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The Shorty: House Afire

Kevin Chappell

Though his surname is pronounced like a house of worship, Kevin Chappell isn’t exactly a household name.

Still, this 30-year-old Californian has been knocking on the door on the PGA Tour for a while now, notching six runner-up finishes in his first six seasons. Four of those came in 2015-16, one at the Players Championship and another at the Tour Championship.

Taking momentum from a T7 finish at The Masters to San Antonio, Chappell birdied the 72nd hole Sunday to edge Brooks Koepka and win the Valero Texas Open, his first Tour title.  

Like Chappell, Bernd Wiesberger has been on the upswing of late, posting seven top-five finishes on the European Tour over the past eight months. The only thing missing in that span was a victory, a void the 31-year-old Austrian filled Sunday in China by winning the sodden Shenzhen International in a playoff.

You might recall Wiesberger playing in Sunday’s final pairing at the 2014 PGA Championship with eventual winner Rory McIlroy (who, reports tell us, married fiancée Erica Stoll in a lavish ceremony at an Irish castle on Saturday). Wiesberger plunged to a 74 that day, but his recent form suggests he’ll contend in a major again.

Meanwhile, the possibility of Tiger Woods contending again in a major – let alone competing at all – appears increasingly remote following his fourth back surgery, a spinal fusion he underwent last Wednesday in Texas. Despite the optimistic tone his announcement and ensuing comments from his agent struck, the odds of a successful Woods comeback seem considerably longer than those he defied at 6 down to Trip Kuehne or on one leg at Torrey Pines.  




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