Chris Kirk wins Korn Ferry event 13 months after taking leave for alcohol and depression
In May 2019, Chris Kirk's life had deteriorated to the point where he felt he needed to step back from the Gulf, clear his head, and control his alcohol and depression problems.
Thirteen months later he is the tournament winner again.
Kirk paced Birdie at Par-5-18 to win the King & Bear Classic on the Korn Ferry Tour. His 25-under-sum was good for a one-shot win over Justin Lower in a week's shootout in northeastern Florida.
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"It feels great to be back among the winners," said Kirk. "It's been a while for me. I hope I can get things going over the next few weeks and the rest of the year."
It is Kirk's first win of any kind since May 2015 when he won the Colonial Crowne Plaza Invitaitonal for his fourth PGA Tour win. It is also his third victory on the Korn Ferry Tour. The first two will come back in summer 2010 before it has become an integral part of the PGA Tour.
34-year-old Kirk still has a PGA tour card and was the first alternative for RBC Heritage this week. He reached number 16 in the world rankings in 2015 before struggling with his game and private life.
"I've been dealing with alcohol abuse and depression for some time," he said when he announced his permanent vacation from professional golf.
"I thought I could control it, but after several relapses, I found I couldn't fix it on my own."
Five months later he returned to the PGA Tour at the Mayakoba Golf Classic, where he finished 33rd. He missed his next five cuts in a row before finishing T-60 at the Charles Schwab Challenge last week.
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