Stanley and Fleetwood continue career revivals, Langer's putting again called into question: What you missed this weekend
Welcome to the Dew Sweeper, your one-stop shop to catch up on the weekend action from the golf world. From the professional tours, trending news, social media headlines and upcoming events, here's every golf-related thing you need to know for the morning of July 3.
Stanley returns to winner's circle
Starting Sunday four shots back, Kyle Stanley was hoping for a top-four finish at the Quicken Loans National, one that would grant an invite to the Open Championship. He ultimately earned a spot in the Royal Birkdale field, but grabbed something sweeter: a win at TPC Potomac.
The 29-year-old shot a final-round 66, good enough for a playoff against Charles Howell III, and on the first hole of sudden death, Stanley's 4 to Howell's 5 prevailed. It was Stanley's first victory in five years. And the things he had to endure between Ws.
A former All-American and Ben Hogan Award winner at Clemson, Stanley was once a rising star in the sport. Yet though few on tour were better ball-strikers, Stanley found wayward driving and putting issues curbed his potential throughout his 20s, and -- failing to crack the FedEx Cup's top 100 the past three seasons, even spending some time at the Web.com Tour -- he was quickly becoming a tale of unfulfilled promise.
But Stanley has been rejuvenated in 2017, with four top-10s on the season before this week's event.
“It means a lot,” an emotional Stanley said after the round. “I’ve had so much help from my coaches, my family, my wife. It’s hard to put into words right now. I’m sorry.”
Now with a two-year exemption under his belt, don't expect Stanley to fall off the radar anytime soon.
Fleetwood's 2017 tour continues
Speaking of former prodigies, Tommy Fleetwood -- long heralded as Europe's "next big thing" -- is quickly becoming the story of the summer overseas. The 26-year-old, who won at Abu Dhabi in January and posted top-five finishes at the WGC-Mexico and U.S. Open, turned in a closing 66 to best Peter Uihlein at the HNA Open de France at Le Golf National.
The win vaults Fleetwood to No. 15 in the world, quite the accomplishment given he was ranked No. 188 as of last July.
"Life has been a lot better," Fleetwood said. "When you enjoy doing your job, no matter what part of it it is. That's a massive, massive positive. Just to be enjoying golf again, it took a lot of hard work."
Despite a touch-and-go short game, Fleetwood's power off the tee and second-shot finesse puts him on the short list of claret jug contenders. Oh, and if his renaissance wasn't a narrative in itself, Fleetwood grew up minutes away from Royal Birkdale. Going on a limb and saying he may have a few backers at his side in Southport.
Langer's putting legality again called into question
Although anchored putting was banned at the beginning of 2016, Bernhard Langer continues to employ a stroke that looks a helluva lot like a prohibited move. Though the motion has been questioned before -- most notably, at the 2016 Masters and by Hank Haney this May -- it's an issue the PGA Tour Champions has mostly ignored.
But with a heightened spotlight at the U.S. Senior Open, Langer's putting stroke again was a hot topic during FOX's broadcast, with Golf Channel's Brandel Chamblee chiming in as well:
Langer met with USGA officials regarding the anchoring complaints, specifically about the putter shaft touching his body.
"They brought it to my attention, but they said it was totally within the rules," Langer said. "For people to be complaining, they often don't know what they are talking about."
However, video evidence from Saturday seems to present a strong counter:
Considering he's the senior circuit's most dominant player -- the 59-year-old has already won two majors in 2017 -- don't envision this controversy to go quietly into the night.
2017 KPMG Women's PGA Championship-Final Round
OLYMPIA FIELDS, IL - JULY 02: Danielle Kang hits her tee shot on the seventh hole during the final round of the 2017 KPMG Women's PGA Championship at Olympia Fields Country Club on July 2, 2017 in Olympia Fields, Illinois. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images for KPMG)
Kang earns breakthrough on major stage
Brooke Henderson was this close to defending her major title at the KPMG Women's PGA Championship, birdieing her final two holes to tie for the lead with her eagle putt on the 18th hole just coming up short. But the fledging superstar was bested by 24-year-old Danielle Kang, whose birdie at Olympia Fields' home hole gave her a first LPGA victory in 144 career starts.
Kang's back nine was far from a model of consistency. She bogeyed the 10th to fall a shot behind Henderson and Chella Choi, only to answer with four straight birdies to put herself back in the mix. However, she needed a 21-footer to save par on the 16th, and made a mess of things on the 17th for a bogey. Yet Kang, a former two-time U.S. Women's Amateur champions who hadn't had a top-10 in 30 previous major attempts, reached the par-5 18th in two, with the ensuing two-putt giving her the crown.
“I think that it's been a really difficult road for me for the past four or five years,” Kang said. “It’s life, though. You have to pick yourself up, and you have to keep working hard at it, and then believe in what you're doing, and not letting yourself down.”
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