BMW Championship: young golfing star Dustin Johnson celebrates the most significant win of his career.
Chicago. Only a month ago, Dustin Johnson was golf’s Mr Unlucky. An unintended violation of the rules in the US PGA Championship meant the American missed out on a playoff with the eventual winner, Martin Kaymer. But on Sunday the 26-year-old Ryder Cup player made no mistakes. While his successful adversary from last month, BMW Golfsport Ambassador Kaymer, was wrapping up another tournament title in Holland, Johnson himself emerged as the winner of the BMW Championship that same day. His triumph at the Cog Hill Golf & Country Club just outside Chicago secured him one of the most important titles in the US PGA Tour.
For Johnson, winning the BMW Championship – which holds prize money of 7.5 million dollars – has earned him the most important title in his career so far. Winning the third of four playoff tournaments in the PGA Tour also underscores his reputation as one of the rising stars in the international golf scene. The BMW Championship marks his fourth win in the PGA Tour already – no other player of the current under-30 generation has taken so many wins in the world’s leading tournament series.
Johnson had embarked on the final round at Cog Hill one stroke adrift of the leader, fellow-American Ryan Moore. Then Paul Casey quickly moved to the top of the leaderboard. After five birdies the Englishman had opened up a lead of three strokes, before going on to play three straight bogeys on holes 13 to 15. Johnson, by contrast, steadily worked his way around the course and prepared for the crucial shot at the 17th. A perfect approach brought him a birdie and, at 275 strokes (60, 70, 68, 69 – nine under par), he pipped Casey (276) to the post. Third place was tied between Moore, his compatriots Keven Na and Matt Kuchar, and KJ Choi (South Korea) with 278 strokes apiece.
Meanwhile, on Sunday the fans were being royally entertained away from the main battleground as well. Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, nos. 1 and 2 in the world rankings, were paired together for the final round in hot summer temperatures, cheered on by thousands of delighted spectators. Mickelson shot 67 to securely clinch the duel between the two most popular professionals in this tour, and took eighth place in the final standings. Woods ended with 70 to conclude the tournament in 15th place.
It meant last year’s winner also had to drop out of the contest for the FedEx Cup. As every year, the BMW Championship is also the last chance to make the cut into the top 30 players in the FedEx Cup rankings and qualify for The Tour Championship in two weeks’ time. To do that, Woods would have needed at least a fifth-placed finish.
Going into the final playoff tournament after the BMW Championship as the points leader is American Matt Kuchar, followed by Johnson, Charley Hoffman (USA), Steve Stricker (USA) and Casey. For these five players, winning The Tour Championship on their own merit could mean cashing in on the ten million dollar bonus for the highest points scorer in the FedEx Cup.
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