Bryson DeChambeau carded a stress-free, final-round 69 on Sunday to post a four-stroke win at The Northern Trust at Ridgewood Country Club in Paramus, N.J., in the first of the PGA Tour’s four FedExCup playoff events.
DeChambeau finished at 18-under 268 after 72 holes to move from ninth place to first in the playoff standings. He produced a four-birdie, two-bogey round on Sunday.
Tony Finau, vying with DeChambeau for one of the four captain’s picks for the United States Ryder Cup team, fired a 68 in the final round and ended up in second at 14 under.
Billy Horschel (bogey-free 68 on Sunday) and Australia’s Cameron Smith (69) tied for third, one shot back of DeChambeau. Ryan Palmer shot a 65 on Sunday to move up 21 spots into a tie for fifth at 12 under along with Aaron Wise (67), and Australia’s Adam Scott (69).
The win was the second of the season for the 24-year-old DeChambeau — he won the Memorial Tournament on June 3 — and the third victory of his PGA Tour career. He has recorded eight top-10 finishes this year on the PGA Tour, including a second, third, fourth, fifth and seventh.
“To be able to hold the lead, and to keep the lead for the whole time — I was getting a little close and a little tight there mid-round — and to be able to push forward there and make a couple of putts, was great,” DeChambeau told CBS Sports after the win. “Now I’m looking for consistency. If I can keep playing the way I am, I think I can do some great things.”
DeChambeau, who ended up in ninth place in the U.S. Ryder Cup standings and the best player not guaranteed a spot on the team, likely locked up his invitation from captain Jim Fuyrk, who will choose the final four players for his squad following the next two tournaments.
“Whatever happens, happens,” DeChambeau said of his attempt to make the Ryder Cup team. “I’m going to go try to play my best next week and see what happens after that.”
It was the ninth win this season on the PGA Tour by a player 25 years old or under.
Finau, who started the final round tied for third, fashioned a four-birdie, one-bogey round but never got close enough to DeChambeau to put any kind of scare into the winner.
“I tried my best to be aggressive down the stretch and to make some birdies because it didn’t look like Bryson was going to slow down,” Finau said. “He was tough to catch today, and I fell a little bit short, but I was happy the way I played and proud of the way I stuck in there. I’m hungry to get after it next week and for the rest of the playoffs.”
Justin Thomas (final-round 68), reigning U.S. Open and PGA Championship winner Brooks Koepka (69) and Patrick Cantlay (69) shared eighth place at 11 under.
For Koepka, it was his first tournament since winning the PGA Championship.
“I have a lot of confidence and just need to keep doing what I’m doing,” Koepka said. “I didn’t putt very well this weekend, maybe I was trying to force it too much, I don’t know. There is a lot to play for, and I’ll just keep plugging along. My game is in a good spot.”
Four players tied for 11th at 10 under, Bronson Burgoon (66), world No. 1 Dustin Johnson (68), Nick Watney (69) and Canada’s Adam Hadwin (70).
Phil Mickelson managed only an even-par round on Sunday and finished tied for 15th, while Tyrrell Hatton of England (a round-low 64) and Jason Day of Australia (71) finished in a group tied for 20th.
Keegan Bradley, who played with DeChambeau in the final group Sunday after beginning the day in second place, four shots off the lead, ballooned to a 78 in the final round, 16 shots worse than his course-record-tying 62 on Saturday.
Tiger Woods also mostly struggled over his final 18 holes, finishing at 4 under after a 70 on Sunday. A day after recording his first bogey-free round since 2013, Woods had two birdies and a bogey and never made a run.
“What you’re seeing is that I’m close and just one shot here, one shot there, per day, flips momentum,” Woods said of his play this week. “It’s just looking for one shot a day here and there, and you just never know when that shot may come.
“At the end of the day, I found a piece of my game that has been missing, which is driving it well, but you have to make putts. That’s the only way you’re going to shoot low rounds.”
The top 100 players in the FedExCup points standings will advance to next week’s Dell Technologies Championship outside Boston.
Among those players who moved up the standings to inside the top 100 from this week’s event were Burgoon, who jumped from 111th to 73rd, Jhonattan Vegas of Venezuela (from 123rd to 87th), Watney (from 102nd to 67th), Scott Stallings (107th to 94th) and Danny Lee of New Zealand (103rd to 98th).
Those players falling out of the top 100 included Charl Schwartzel of South Africa (96th to 105th) and Rory Sabbatini of South Africa (97th to 109th), both of whom missed the cut this week.
—Field Level Media