Ray Farnell, Harold Varner III’s caddie, was aware how close Varner was to qualifying for next month’s British Open at Royal Troon in Scotland in the late stages of the Quicken Loans National yesterday.
“I just knew when we got on the 14th green, I knew 9 under was a good number to get to because 8 under seemed a logjam,” Farnell said. “Definitely the thinking on 17 was a little more defensive from my end, knowing what was on the line compared to a normal week.”
When Varner, 25, made par on the par-4 18th hole at Congressional Country Club, Farnell walked over to Varner, telling him that he had played well enough to qualify.
Varner said he had no idea what his caddie was talking about.
“As soon as we got done, [Farnell] said, ‘That’s enough.’ I said, ‘Enough for what?’ ” Varner said. “I wish we had more holes. We got our asses kicked. I didn’t know, really. I don’t know if that’s good or bad, but that’s whatever. Just trying to birdie every hole.”
Varner finished seventh at 9 under par after shooting a 1-under 70 on Sunday. He reached the British Open by finishing in the top four among players at the Quicken Loans National who had not already qualified.
Varner has played in one major, the 2013 U.S. Open, and is looking forward to the opportunity to play in another. “It’s very exciting,” Varner said.“You don’t want to go over there and lay an egg.”
When Varner arrived to the clubhouse, he was given a British Open flag, which he said he will give to his mother, and a player badge. He was told not to lose the badge, but he joked that he probably will. After the big week, Varner’s looking forward to some much deserved time off.
“I’m ready to go home tonight and sleep in my bed,” Varner said. “And ride jet skis tomorrow. That’s all I want to do.”
Coming into the Quicken Loans National, Rickie Fowler had missed three straight cuts: the Players Championship, the Memorial and the U.S. Open.
The No. 6 golfer in the world made the cut in Bethesda with two rounds of 68 — and just one bogey — to sit at a comfortable 6 under. But his game sharply declined after that.
On Saturday, Fowler had four bogeys en route to a 73. On Sunday, he shot a 74, bogeying six holes, and finished the tournament in a tie for 44th at 1 under.
“The performance score-wise doesn’t exactly reflect how I played or how I feel about the game,” Fowler said. “Obviously not the way I wanted to play this weekend, but a lot of positives coming out of here. I started driving it really well today. Didn’t show by the score, but built some confidence over the weekend. I’m definitely in a better spot than before coming into this week.”
Fowler plans to play in Zach Johnson’s charity event Monday before heading to Akron, Ohio, for the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational, which begins Thursday.