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Chris Kirk Wins Fort Smith Classic

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TravisMathew team member Chris Kirk fired a 6-under 64 on Sunday to come from behind and win the Fort Smith Classic by one stroke over Kyle Thompson, who charged up the board with a 7-under 63.

Kirk finished at 16-under 264 and earned his first career title. He collected $94,500 in the process, pushing him from No. 4 to No. 1 on the money list with $262,382, which should be more than enough to guarantee him a place among THE 25 leading money winners who will move onto the PGA TOUR next year.

“It’s been a lot of years since I won a golf tournament. I had forgotten how good it feels,” said the 25-year old who won seven times during his days with the Bulldogs. “This takes care of a lot of goals in one round. My first win on Tour and then to be able to secure my PGA TOUR card for next year and go to number one on the money list at the same time feels incredible.”

Kirk played in the final pairing with Broadaway and quickly moved to the lead with birdies on his first two holes, getting to 12-under par. He added two more at number five and six to reach 14-under.

“There were some good scores on the front nine. You can make some hay on those first seven holes,” said Kirk. “There are a lot of tough holes after that and not quite as many birdie opportunities.”

Kirk bogeyed No. 8 and then chipped out from the trees on No. 9 and saved par with an up-and-down from 60 yards. He added a birdie on the par-5 11th to get back to 14-under.

“After I made birdie there, I thought somebody was going to have play really well,” said Kirk. “I thought if I could get to 16-under somebody would have trouble catching me. That was the number in my head.”

Birdies at No. 13 and 15 put him right where he wanted to be. The latter one coming within seconds of Thompson rolling in his birdie putt on the par-4 18th to post a score of 15-under.

That put the pressure back on Kirk, who lost a playoff at the Moonah Classic in Australia after blowing a two-shot lead with three holes to go in regulation.

“Anyone who says that doubt doesn’t creep into their heads, well they’re lying,” said Kirk, who parred the final three holes. “I’ve just taken the approach that negative thoughts are very natural. Let them come and go and then let’s get back to being positive. I learned a lot from that playoff. It’s a huge sense of relief to be able to finish strong today.”

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