Chappell ready to finally be the groom

American Kevin Chappell hits his tee shot on the par-four 14th hole during the second round of the Deutsche Bank Championship. He recorded a par on that hole. He mixed an eagle, six birdies and a bogey on Saturday for a seven-under 64.
American Kevin Chappell hits his tee shot on the par-four 14th hole during the second round of the Deutsche Bank Championship. He recorded a par on that hole. He mixed an eagle, six birdies and a bogey on Saturday for a seven-under 64. PHOTO: REUTERS

He'll draw strength from runner-up finishes as he seeks 1st PGA win, Ryder Cup spot

BOSTON • A maiden PGA Tour win looms large for Kevin Chappell, after the American golfer took a one-shot lead over Jimmy Walker and Paul Casey after two rounds of the Deutsche Bank Championship.

The 30-year-old has finished runner-up three times on the Tour this season.

He could end that sequence given that he has been playing consistently well.

On Saturday, buoyed by an eagle at the par-five seventh hole after pitching in from the fairway 35 yards out, he carded a seven-under 64 on the tree-lined TPC Boston.

"There's no secret that the more I'm smiling, the more I'm having fun, the better I'm playing," he said.

"I finished bogey-double bogey and kind of played my way out of the tournament (on Aug 26 at The Barclays). I really was bothered by that and didn't want to let that happen again."

Chappell is at 11-under 131 at the halfway stage.

PGA Championship winner Walker (64) and Englishman Casey (66) are on 132 in the second of the Tour's four FedEx Cup play-off events.

Chappell has been a regular presence on leaderboards this season, with his most notable performance being second place at the Players Championship in May.

He believes that experience will help him get over the line this time.

"The next 36 holes are going to seem like a long time for me, but I feel comfortable in this situation and each time I get near the lead, I feel more comfortable," the 30-year-old said.

"I feel like I've handled myself well in the situations I've been in this year, and can really pull from that."

He ranks 13th in the PGA play-off standings, but will vault into third if he wins the event today.

Walker is getting back on track after missing the cut in the past two weeks. His form dipped following a short break to celebrate his PGA Championship at the end of July.

"Things got a little out of whack," he said. "I'm just trying to put it all back together. I've been chipping and putting really solid. It was just a matter of finding a few more fairways."

Casey said he is starting to regain the sort of form that took him to third in the world rankings in 2010.

But even if he wins the tournament, he will not play in this month's Ryder Cup because the European team has already been finalised.

Chappell, however, could come into consideration for one of US captain Davis Love's four wildcard picks.

REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE


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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 05, 2016, with the headline 'Chappell ready to finally be the groom'. Print Edition | Subscribe