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WATCH: How Kyle Stanley Won the Quicken Loans National

Kyle Stanley has fought his way back into relevancy with a strong 2017 season. (Photo Credit: Peter Casey, USA Today Sports)

More than five years after Kyle Stanley won his first PGA Tour title in dramatic come-from-behind fashion at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, the 29-year-old pulled the comeback trick once again, this time shooting a 4-under 66 in the final round to skate up a jam-packed leaderboard and force a playoff with Charles Howell III, who also shot 66 Sunday.

Stanley has been in fine form this year, starting with a tie for eighth in Houston and building with a tie for fourth at the Players Championship, where he had a chance to win until a Sunday 75. He went on to tie for sixth at the Memorial Tournament, another sign that his time was soon to arrive.

When the final putt dropped, he struggled to hold back tears.

“I’ve had so much help from my coaches, my family, my wife,” Stanley said. “It’s hard to put into words right now.”

Many had high expectations for the former Clemson Tiger when he first earned his PGA Tour card and recorded 22 top-25s in his first three seasons. However, Stanley fell into a dark hole in the following three seasons, never sniffing contention or the top 100 in the FedEx Cup points standings.

He started the year 258th in the world. With the victory, he was projected to move to 58th.

Perhaps the most critical moment of the tournament came on the par-3 17th as Stanley narrowly missed the water with his tee shot and then performed a Houdini act to save par. He made a similarly impressive up-and-down in the playoff, calmly hitting a deft shot out of a difficult lie in the rough to 5 feet while Howell played a poor chip and failed to convert his par putt.

Howell has now made 293 PGA Tour starts since his last victory, the 2007 Nissan Open. His consolation prize is a trip to the Open Championship in two weeks at Royal Birkdale. Along with Stanley and Howell, the two other Open qualifiers from the Quicken Loans National were Martin Laird and Sung Kang.


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