DeChambeau makes it 2 straight wins in FedEx Cup playoffs
NORTON, Mass. (AP) — Bryson DeChambeau has found the right formula for the richest part of the PGA Tour season.
Coming off a four-shot victory last week in New Jersey, the 24-year-old physics major knows as the “Mad Scientist” pulled away with three straight birdies to close out the front nine and kept his distance the rest of the way to win the Dell Technologies Championship on Monday.
DeChambeau closed with a 4-under 67 for a two-shot victory on the TPC Boston, becoming only the second player in the 12 years of the lucrative FedEx Cup to win the opening two playoff events.
Vijay Singh did it in 2008 before the points system was changed to create more volatility. Singh effectively had the $10 million prize wrapped up before the finale.
DeChambeau, with his third victory this year, was assured of being the No. 1 seed when he gets to the Tour Championship, no matter what happens next week at the third playoff event outside Philadelphia.
And he would appear to be a shoo-in to be one of U.S. captain Jim Furyk’s three Ryder Cup picks to be announced Tuesday. The idea is to find the hottest player to fill out the team, and no one has been close to DeChambeau over the last two weeks.
DeChambeau, who started the year at No. 99 in the world, moved past Rory McIlroy to No. 7. He finished at 16-under 268 and made $1,620,000 for the second straight week.
Starting the final round one shot behind Abraham Ancer, and among 10 players within four shots of the lead, DeChambeau had a two-putt birdie from 50 feet on No. 7, took the lead with a 12-foot birdie putt on the 220-yard eighth hole, and then hit his approach to 6 feet to a back right pin at No. 9 for his third straight birdie.
Cameron Smith of Australia tried to make a run at him with a pair of late birdies, but DeChambeau answered with a birdie on No. 15 to keep his lead at two shots. Needing an eagle to catch him on the par-5 18th, Smith came up short and into the hazard and made bogey.
Justin Rose birdied three of his last four holes for a 68 and wound up alone in second.
Ancer couldn’t keep pace, dropping three shots in the tough four-hole stretch early on the back nine. A birdie on the final hole would have given the 27-year-old Mexican a tie for third and a reasonable chance at going to the Tour Championship. He also came up short into the hazard and made bogey. The small consolation for Ancer was moving from No. 92 to No. 56, which at least made him among the top 70 who advance to the BMW Championship at Aronimink next week.
A few others also were happy to have another week left in a long season.
Peter Uihlein, the former U.S. Amateur champion in his first full season on the PGA Tour, birdied his last three holes for a 68. He played with Keith Mitchell, another PGA Tour rookie, who birdied his last two holes for a 69. Both moved into the top 70.
Matt Kuchar failed to advance beyond the second playoff event for the first time in 10 years, meaning he won’t get another chance to state his case as a potential Ryder Cup pick. Furyk makes his fourth selection after the BMW Championship.
The likely choices would seem to be DeChambeau, Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods — they finished Nos. 9, 10 and 11 when qualifying ended for eight automatic berths after the PGA Championship. Woods closed with a 71 and tied for 24th. Mickelson, who has played on every Ryder Cup team since 1995, boosted his case by winning a World Golf Championships event in Mexico in March, and he made nine birdies Monday in a closing round of 63.
“So fortunate also that it’s the day before the Ryder Cup picks, although I don’t feel that should be a bearing,” Mickelson said. “I think you have to look at the big picture through the course of the year statistically. … But it certainly doesn’t hurt.”
Hideki Matsuyama made seven birdies in 10 holes before he cooled and shot 65, though it at least made it easier for the Japanese star to try to get to the Tour Championship. Jordan Spieth still has work to do. He was one shot out of the lead on the front nine until a bogey on the par-5 seventh hole, and three more bogeys in five holes to start the back nine. He ended by missing a 6-foot eagle putt and had to settle for a 70, moving him up to only No. 27.
The top 30 make it to East Lake for the Tour Championship, where everyone has a mathematical chance at the $10 million prize.
It doesn’t take a degree in physics to figure out that DeChambeau will have the best odds of all.