Fourth-ranked Patrick Cantlay simply repeated himself, and he has a chance to do it again.
Defending champion Cantlay made a clutch birdie on the 17th hole and a tough par on the last to shoot 2-under-par 69 in the final round, and beat Scott Stallings by one stroke to win the BMW Championship, second event of the FedEx Cup Playoffs, at Wilmington Country Club in Wilmington, Del.
The BMW started out as the Western Open in 1899.
The top 70 players in the FedEx Cup point standings qualified for the BMW, while the top 30 now will advance to the Tour Championship beginning Thursday at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta, where Cantlay also won last year to claim the FedEx Cup.
“It hit the ball solidly all day, made a lot of putts and got a couple of good breaks,” said Cantlay, from Los Alamitos and UCLA, who claimed his eighth PGA Tour title. “I got a great break there on No. 17 that obviously I wasn’t expecting and was able to take advantage of it to win the tournament.
“I worked on seeing the line better on my putts after missing some short ones yesterday and was able to make a lot of clutch four- and five-footers today. The putter felt pretty good in my hands and I had really good control on the greens.
“I played a lot of great golf this week, so I’m just glad to come out of her with the win and hope to carry this over to next week.”
Cantlay, who became the first player to repeat as champion in any tournament during the 16-year history of the playoffs and rose five spots to No. 2 in the FedEx point standings, was tied for the lead with Stallings when his drive on the 17th hole bounced over a bunker and back into the fairway.
Then Cantlay hit his approach shot from 64 yards to within six feet of the hole to set up his birdie, and after driving into a fairway bunker on the last hole, he hit the green and two-putted from 47 feet to post a winning score of 14-under 270.
Stallings, who entered the tournament at No. 46 in the point standings and rose to No. 12, made three birdies on the first 11 holes in his own 69 take a two-stroke lead, only to have Cantlay pass him with three birdies on the back nine.
“(Making the playoffs) was my number one goal to start the year,” said the 37-year-old Stallings, who has won three times on the PGA Tour, but not since the 2013 Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines Golf Course in La Jolla.
“To compete with the best players in the world and make it to East Lake (for the first time) was better late than never, I guess.”
Top-ranked Scottie Scheffler also made three birdies on the back nine in a 70 and regained the lead in the point standings while finishing two shots back in a tie for third with sixth-ranked Xander Schauffele of La Jolla and San Diego State, who had two birdies and two bogeys on the front nine before making nine straight pars coming home in a 71.
K.H. Lee of South Korea birdied the first four holes to kick-start his 65 and climbed seven spots to No. 26 in the point standings while finishing four down in a tie for fifth with Corey Conners who birdied three of the last four holes in a 69 to rise five spots to No. 19, and Adam Scott of Australia, who gained 16 shots to No. 29 by closing with a 71.
Third-ranked Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland birdied the last three holes to finish five strokes behind in a tie for eighth with fifth-ranked Jon Rahm of Spain, who carded a bogey-free 67, Taylor Pendrith of Canada, who totaled 69 but did not make the finale at No. 46 in the standings, and Joaquin Niemann of Chile, who remained at No. 19 in the standings with a 70.
Tenth-ranked Victor Hovland of Norway made a hole in one from 203 yards on his way to a 65 to tie for 35th, eighth-ranked Collin Morikawa of La Canada Flintridge and Cal struggled to a 79 that included a quintuple-bogey 10 after hitting two balls into the water at No. 15 to tie for 44th, and seventh-ranked Justin Thomas tied for 52nd after a 71.
Ninth-ranked Will Zalatoris, who won the FedEx St. Jude Championship last week to open the playoffs but was forced to withdraw after three holes in the third round of the BMW because of a lower back injury, slipped two spots to No. 3 in the standings and hopes to play in the Tour Championship.
Rookie Sahith Theegala of Chino Hills and Pepperdine shot 68 and slipped one spot to No. 29 in the standings to make the Tour Championship, and Aaron Wise of Lake Elsinore totaled 73, but still gained one spot to finish right on the number at No. 30.
Shane Lowry of Ireland, who won the 2019 Open Championship, closed with a 68 to tie for 12th, but finished on the outside looking in at No. 31 in the point standings, while Trey Mullinax also had 68 to tie for 12th and wound up at No. 32.
For complete results and FedEx Cup point totals, visit https://www.pgatour.com/leaderboard.html