Patrick Cantlay led virtually wire-to-wire, but it still came down to his final shot.
The fourth-ranked Cantlay tapped in for a closing birdie to cap a 1-under-par 69 and claim one-stroke victory over top-ranked Jon Rahm of Spain in the Tour Championship at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta.
By winning, Cantlay claimed the FedEx Cup and the $15-million prize that goes with it after taking the lead in the point standings when he outlasted seventh-ranked Bryson DeChambeau of Clovis in a six-hole playoff to win the BMW Championship last Monday.
“Definitely a huge win and I can’t quite put into words yet what it means,” said Cantlay, who claimed his fourth PGA Tour victory of the season, while no other play won more than two. “It’s such a great honor because it’s for all season. I played well all the way and then got hot at the end.
“It was tough being in the lead all week, but I just told myself to keep my focus, stay in the present and I did a great job of that. That’s the longest I’ve ever held the lead in any tournament. We separated ourselves and it was almost like one-on-one, like match play.
“I figured I had to make at least make birdie on the last hole because I figured Jon might chip-in for eagle. It was nice to have two putts to win at the end.”
Cantlay, from Los Alamitos and UCLA, sank a clutch six-foot bogey putt on the 17th hole, and after Rahm hit a brilliant approach shot to the fringe on the final hole, Cantlay hit his approach to within 11 feet and two putts later finished with a winning score of 21-under 269.
Rahm missed an 11-foot birdie putt on the 17th hole and his eagle chip from 19 feet rolled just past the hole and he also finished with a birdie for a bogey-free 68.
“I played well again but just didn’t make enough putts,” said Rahm, the reigning U.S. Open champion. “The only two birdies I made today were tap-ins, but there were several putts that I thought I made that just didn’t go in.
“Patrick just played solid all week and didn’t make any mistakes. Neither one of us made many birdies today but we made a lot of good pars. It’s disappointing not to win, but I gave it my all and just didn’t win.”
Kevin Na, who skipped his senior year a Diamond Bar to turn pro in 2001 when he was 17, birdied the last hole for a bogey-free 67 and finished five shots back in solo third, while sixth-ranked Justin Thomas, the 2017 FedEx Cup winner, birdied the last hole to shoot 70 and was one more down in fourth.
Fourth-ranked Xander Schauffele, the Olympic Gold Medalist from La Jolla and San Diego State, birdied the last four holes to complete a 64 that was low score of the day and wound up seven down in a tie for fifth with Viktor Hovland of Norway, who birdied the last two for a 65, while DeChambeau had fourth birdies on the back nine to finish eight behind in seventh after a 66.
Second-ranked Dustin Johnson, the defending Tour Championship and FedEx Cup winner, sank a seven-foot eagle putt at No. 6 en route to a 67 to finish 10 down in eighth, while Billy Horschel, the 2014 FedEx Cup champ, and Abraham Ancer of Mexico both totaled 70 and wound up 11 down in a tie for ninth.
Ninth-ranked Tony Finau tied for 11th after a 68, eighth-ranked Louis Oosthuizen of South Africa closed with a 70 to tie for 14th, while third-ranked Collin Morikawa of La Canada Flintridge and Cal, the reigning Open champion, came in at 72 to wind up in a tie for 26th with Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama of Japan, who closed with a 70.
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