ATLANTA – Dustin Johnson hit his stride at just the right time and it paid off in a big way.
Johnson finally won the FedEx Cup on Monday by holding his nerve, hitting just enough fairways and making a few key putts when his lead began to shrink. He tapped in for birdie on the last hole for a 2-under 68, giving him a three-shot victory over Justin Thomas and Xander Schauffele in the Tour Championship.
Johnson won the $15 million prize, the biggest in golf. Equally important was getting his named etched on that silver FedEx Cup trophy alongside some of the best from his generation, starting with Tiger Woods and most recently Rory McIlroy.
“This is a tough golf course. No lead is safe,” Johnson said. “The guys gave me a good fight today.”
He became the first No. 1 seed at the Tour Championship to win the FedEx Cup since Tiger Woods in 2009.
At the start of Monday’s final round, Johnson was staked to a five-shot lead at 19-under par – 9 under on his own score and starting the tournament at 10 under as the No. 1 seed in the FedEx Cup.
He finished at 21 under.
Schauffele, who tends to bring his best to big moments, and Thomas each got within three shots on the front nine. They both closed to within two shots deep on the back nine at East Lake.
Johnson gave the lightest fist pump – that’s big emotion for him – when he holed a 20-foot par putt on the 13th hole that kept his lead at three. He made nothing but pars on the back nine until the outcome was no longer in doubt.
Schauffele had the lowest score over 72 holes at 15-under 265, but without a victory this year, he started at No. 14 in the FedEx Cup, spotting the world’s No. 1 player seven shots.
Schauffele and Thomas tied for second, each earning $4.5 million.
And so wrapped up the strangest season on the PGA Tour, which doesn’t feel like the end at all except for the $15 million awarded to Johnson.
The new season starts Thursday.
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