Dustin Johnson wins FedEx Cup at season-ending Tour Championship in Atlanta
Dustin Johnson held off determined challenges from Justin Thomas and Xander Schauffele to win the Tour Championship, FedEx Cup title and the first prize of GBP 11.2million in Atlanta.
Johnson saw his five-shot overnight lead cut to two, first by playing partner Schauffele and then Thomas, but the world number one held his nerve to secure the eight-figure payday at East Lake.
A closing round of 68 gave Johnson a winning total of 21 under par, with Schauffele and Thomas sharing second place on 18 under following matching rounds of 66.
It was the fourth event in a row in which Johnson had led or shared the lead after 54 holes, aided by starting on 10 under par thanks to the controversial handicap system adopted last year for the FedEx Cup play-offs.
The 36-year-old finished second in the US PGA Championship, shot 30 under par to win the first play-off event by 11 shots and then lost a play-off in the BMW Championship, where Jon Rahm holed from 66 feet for birdie on the first extra hole.
Unsurprisingly, the last player to hold the 54-hole lead in four straight strokeplay events was Tiger Woods in 1999 and he won all four, starting with the US PGA Championship and ending with the Tour Championship.
Johnson’s five-shot lead made him a prohibitive favourite for victory and he responded to a flurry of early birdies from his rivals with three of his own in the first six holes.
Bogeys at the seventh and eighth gave the chasing pack hope and Schauffele birdied the 11th and 12th to get to within two of the lead as Johnson began to feel the pressure.
However, just when he had Johnson on the ropes, Schauffele let him off again with a bogey on the 13th after pushing his drive into the trees and fluffing his pitch from short of the green.
Johnson had also come up short of the green and hit a similarly bad pitch, but rattled in the par putt from 20 feet to extend his lead once more.
Schauffele got up and down from 130 yards to save par on the 14th following another errant drive and Thomas birdied the 16th to close within two of Johnson’s lead, only to promptly bogey the next after a wild tee shot.
Schauffele also birdied the 16th to keep the pressure on Johnson, but that was as close as he could get and Johnson finished in style with a birdie on the last.
England’s Tyrrell Hatton fired a closing 66 to finish in seventh place on 12 under par, a shot ahead of defending champion Rory McIlroy.
McIlroy, who celebrated becoming a father for the first time with the birth of daughter Poppy a week ago, carded five birdies and two bogeys in a closing 67.
On this day in 2008: Ryder Cup misery in Louisville for Nick Faldo’s Europe
Faldo was heavily criticised for his tactics in the closing singles.
Lucas Glover edges past Patrick Cantlay to claim back-to-back Tour wins
Glover, 43, ultimately claimed victory with a par on the 18th hole playoff after Cantlay found water off the tee.
Lilia Vu wins second major as Charley Hull comes up short despite stunning eagle
American Vu added the Women’s Open title to her Chevron Championship.
Lucas Glover holds onto lead in Memphis with Tommy Fleetwood two strokes behind
Glover said it was a scrappy day but he got ‘a lot out of’ what he had.
Charley Hull shares lead with Lilia Vu heading into final day of Women’s Open
The pair are nine under for the tournament.
On This Day in 2007 – Tiger Woods claims 13th major with victory in Oklahoma
The world number one successfully defended his US PGA Championship title.
Ally Ewing out to emulate Brian Harman with Open win
The pair share their southern roots, passion for hunting and college teams named the Bulldogs.
Ally Ewing storms clear during second round of AIG Women’s Open at Walton Heath
At 10 under par Ewing enjoyed a five-shot lead over compatriot Andrea Lee and Japan’s Minami Katsu.
Jordan Spieth leads by one after first round of FedEx St Jude Championship
England’s Tommy Fleetwood and Aaron Rai are the best of the British contingent, closing out Thursday on four under par.
Rory McIlroy delighted with Tiger Woods’ role on PGA Tour’s policy board
Woods, 47, has not played since withdrawing from April’s Masters and concedes his playing opportunities will be extremely limited going forward.