Thomas Wins BMW, Takes Lead to East Lake

Justin Thomas went to the head of the class.

The 26-year-old Thomas took the FedEx Cup points lead by shooting 4-under-par 68 to win the BMW Championship, second event of the playoffs, by three strokes over Patrick Cantlay at Medinah Country Club, just outside of Chicago.

Thomas, who won the 2017 FedEx Cup and will try to join Tiger Woods as the only two-time winners, will start the Tour Championship at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta on Thursday at 10-under-par under the new scoring system for the finale to be implemented by the PGA Tour. He started the week 15th in the point standings.

“It’s hard to play with a big lead and Patrick made it interesting,” said Thomas, who started the day with a six-stroke lead and held on for his 10th PGA Tour victory, but the first since the 2018 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. “I was nervous at the start today, but I enjoyed it. This is what we play for, to have a chance to win.

“The conditions were difficult with the wind at the start and I hit the ball to bad, couldn’t hit a fairway. But that was a big birdie I made at No. 11 and it’s been so long since I won, it feels great.

“(Next week) I just want to go out and play well, not look at the leaderboard. I love that golf course, but I will have to drive it better because you can’t miss the fairway there or you will have problems.”

Thomas, who took charge with a tournament-record 61 in round three, was treading water until he made four birdies on the last eight holes to finish with another BMW record of 25-under 263.

Cantlay, from Los Alamitos and UCLA, capped his 65 with birdie putts of 19 and 38 feet on the last two holes to climb four spots in the point standings and will start the Tour Championship at 8-under.

Hideki Matsuyama of Japan posted his second 63 of the week to finish five shots back in third and rose 18 places to No. 15, while Tony Finau was seven back in fourth after a 69 and climbed seven spots to No. 12.

Jon Rahm of Spain slipped one spot to No. 6 by closing with a 69 to finish nine down in a tie for fifth with 2012 FedEx Cup champion Brandt Snedeker, who totaled 68 and moved up four places to No. 18.

Lucas Glover who rose 12 spots to No. 29 and punched his ticket to East Lake, and Corey Conners of Canada, who went up four to No. 23, both finished at 69 to come in 10 behind in a tie for seventh, while Adam Scott of Australia moved up one to No. 13 wound up at 67 and was one more back in a tie for ninth with Kevin Kisner, whose 69 lifted him one to No. 20.

Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland, the 2016 FedEx Cup champion, fell two spots to No. 5 with a 71 that left him in a tie for 19th that included Patrick Reed whose 70 dropped last week’s Northern Trust winner two positions to No. 4, and Xander Schauffele of La Jolla and San Diego State, who shot 72 and dropped one to No. 7.

Brooks Koepka lost the points lead and slid to No. 3 by shooting 67 to finish in a tie for 24th that included Webb Simpson, whose 69 lifted him two places to No. 9, while Abraham Ancer of Mexico tied for 28th with a 70 and dropped two slots to No. 10.

Woods, who claimed the FedEx Cup in 2007 and 2009, won’t get a chance to defend his title in the Tour Championship because he slid four spots to No. 42 with a 72 and was in a tie for 37th that included 2015 FedEx Cup winner Jordan Spieth and 2014 FedEx Cup winner Billy Horschel, who both failed to advance to East Lake.

Spieth totaled 70 and remained No. 44, while Horschel had a 68 and fell four to No. 43.

Defending FedEx Cup champion Justin Rose of England carded a 70 to slip five places to No. 17 by finishing in a tie for 52nd with Matt Kuchar, who led the standings for much of the season, but dropped three to No. 7 by closing with a 70, while 2010 FedEx Cup champ Jim Furyk bowed out with a 72 that put him a tie for 57th and fell three places to No. 51.

Last man into the Tour Championship was Jason Kokrak, who shot 69 to tie for 19th and rose two spots to No. 30.

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