BMW Championship 2013
Zach Johnson seals win with closing 65
September 17, 2013
Zach Johnson is having a September to remember, and there's still one very big week to go.
In one tournament, he made a 25-foot birdie putt on his final hole to earn the last spot on the Presidents Cup team. In the next one, Johnson made a bunch of big putts in the final round of the rain-delayed BMW Championship for a 6-under 65 for a two-shot victory over Nick Watney.
His win Monday at Conway Farms gave Johnson the No. 4 seed going into Tour Championship, giving him a clear shot at the FedEx Cup and its $10 million prize.
''It's hard to grasp the last two weeks of golf,'' Johnson said. ''It's not like you have to win every week to win that FedEx Cup. You've just got to win at the right times, or play well at the right times. And I like the momentum I have for next week.''
Johnson's 10th career win came at the expense of Jim Furyk, who endured another dose of final-round disappointment. Furyk, who had a one-shot lead, has failed to win the last six times he had at least a share of the lead going into the last round. He holed a 12-foot birdie putt at No. 10 to build a two-shot lead, but played the last eight holes in 2-over and wound up with a 71 to finish alone in third.
Furyk had to settle for slice of history Friday as the sixth player in PGA Tour history with a 59. Only three players in that exclusive club went on to win - Al Geiberger is the only player to win when the 59 was not in the final round.
''I don't know if I used them all up on Friday and knocked them all in or what, but I just wasn't able to get the putts to go,'' Furyk said.
Johnson wasn't the only player who felt like a winner Monday.
Luke Donald, a member at Conway Farms, was No. 54 in the FedEx Cup and was on the verge of being left out of the top 30 players who advanced to the Tour Championship. He ran off four straight birdies on the back nine, atoned for a bogey on No. 16 with a birdie on the 17th, and then saved par from a bunker on the 18th hole for a 66 to tie for fourth. That moved him up to No. 29 to get him into East Lake.
Watney was at No. 34, and he went from playing his way into the top 30 to nearly winning the tournament. Watney closed with a 64 and was tied for the lead until Johnson made an 18-foot birdie putt out of the first cut on the 16th hole, and a 12-footer for birdie on the next hole.
''The guys ahead of me were ahead of me for a reason - they've been playing well all year,'' Watney said. ''Luckily for me, I kind of pulled everything together.''
The FedEx Cup points will be reset, meaning the top five only have to win the Tour Championship to capture the cup.
Tiger Woods will be the No. 1 seed, though he doesn't go there with much momentum. Woods started the final round in cool, breezy conditions just four shots behind and was never a factor after missing a short par putt on the opening hole. He closed with a 71 and tied for 11th, seven shots behind.
''It was not a very good putting week,'' Woods said, who was coming off a tie for 65th on the TPC Boston. ''It's just one of those weeks where I just didn't have it.''
Henrik Stenson, a winner in Boston and angry enough in Chicago that he snapped off the head of his driver during the final round, will be the No. 2 seed at East Lake, followed by Masters champion Adam Scott, Johnson and Matt Kuchar.
Steve Stricker, who played in the final group with Johnson, was one shot off the lead when he started the back nine bogey-double bogey. He closed with a 72, a round that cost him one of the top five seeds.
Furyk had company in his misery.
Matt Jones of Australia had a chance to get to the Tour Championship - which, in effect, would have put him in the four majors next year - but his 8-foot birdie putt on the last hole hit the lip. That cost him a spot in the top 30.
Harris English was at No. 28 and might have caught the worst break of them all. In a driving rain Sunday, he lost the grip on his tee shot and pulled it into grass so thick the ball was never found. The horn to stop play sounded a minute later, and English went back out Monday morning to No. 8 to play his third shot on the par 5. He wound up with a double bogey, never found momentum and fell out of the top 30 by two shots.
Lee Westwood also fell out of the Tour Championship with a poor week.
Johnson put his postseason in jeopardy by skipping the opening FedEx Cup playoff event to attend his brother's wedding. He was at No. 27 before he arrived for the BMW Championship and started the week just wanting to make sure he was in Atlanta.
He did that and more, giving him 10 wins in his 10 years on the PGA Tour.
''I'm going to have to forget about this week, take Atlanta for Atlanta and just play,'' Johnson said. ''East Lake is not Conway Farms. It's a beast. I'm just going to keep doing what I'm doing and just be thankful.''
Johnson finished at 16-under 268 and earned $1.44 million, pushing his career earnings just past $30 million.
Rain forces Monday finish
September 16, 2013
Jim Furyk will have to wait one more day to try to end three years without a PGA Tour victory.
The final round of the BMW Championship was suspended Sunday because of steady rain that left too much water on Conway Farms. Furyk, who has a one-shot lead over Steve Stricker, was still about two hours away from even teeing off.
''The bad news - obviously, I'm anxious to get out there and play, as is everyone else,'' Furyk said. ''But the good news is no one wants to go out and play in this and slop it around in bad weather on a golf course where we're playing the ball down and it's probably a little too wet out there.''
Rory McIlroy found one small consolation to the end of his PGA Tour season - he was one of six players who finished. McIlroy had yet another double bogey - that's 12 double bogeys and a triple bogey in three FedEx Cup playoff events - but holed out from 164 yards for eagle on the 12th hole and had his second straight 68.
It was the first time he had back-to-back rounds in the 60s in the same tournament this year on the PGA Tour.
Furyk was at 13-under 200 and in the final group with Stricker. Brandt Snedeker was two shots behind at 202, followed by Zach Johnson at 203 and Tiger Woods at 204. Woods was penalized two shots on Friday when his ball moved as he was removing a small branch next to it behind the first green.
Dustin Johnson closed with a 72 and had to wait to make sure no one bumped him out of the top 30 in the FedEx Cup, which would keep him from the Tour Championship. Johnson tried to hit 3-wood into the par-5 18th green and produced two splashes - one from water getting between the club face and the ball, the other when the ball came down well short and into a creek.
''It just came out dead,'' he said.
Everyone else was to return to Conway Farms on Monday morning and act like Sunday never happened.
''I think we got the better end of the deal by not even playing in it,'' Stricker said.
Slugger White, the vice president of rules and competition for the PGA Tour, said the forecast was for a half-inch of rain over six hours, which would not have been enough for water to accumulate. Instead, there was an inch of rain and so much water that there would have been no place to take relief from casual water. The problem holes were Nos. 3, 9, 10 and 12.
''Casual water was going to take us to where we couldn't play,'' White said.
The tour chose to play the ball down, meaning players could not lift, clean and replace their golf balls through the green. Play was stopped for 3 1/2 hours in the late morning, and then it was called again for good after the round resumed for just under an hour.
Of the 48 players who at least teed off, none were within 10 shots of the lead when they started.
Even so, the conditions were difficult for those who still had something at stake. Charles Howell III started the week at No. 31 in the FedEx Cup standings. He was 1 over through four holes. Rickie Fowler had a chance to get into the top 30 and advance to the Tour Championship. He shot 77 in the first round and bounced back with a pair of 68s. Fowler was 2 under through four holes Sunday.
The final round was to resume at 8 a.m. with a reasonable forecast.
It will be the fourth time this year that a PGA Tour event had to go an extra day. The Farmers Insurance Open (fog) and Arnold Palmer Invitational (storms) ended on a Monday. The Tournament of Champions had a Tuesday finish after being shortened to 54 holes because of high wind.