and the world's top players arrived at TPC Boston in Norton, Massachusetts, to fine-tune their craft at the Deutsche Bank Championship before a trio of illustrious September tournaments—including the prestigious Ryder Cup—roll around.
Defending champion Henrik Stenson looked to claim back-to-back titles; however, he couldn't keep pace with a talented field, including world No. 1 and 2012 tournament champion Rory McIlroy. In the end, American Chris Kirk became the unlikely champion.
Here's a day-by-day look at how the tournament unfolded.
Day 4 Recap
The tournament's final day produced a wide array of results from its field. While some players were able to go low, recording rounds in the vicinity of six under par, others struggled to get deep into the red, ending their chances of a Deutsche Bank Championship title.
Here's a look at the final round's results and definitive leaderboard:
|Pos.||Player||To Par||R4 Score|
The complete tournament leaderboard can be found at PGATour.com.
Chris Kirk shot up the leaderboard on Monday, completing his second consecutive blemish-free round on his way to a five-under 66. He birdied Nos. 3 and 4 before recording another at the par-four ninth thanks to a great approach to 10 feet.
After making the turn in three under, Kirk remained stable over the back nine, birdieing two more holes, including this 22-foot roll on the par-four 13th:
That would be enough to make him the early clubhouse leader—something he would not relinquish.
While three players tied for second, none had a more thrilling finish than Billy Horschel. After a 67 on Sunday, he found himself in Monday's final group. He didn't light up the scoreboard but remained in contention thanks to well-timed birdies.
After going out in a two-under 34, Horschel began the back nine with five pars, followed by his third birdie of the round on the par-four 15th. After two more pars, he took the tee at the 18th hole needing a birdie to force a playoff.
Unfortunately, he would go on to completely chunk his second shot, sending it roughly 50 yards short of the green into a hazard. After his drop and average approach, he took two putts to finish his round with a bogey six.
He spoke of his failed effort on the final hole after his round, via PGA Tour and Golf Digest:
Billy Horschel calls the missed opportunity at 18 a "learning experience," but admits "I should be in a playoff right now." #FedExCup— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) September 1, 2014
Horschel, on his second shot on No. 18. "That was the worst swing I made all week."— Golf Digest (@GolfDigestMag) September 1, 2014
While Horschel still completed the tournament with a runner-up finish, that 72nd hole will be something he'll want to quickly forget.
One familiar name showed up in the top 10 following Monday's round, and that would be none other than world No. 1 Rory McIlroy.
He began the final round in great position after going low on Sunday with a blemish-free seven-under 64. Unfortunately, he wouldn't be able to remain hot, as an up-and-down Round 4 doomed his title chances.
McIlroy's front nine was very indicative of what was to come. He recorded three birdies but accompanied them with two bogeys. He was still in contention after his one-under front nine but didn't stay in the mix for long.
Here's a good look at one of McIlroy's struggles on Monday, via Covers:
It looks like Rory McIlroy was having a case of the Mondays at the Deutsche Bank Championship. https://t.co/PhVX4fEO9F— Covers (@Covers) September 1, 2014
His back nine began with two bogeys on the first three holes, and after three pars to follow, he had far too much ground to make up. McIlroy did finish nicely, birdieing two of the final three holes, including this one on the par-five 18th:
With the Ryder Cup fast approaching, players like McIlroy continue to make their presences felt on tour, while players like Kirk continue to state their cases for a position on the team. This is truly an exciting time of year for golf enthusiasts and will only continue to become more compelling as we get deeper into the month of September.
Day 3 Recap
As we know, it only takes one day to severely change a PGA Tour event's leaderboard. That was exactly the case on Sunday, as several players surged up the standings to completely shake up the standings.
There's a very tight race heading into the final 18 holes of the tournament. Take a look at how things currently stand:
|Pos.||Player||To Par||R3 Score|
Russell Henley suddenly finds himself out in front after a stellar performance of six-under 65 on Sunday. Through two rounds of action, Henley found himself just off the pace and in great position to make a push. He certainly came through.
Henley went out in a two-under 34 after tallying three birdies and one bogey through the first nine holes. He surged after the turn, birdieing three of his first four holes, including this one on the 13th hole:
After that great roll, Henley earned a share of the lead. He would go on to birdie the par-four 17th to move to 12 under for the tournament and find himself atop the leaderboard.
Here's what Henley had to say about his game during a press conference, via the tournament's official Twitter account:
Giving close chase is Billy Horschel. He sits in great position at 11 under and will join Henley in Monday's final pairing after three consecutive sub-70 rounds. Horschel followed up his opening 69 and 66 on Saturday with a 67 on Sunday, making him one of the week's most consistent players.
Perhaps the story of the day was a brilliant 64 shot by world No. 1 Rory McIlroy. After roller-coaster rounds on Friday and Saturday, he finally put it all together on Monday with a blemish-free round.
After three birdies on the front side, he made the turn with a three-under 33. He continued his hot streak with four more birdies on the back nine, including this magnificent tee shot on the par-three 16th:
Here's another of McIlroy's fine efforts on Sunday, courtesy of the PGA Tour:
A brilliant seven-under round of 64 was the lowest given up by TPC Boston on the day, and all of a sudden, McIlroy is just a couple strokes away from another title this season.
According to the Golf Channel's Justin Ray, McIlroy could move further into elite territory on Monday:
Most @PGATOUR wins, age 25 or younger, last 30 years Tiger 29 McIlroy 9 Mickelson 9 Rory seeking 10th tomorrow— Justin Ray (@JustinRayGC) August 31, 2014
Ryan Palmer's story has been quite the opposite. After an impressive 63 in Round 1, he has now shot consecutive even-par rounds of 71, falling back to a tie for seventh for the tournament. He's not out of the running yet, but he'll have to make a big move on Monday for a shot against a leaderboard chock-full of talent.
Phil Micklelson regressed a bit on Sunday, shooting a one-over 72. This marks his second round over par this week and brings him to two over for the tournament. He certainly wasn't helped by this double-bogey effort on the par-three 16th:
With only one round left to go, the 2014 Deutsche Bank Championship is completely up for grabs. Plenty of the world's best players are still residing near the top of the leaderboard as the fight for FedEx Cup standings continues.
Be sure to tune in for the final round of action on Monday, as the tournament is sure to provide an exciting and dramatic conclusion.
Day 2 Recap
At the end of Day 2, Ryan Palmer still maintained the tournament lead; however, after shooting an even-par 71, things tightened up atop the leaderboard. Jason Day, Matt Kuchar and Billy Horschel surged up the standings to make things very interesting heading into Sunday's action.
Here's a look at how things are shaping up at the tournament's halfway point:
|Pos.||Player||To Par||R2 Score|
The complete tournament leaderboard can be found at PGATour.com.
Palmer had a bit of a roller-coaster round on Saturday, which may even be a severe understatement. He shot a one-over 37 on the front nine after recording three pars, three birdies, two bogeys and a double bogey.
That's not exactly the kind of golf you'd expect to see from the tournament's leader. He did stabilize on the back nine, tallying two birdies and one bogey for a one-under 34 to get back back to even for the day.
Palmer spoke of his second-round woes after his round, via ESPN Golf:
Day followed up a blazing 66 in Round 1 with a 68 on Saturday. It was a tale of two nines for Day, as his front side was chock-full of birdies. He went out in a five-under 31 after hitting some brilliant shots like this approach on the par-four ninth:
Day wouldn't have similar results on the back side. He went on to record one birdie and three bogeys for a disappointing two-over 37 to finish his round. Still, he's tied for the lead heading into Sunday.
A pair of 66's were shot by Kuchar and Horschel on Saturday. Both players recorded 69's on Friday, and now find themselves just one stroke off the pace at seven under.
Like the aforementioned players, Kuchar had an up-and-down day, compiling an impressive nine birdies and four bogeys in Round 2. His final birdie of the day came on the par-three eighth hole (his 17th) due to this nice roll on a 17-foot birdie putt:
The Golf Channel's Justin Ray noted how efficient Kuchar has been over the past several years:
Matt Kuchar (currently T3) @PGATOUR ranks since 2010: Leader in top-5's (26), top-10's (48), top-25's (83) & money ($23.1M).— Justin Ray (@JustinRayGC) August 30, 2014
Speaking of roller-coaster days, world No. 1 Rory McIlroy had one as well. He netted five birdies on Saturday, but he accompanied them with one bogey and one double bogey for a round of 69. While he didn't make a giant move, his two-under score puts him within five strokes of the leaders and in striking distance for the final 36 holes.
If McIlroy can keep hitting approach shots like this one on the sixth hole on Saturday, he'll be in great shape going forward:
Phil Mickelson began the day in danger of missing the cut after a three-over 74 in Round 1. He looked much more comfortable on Saturday, and after tallying four birdies and two bogeys, he completed a round of 69 to get back to one over for the tournament.
After his first round, Lefty gave his prediction for what he would do on Saturday:
Well, he didn't exactly do either of those things. The cut was set at three over, and while Mickelson didn't exactly get back into contention, he put a little distance between himself and the rear of the pack.
With so many talented players residing near the top of the leaderboard, and the world's top-ranked golfer in position to make a run, we're certainly in for some compelling action over the final two days at TPC Boston.
Day 1 Recap
Palmer took Day 1 by storm, firing an impressive eight-under 63 to begin the tournament.
He began on the back nine in ominous fashion, recording a bogey on his first hole of the day. Although, Palmer would rebound in a big way, birdieing six of the remaining eight holes on the back side en route to a five-under 30.
Here's a look how the leaderboard looks through the tournament's first 18 holes:
|Pos.||Player||To Par||R1 Score|
The complete tournament leaderboard can be found at PGATour.com.
Palmer was helped by his tremendous ball-striking. Take a look at his brilliant approach from 148 yards out on hole No. 17:
He then moved to the front side, and, while his play leveled off, he still racked up three more birdies for a three-under 33 and tournament-leading first-round score of 63. Palmer's been playing well lately, and the Golf Channel's Jason Sobel noted how long it's been since his last Round 1 lead:
Ryan Palmer posts 8-under 63 to grab his first opening-round lead since way back at the PGA Championship three weeks ago.— Jason Sobel (@JasonSobelGC) August 29, 2014
Palmer spoke of how he maintained his focus through Round 1, via the Deutsche Bank Championship's Twitter account:
Nipping at Palmer's heels is Keegan Bradley. He fired a blemish-free 65 on Friday, tallying six birdies and 12 pars along the way. Like Palmer, Bradley was in great form. Here's a look at his approach on the 17th hole:
Rounding out the top three positions are Jason Day and Webb Simpson. Day is extremely dangerous when he catches fire, and Simpson is no stranger to the top of this tournament's leaderboard after winning the event in 2011.
Jordan Spieth isn't far off the pace after a very eventful round finished with a score of four-under 67. After shooting a one-under 35 on the font nine, Spieth's roller coaster back nine began. He took a disastrous double bogey at the 10th but followed it up with three birdies and an eagle on the 18th.
Golf Central followed along with Spieth's early-round efforts:
After starting with a double-bogey, Jordan Spieth made 3 birdies and an eagle to make the turn in 3-under 32 @DBChampionship.— Golf Central (@GolfCentral) August 29, 2014
Take a look at his beautiful approach and the nice stroke he puts on the ensuing 28-foot eagle putt:
As for the defending champion, Stenson finds himself six strokes off the pace after shooting a one-under 70 on the day. His round included three birdies, two bogeys and 13 pars.
Also at one-under par is McIlroy. He started on the back nine and jumped out to a very hot start, recording birdies on three of his first four holes. Take a look at this precise approach on the 13th hole that nearly rolls in for eagle:
Unfortunately, the wheels fell off later in the round. McIlroy headed to the fifth hole (his 14th) at three under, but three bogeys and one birdie over the final five holes saw him quickly drop back to one under on Friday.
McIlroy spoke about the course's conditions after his round, via ESPN's Michele Steele:
Rory McIlroy -1 on the day - "greens are firmer than they ever have been, rough is thicker, tougher to score"— Michele Steele (@ESPNMichele) August 29, 2014
Phil Mickelson's tournament didn't exactly get off to a good start. His back nine featured four birdies and two bogeys for a two-under 33; however, his front nine was simply atrocious. Mickelson shot a five-over 41, recording a double and triple bogey along the way.
Sobel tweeted his thoughts on Mickelson's erratic play:
In his first seven holes today, Phil Mickelson made at least one birdie, par, bogey, double and triple. That's a straight flush.— Jason Sobel (@JasonSobelGC) August 29, 2014
Lefty will have his work cut out for him, as he currently sits a full 11 strokes off the pace at three-over par heading into Friday's action.
TPC Boston had perfect weather conditions on Friday, and that's expected to continue on Saturday, according to Weather.com. Due to a mix of these pristine conditions and a very talented field, we can expect these players to post some low numbers once again in Round 2.
In 2013, Stenson won the Deutsche Bank Championship at 22-under par, and based on what we've seen so far, a similar score could be the winning number again this year.