Tiger Woods won for the first time in five years while Justin Rose claimed the FedEx Cup title in a dramatic Tour Championship at East Lake in Georgia.
Woods and Rose are winners at East Lake
Woods began the day at East Lake at the top of the board and he did just enough to stay ahead of the pack. He closed with a 71 to beat Billy Horschel by two shots.
Starting Sunday three ahead of Rory McIlroy and Justin Rose, Woods birdied the first hole, watched his nearest challengers slip back and then played a measured final round to take his 80th PGA Tour win.
“There was a point in time I didn’t know if I’d ever do this again,” said an emotional Woods after the round. “I felt like if I just went out there and did my own thing and shot under par, the tournament would be over.”
Justin Rose struggled on Sunday but knew he needed to keep it together to try and hold on to win the FedEx Cup. He had to finish in a tie for fifth or better to take the prize and, with one hole left to play, he was a shot off achieving that goal. He required a birdie at the par-5 last to climb into a tie for fourth and he managed to dig deep and find one.
“I knew I had to birdie one of the last two,” Rose said, “And I actually said to myself, I’m glad we’re playing East Lake this way around, because if I had to birdie 17 or 18 the other way around, it would have been a pretty tough proposition.”
“I’ve had a ton of top 10s this year,” Rose said on his FedEx Cup win. “Obviously had a couple of wins on the PGA TOUR, as well, this year, and managed to keep that going into the Playoffs with finishing the year with three top 5s. There were a lot of scenarios at play.”
Rory McIlroy had a disappointing final round. He started poorly and never recovered, shooting a closing 74 to drop down into a tie for seventh.
In the end, it was Billy Horschel who finished the week as Tiger’s closest challenger. The 2014 Tour Championship and FedEx Cup winner closed with a 66 to climb the leaderboard and end the week on nine-under-par.
Dustin Johnson had a solid final round. He carded a 67 and finished alone in third. He missed a six-foot putt on the last that would have put him in a position to win the FedEx Cup.
With that miss, it looked like Tiger Woods might be in a position to win both the tournament and the FedEx Cup but Justin Rose dug deep and did just enough to make it his.
“I knew the last two were birdie holes,” he said. “The key was actually the drive at 17, getting that in the fairway. I gave myself a chance there, and I knew I could get a birdie on the 18th.”
Rose played two solid shots to the par-5 last and calmly two-putted for a four and FedEx Cup victory.
East Lake GC, Atlanta, Georgia
Purse: $9,000,000 Par: 70
1 Tiger Woods (USA) 65 68 65 71 269 $1,620,000
2 Billy Horschel (USA) 71 65 69 66 271 $972,000
3 Dustin Johnson (USA) 69 70 67 67 273 $621,000
T4 Hideki Matsuyama (Jap) 72 66 71 65 274 $372,000
T4 Justin Rose (Eng) 66 67 68 73 274 $372,000
T4 Webb Simpson (USA) 69 70 68 67 274 $372,000
T7 Rickie Fowler (USA) 65 72 73 65 275 $279,900
T7 Rory McIlroy (NIR) 67 68 66 74 275 $279,900
T7 Xander Schauffele (USA) 68 70 68 69 275 $279,900
T7 Justin Thomas (USA) 67 69 70 69 275 $279,900
Note: Player score in bold signifies Titleist ball usage