Kirk wins Honda in playoff, Howell gets 1st LIV title

February 27, 2023 GMT
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Chris Kirk holds the trophy after winning the Honda Classic golf tournament in a playoff against Eric Cole, Sunday, Feb. 26, 2023, in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
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Chris Kirk holds the trophy after winning the Honda Classic golf tournament in a playoff against Eric Cole, Sunday, Feb. 26, 2023, in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. (AP) — Chris Kirk waited nearly eight years to win a PGA Tour event again. Waiting one more hole on Sunday was no problem.

Kirk stuck his approach to the par-5 18th to tap-in range, and his birdie on the first hole of a playoff lifted him past Eric Cole on Sunday in the Honda Classic.

Cole had a chance, playing his third shot from the sand to just outside of 10 feet for a birdie that would have extended the playoff. But it lipped out, and Kirk nudged his ball in for his fifth career win — his first since prevailing at Colonial in 2015.

They finished 72 holes tied at 14-under 266, Kirk shooting 69, Cole with a 67.

Kirk earned $1,512,000 for the win, and is now eligible to play the Masters again for the first time since 2016. Cole earned $915,600 for the runner-up finish, a check that more than doubles what the 34-year-old has earned in 14 previous tour starts.

Kirk went to the par-5 18th with a one-shot lead. His tee shot found the fairway, and his second shot bounced off the rocks and into the water, leading to bogey. Cole failed to get up-and-down from right of the green and made par, giving Kirk new life in the playoff.


PLAYA DEL CARMEN, Mexico (AP) — Charles Howell III finally made winning feel easy at Mayakoba when his putter came to life for an 8-under 63 to win the LIV Golf Invitational by four shots for his first title in the Saudi-funded series.

Howell had seven birdies through 10 holes to take control at El Camaleon, and then got some help when Peter Uihlein had to hit three tee shots on the 12th hole in a triple bogey that removed any drama from the final round.

Howell won in his sixth start in LIV Golf and picked up $4 million, with an additional $1 million for leading his Crushers to a nine-shot victory.

LIV Golf’s opening event in a 14-tournament schedule was a happy time for Howell, the 42-year-old from Augusta, Georgia, who won only three times in 23 seasons and 607 starts on the PGA Tour. Two of his three PGA Tour wins were in playoffs, and the other was a two-shot win.

Howell had a bogey-free card, and most of his birdies were in the 8-foot to 15-foot range as he ran off four in a row and rarely made any mistakes.

Uihlein made the most of the final six holes with enough birdies for a 68 to finish alone in second, worth $2,125,000. Branden Grace had a 67 and finished third, with $1.5 million.


CHONBURI, Thailand (AP) — Lilia Vu rode a hot putter to claim her maiden LPGA title, closing with an 8-under 64 for a one-shot victory over home favorite Natthakritta Vongtaveelap in the LPGA Thailand.

Vu trailed six six shots going into the final round. The 25-year-old American unleashed eight birdies, including five straight from the eighth hole.

She finished at 22-under 266 on the Old Course at Siam Country Club.

Vu became the third American to win the event after Lexi Thompson in 2016 and Jessica Korda in 2018.

Playing her first LPGA tournament, Vongtaveelap’s lack of experience took a toll with the 20-year-old enduring a mixed final round featuring seven birdies offset by a double bogey and four bogeys to sign for a 71.

Another Thai golfer, Atthaya Thitikul, was third after a final-round 68 got her to 268. Maja Stark of Sweden and French Celine Boutier settled at joint fourth on 271, one ahead of top-ranked Lydia Ko, who finished joint-sixth on 272.


NEW DELHI (AP) — Marcel Siem ended his long wait for a fifth European tour title by closing with a 4-under 68 for a one-shot victory in the Hero Indian Open.

Siem’s last win on the tour came eight years and 116 days ago at the 2014 BMW Masters in Shanghai. The 42-year-old German had to go through qualifying school in November.

Starting one shot behind Yannik Paul, Siem took a share of the lead after a 20-foot birdie putt at the fourth. They remained tied through 13 holes, and Siem regained the lead with a 15-foot birdie putt on the 15th hole.

He closed his round with three more pars, rolling in a 3-foot par putt on No. 18 to win moments after Paul slid his birdie putt wide from about 12 feet.

Paul finished alone in second on 13 under, with Dutchman Joost Luiten another shot back in third.


Dylan Mostert birdied the final hole for a 5-under 67 and a one-shot victory over Jaco Prinsloo in the Nelson Mandela Bay Championship Prinsloo closed with a 62. The tournament was co-sanctioned by the Sunshine Tour and the Challenge Tour. ... Brett Coletta set the course record with a 9-under 61 and won the TPS Hunter Valley in a playoff over Lincoln Tighe on the PGA Tour of Australasia.


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