Stefani loses playoff, but gets into British Open
BETHESDA, Md. (AP) Shawn Stefani’s consolation prize for losing a playoff was a chance to play in his first British Open.
Stefani, Charley Hoffman, Ben Martin and Brendan Steele qualified for the major next month at Royal Liverpool based on their placements Sunday at the Quicken Loans National.
The spots went to the top four finishers who hadn’t already qualified. Stefani lost a playoff to Justin Rose to claim second, while Hoffman and Martin tied for third. Steele and Andres Romero tied for fifth, but Steele got the spot based on his higher world ranking.
Steele could’ve made it much easier on himself. He was in contention to win the tournament until he put his approach in the water at No. 18. He then two-putted from 28 feet for a double bogey.
He and Martin also will be making their first British Open appearances. Hoffman will be going for the fourth time; he’s made the cut once.
”That was something that crossed my mind throughout the week, a little bit,” Martin said after his closing 71. ”I tried not to really think about it. I’ve never played a British Open, British Am, anything. I’m pretty excited to be finally heading over there.”
REED’S MELTDOWN: With Tiger Woods not making the cut, it was left to Patrick Reed to sport the Sunday red shirt in the final group with a chance to take home the trophy.
He didn’t wear it well.
Reed’s tee shot at the par-3 10th didn’t land anywhere close to dry land, and his second shot at No. 11 went into a creek. That gave him back-to-back double bogeys on the way to a 77, dropping him to even par for the tournament and a tie for 11th.
Reed fell so far off the lead that he took part in a PGA Tour rarity: He and playing partner Seung-Yul Noh were still on the course finishing No. 18 when the playoff between began between Rose and Stefani. There was no need to wait because both were mathematically eliminated.
”Just seemed like everything that could go wrong on the back nine did,” Reed said. ”Yeah, I did a lot of things great this week, but this definitely burns and definitely gets me more fired up for more events coming up.”
Reed has won three times on the PGA Tour since last August, boosting his confidence enough for him to say he felt he was among the top five players in the world. Then the birth of his first child a month ago became a distraction that knocked him off his game, and Sunday was the first time he didn’t win when holding at least a share of the lead going into the final round.
”I was 100 percent going into this week on closing,” Reed said, ”and now I’m 75 percent. It’s still pretty good odds.”
PERRENIAL ROSE: Rose has won at least once on the PGA Tour for five consecutive seasons. That’s the third longest active streak on the tour, behind Phil Mickelson (10) and Dustin Johnson (7).
Johnson has already won this season, while Mickelson has not.
Bill Haas (4) could tie Rose with a win later this season.
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