Rory McIlroy wins PGA Tour ChampionshipPosted on September 25, 2016
Rory McIlroy finally won the FedEx Cup when he least expected it.
McIlroy was three shots behind with three holes to play Sunday in the Tour Championship in Atlanta. Nearly two hours later, he holed a 15-foot birdie putt on the fourth extra hole to win the tournament and claim the $10 million FedEx Cup bonus.
“I took advantage of my opportunities today and yeah, here we are,” McIlroy said, his voice hoarse from screaming over so many quality shots and big moments.
In its 10th year, the FedEx Cup never had a finish like this.
McIlroy fittingly won on the 16th hole, where his remarkable rally began in regulation when he holed out from 137 yards for eagle, and then made birdie on the final hole for a 6-under 64 to join a three-man playoff with Ryan Moore (64) and Kevin Chappell (66).
Moore had an 8-foot birdie putt on the 72nd hole to win and it caught the lip and spun out. Chappell had a 20-foot birdie putt on the last hole to win and left it short.
They finished at 12-under 268.
Dustin Johnson surprisingly was never a factor as he hit too many errant shots on the front nine and never recovered, closing with a 73. Johnson, however, still would have won the FedEx Cup if either Moore or Chappell had won the tournament.
McIlroy had control of this all along. He looked to put the perfect finish onto his big day when he hit over the water to 6 feet for an eagle putt on the par-5 18th in the first playoff hole. Moore, however, holed a 10-footer for birdie. McIlroy was ready to pump his fist until his eagle putt slid by, and he removed his cap in disbelief.
Returning to the 18th, McIlroy missed an 18-foot birdie putt for the win. On the third extra hole, the par-3 15th over the water from 201 yards, McIlroy had to make a 7-foot par putt just to stay in the game.
Nothing was bigger than that birdie at the end. McIlroy stiffened his back, clutched both arms and shouted above the raucous cheers at East Lake. He earned a total of $11.53 million on Sunday, including $1.53 million for the Tour Championship. It was the 13th victory
At the start of the month, he had not won all year on the PGA Tour. He won the Deutsche Bank Championship three weeks ago, and then needed a little bit of help from Johnson to capture the FedEx Cup.
The consolation prize for Moore might be a trip to Hazeltine National for the Ryder Cup.
The American team decided to wait until after the Tour Championship for Davis Love III to make his fourth and final captain’s pick. Moore, who won the John Deere Classic last month, showed all the qualities of a Ryder Cup player on Sunday, right to the very end.
Moore looked as though he would make it easy on McIlroy on the 16th in the playoff when his chip over a mound ran some 15 feet by the hole. He had to putt for par before McIlroy made birdie, and Moore drained it to force McIlroy to make his.
Love was to announce his pick later Sunday at halftime of the NFL game.
It was the longest playoff in the 30-year history of the Tour Championship.
For Johnson, it was the difference of $7 million with McIlroy winning. Johnson finished second in the FedEx Cup and received $3 million.
And it was more heartache for Chappell, who had his fourth runner-up finish this year. He twice was runner-up to Jason Day, and once to McIlroy. Chappell’s closing rounds in those runner-up finishes were 67, 69, 69 and 66.
He had a two-shot lead with two holes to play when his tee shot found the nasty rough on the 17th and he made bogey — only his third of the week — and he failed to birdie the 18th.
“Played those two holes in 10. Probably not going to win too often,” Chappell said. “I gave it all I had and got some good breaks, got some bad breaks there the last couple holes. But I’m proud of the way I fought. It just wasn’t enough.”
PGA CHAMPIONS TOUR
Colin Montgomerie won the Pacific Links Bear Mountain Championship in Victoria, British Columbia, outlasting Scott McCarron with a birdie on the third hole of a playoff.
Montgomerie closed with a 4-under 67 to match McCarron at 15-under 198 at scenic Bear Mountain Resort, the first-year venue in the PGA Tour Champions event that was played in Hawaii from 2012-14.
McCarron bogeyed the par-5 18th in regulation for a 70.
Montgomerie and McCarron matched pars on 18 on the first two extra holes.
The 53-year-old Montgomerie’s three previous victories on the 50-and-over tour came in major championships — the 2014 and 2015 Senior PGA Championship and 2014 U.S. Senior Open. The Scot won 31 times on the European Tour and topped the tour’s money list a record eight times, seven in a row from 1993-99.
French golfer Alexander Levy wasted a four-shot lead but beat Ross Fisher of England in a playoff to win the shortened European Open in Bad Griesbach, Germany.
Levy had bogeys on the 16th and the 18th and narrowly missed a birdie putt on the 17th to finish the day at 2-under 69 and 19-under overall.
Fisher shot 7-under 64 on the final day but also missed a birdie putt on the 17th and tied with Levy on 19 under. Levy then made a birdie on the second playoff hole to claim the title.
The tournament was reduced to 54 holes because of fog delays over the first three days.
Levy entered the third and final round with a four-shot lead at 17 under after 36 bogey-free holes.
He had three bogeys in his first five holes as playing partner Fisher kept closing the gap to be one shot behind on the final tee.
The Frenchman put his second shot into the spectators’ area to send it into a playoff.
Two Swedes, Robert Karlsson (65) and Michael Jonzon (68), tied for third at 16 under.
Grayson Murray won the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship and Cameron Smith and Kevin Tway wrapped up PGA Tour cards.
Already guaranteed a PGA Tour card with an 18th-place finish on the Web.com Tour’s regular-season money list, Murray closed with a 3-under 68 to beat Smith by a stroke in the third of four events in the Web.com Tour Finals. Tway tied for third with third-round leader Martin Flores.
Murray finished at 12-under 272 on Ohio State’s Scarlet Course in Columbus, Ohio and earned $180,000 to jump from 11th to second with $407,963 on the PGA Tour priority list among the 25 card-earners from the Web.com money list. The former Wake Forest and Arizona State player will be 23 on Saturday.
Murray lost in a three-man playoff in August in the Web.com Tour event in Wichita, Kansas.
Smith also shot a 67. After finishing 157th in the PGA Tour’s FedEx Cups standings, the Australian made $108,000 to go from 48th to third with $114,910 in the series race for 25 more PGA Tour cards.
Tway had a 67 to match Flores (74) at 10 under. Tway was 27th on the Web.com money list. His $58,000 check moved him from 52nd to ninth with $63,975, more than enough to secure one of the 25 cards.