ATLANTA – Rory McIlroy finally won the FedEx Cup when he least expected it.
McIlroy was three shots behind with three holes to play on Sunday in the Tour Championship. Nearly two hours later, he holed a 15-foot birdie putt on the fourth extra hole to win the tournament and claim the $10 million FedEx Cup bonus.
In its 10th year, the FedEx Cup never had a finish like this.
McIlroy fittingly won on the 16th hole, where his remarkable rally began in regulation when he holed out from 137 yards for eagle, and then made birdie on the final hole for a 6-under 64 to join a three-man playoff with Ryan Moore (64) and Kevin Chappell (66).
Moore had an 8-foot birdie putt on the 72nd hole to win and it caught the lip and spun out. Chappell had a 20-foot birdie putt on the last hole to win and left it short.
They finished at 12-under 268.
Dustin Johnson surprisingly was never a factor and he hit too many errant shots on the front nine and never recovered, closing with a 73. Johnson, however, still would have won the FedEx Cup if either Moore or Chappell had won the tournament.
McIlroy had control of this all along. He looked to put the perfect finish onto his big day when he hit over the water to 6 feet for an eagle putt on the par-5 18th in the first playoff hole. Moore, however, holed a 10-footer for birdie. McIlroy was ready to pump his fist until his eagle putt slid by.
Returning to the 18th, McIlroy missed an 18-foot birdie putt for the win. On the third extra hole, the par-3 15th over the water from 201 yards, McIlroy had to make a 7-foot par putt just to stay in the game.
Nothing was bigger than that birdie at the end. McIlroy stiffened his back, clutched both arms and shouted above the raucous cheers at East Lake. He earned a total of $11.53 million on Sunday, including $1.53 million for the Tour Championship.
At the start of the month, he had not won all year on the PGA Tour. He won the Deutsche Bank Championship three weeks ago, and then needed a little bit of help from Johnson to capture the FedEx Cup.
Colin Montgomerie won the Pacific Links Bear Mountain Championship in Victoria, B.C., outlasting Scott McCarron with a birdie on the third hole of a playoff.
Montgomerie closed with a 4-under 67 to match McCarron at 15-under 198 at scenic Bear Mountain Resort, the first-year venue in the PGA Tour Champions event that was played in Hawaii from 2012-14.
McCarron bogeyed the par-5 18th in regulation for a 70.
Montgomerie and McCarron matched pars on 18 on the first two extra holes.
The 53-year-old Montgomerie’s three previous victories on the 50-and-over tour came in major championships – the 2014 and 2015 Senior PGA Championship and 2014 U.S. Senior Open. The Scot won 31 times on the European Tour and topped the tour’s money list a record eight times, seven in a row from 1993-99.
McCarron missed a chance for his second victory of the year after winning the Principal Charity Classic in June in Iowa for his first senior title.
Miguel Angel Jimenez shot a course-record 61 to tie for third at 13 under, finishing as Montgomerie and McCarron made the turn. The Spanish star played the first five holes on the back nine in 6 under with an eagle and five birdies, then closed with four pars to miss a chance to break 60.
Jeff Sluman (67), Scott Dunlap (68) and Doug Garwood (70) also were 13 under.
Grayson Murray won the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship in Columbus, Ohio, and Cameron Smith and Kevin Tway wrapped up PGA Tour cards.
Already guaranteed a PGA Tour card with an 18th-place finish on the Web.com Tour’s regular-season money list, Murray closed with a 3-under 68 to beat Smith by a stroke in the third of four events in the Web.com Tour Finals. Tway tied for third with third-round leader Martin Flores.
Murray finished at 12-under 272 on Ohio State’s Scarlet Course and earned $180,000 for his first tour victory to jump from 11th to second with $407,963 on the PGA Tour priority list among the 25 card-earners from the Web.com money list. The former Wake Forest and Arizona State player also tops the Web.com Tour Finals money list with $248,000.
Murray will be 23 on Saturday. He lost in a three-man playoff in August in the Web.com Tour event in Wichita, Kansas.
Smith also shot a 67. After finishing 157th in the PGA Tour’s FedEx Cups standings, the Australian made $108,000 to go from 48th to third with $114,910 in the series race for 25 more PGA Tour cards.
Tway had a 67 to match Flores (74) at 10 under. Tway was 27th on the Web.com money list. His $58,000 check moved him from 52nd to ninth with $63,975, more than enough to secure one of the 25 cards. The last PGA Tour card went at $33,650 in 2013, $36,312 in 2014 and $32,206 last year.
Flores earned a card with a fifth-place finish on the Web.com money list. He’s fifth on PGA Tour priority list with $346,313, with regular-season money counting in the total.
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