Five things from BMW Championship
LAKE FOREST, Ill.
Zach Johnson proved to be the ultimate putting machine, breaking out of a three-way tie for the lead with birdies at Nos. 16 and 17 to notch a two-stroke victory at the BMW Championship. Johnson fired a 6-under 65 Monday at Conway Farms for a 72-hole total of 16-under 268.
“I putted phenomenal,” Johnson said. “I’ve been hitting it good, and I have not putted like that in weeks. It’s nice having everything come together.”
Just a few weeks after Johnson skipped The Barclays, the kickoff to the FedEx Cup playoffs — to serve as best man at his brother’s wedding — he won his 10th PGA Tour title and improved to No. 4 in the FedEx Cup standings. Here are 5 Things to Know from Monday's finish:
1. MORE HEARTACHE FOR FURYK: On Friday, Jim Furyk was on top of the world after shooting the sixth round of 59 in PGA Tour history. Monday was a different story. Furyk was unable to hold the 54-hole lead for the fifth straight time.
Bidding for his first Tour title since the 2010 Tour Championship, Furyk climbed to 15 under with an 11-foot birdie putt at the 10th hole to extend his lead to two strokes.
But he lipped out par putts on the 11th and 13th holes to squander his lead. He rebounded with a birdie at the 14th hole to regain a share of the lead with Johnson and Watney. Furyk, who needed only 23 putts during his magical round of 59, couldn’t get the putts to drop during Monday's closing stretch. He shot even-par 71 and finished alone in third place.
2. TICKETS PUNCHED TO TOUR CHAMPIONSHIP: After a day when several players moved in and out of the FedEx Cup standings' top 30, Luke Donald and Nick Watney are in and Harris English and Lee Westwood are out.
Donald started the week 54th and had figured he needed a top-five finish. He took care of business by shooting a 5-under 66 to finish T-4. Donald rose to the occasion with a back-nine 32.
“I felt butterflies on the last couple,” Donald said. “You knew what was on the line, and if you don’t make it to Atlanta you don’t have a chance to win that FedEx Cup.”
English, who entered the week 28th in points, shot a final-round 74 and finished 50th to drop to No. 31 in the FedEx Cup.
“I didn’t have it going today, didn’t have any momentum going, didn’t get my putter hot; so that’s kind of how it was going,” English said.
3. WATNEY’S MONDAY CHARGE: Nick Watney entered the final day thinking about qualifying for the Tour Championship. Having entered the week at No. 34 in the FedEx Cup standings, he knew he needed to go low. But after jumping out of the gate with three straight birdies and four of his first seven holes, he was suddenly in the mix for the title.
“I knew I needed a big day,” Watney said. “It never really entered my head until I saw, going to 17, I was one back and was able to make birdie there.”
Watney held a share of the lead until Johnson surged ahead with his late birdie binge. Watney fired a final-round 64, the low round of the day.
Watney vaulted to No. 12 in the FedEx Cup standings and finished alone in second place at 14-under with a 72-hole total of 270. It was also his best result of the season.
“You know, I did all I can do,” he said.
4. GEORGIA ON THEIR MINDS: Roberto Castro, the Georgia Tech product, has played East Lake Country Club too many times to count. He earned a spot in the Tour Championship with a final-round 68 and 15th-place finish at the BMW Championship. Castro finished No. 24 in the FedEx Cup standings. As a result, he also earned his first invitation to the Masters.
“Two tournaments in Georgia,” Castro said. “That’s a bonus for me."
Brendon de Jonge also booked his first trip to the Tour Championship and the Masters in 2014 by finishing in the top 30 of the FedEx Cup.
5. SHORT SHOTS: Tiger Woods reclaims the top spot in points, with Henrik Stenson second and Adam Scott third. . . . Of Woods' 12 rounds during the FedEx Cup playoffs, nine have been at or below par after Monday's even-par 71. . . . Behind Watney's 64 and Johnson's 65, the next-lowest number of the day was 66, shot by five players: Keegan Bradley, Jason Day, Luke Donald, Billy Horschel and Chris Kirk; only Kirk failed to advance to East Lake.