Chris Kirk outduels Eric Cole in a playoff to win 2023 Honda Classic
Finally, Chris Kirk’s wait is over.
Kirk drove through the second round of 62 at the weekend, slept through Saturday night with two shots on 54 holes, and survived the playoffs with rookie Eric Cole, winning for the fifth time on the PGA Tour and the first time in eight years.
In his 179th start, Kirk took his first win since the 2015 Charles Schwab Challenge and received an invitation to the Masters Tournament.
But there was also a roller coaster on the last hole. Facing a second fairway hit from 257 yards, Kirk pushed his ball to the right and could only watch as it bounced off the retaining wall and fell next to a blue Honda SUV that floats in the water at the PGA National.
After falling and wedging, Kirk putt two par-5s last for 69.
Meanwhile, Cole missed the 18th long green and walked away, overcooking the whole length of the green for his third before saving par for extra golf.
They outplayed 18 again, and with their third shot, using a 60-degree wedge, Kirk scored his approach by spinning it with his foot.
Cole’s third shot was from a bunker behind the green, and he left it about 10 feet to the right of the hole. He needed to make a birdie, his putt lip curved to the left side. Kirk then scored his bird kick to take the win.
Earlier in the day, Cole made the throw of the day and took a share of the lead after hitting a 70-foot double break putt on the fifth par-3 hole.
Earlier this year, Kirk placed third at the Sony Open in Hawaii and third at the American Express.
Tyler Duncan was the third solo under the age of 12. Ryan Gerard, who qualified on Monday, was fourth in under-10 singles, earning him a place in the Puerto Rico Open on the opposite side the following week. A special Arnold Palmer Invitational will also take place next week in Orlando.