September 30, 2020

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Rahm’s dramatic birdie putt tops DJ at BMW

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Jon RahmJon Rahm

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Jon Rahm reacts after making his putt on the first playoff hole during the final round of the BMW Championship at the Olympia Fields Country Club in Olympia Fields, Ill., Sunday, Aug. 30, 2020. (AP/Charles Rex Arbogast)

It took an extra hole, and his longest putt of the season, but Jon Rahm walked out of Olympia Fields with his second win of the season.

Rahm drained a wild 66-foot birdie putt to beat Dustin Johnson in a playoff on Sunday to win the BMW Championship — marking one of the craziest finishes on the PGA Tour this season.

“Never did I think I’d be making another 50-, 60-footer, couple of breaks in there to end up winning it,” Rahm said on the broadcast.

Johnson forces a playoff with a wild putt on No. 18

Johnson trailed Rahm by a single stroke coming into the final green and was left with a 43-foot birdie putt to close out his round.

Rahm was already done for the day, having posted a 6-under 64. 

Despite the putt being more than 10 feet longer than anything he had made all week and having an insane break down the hill, Johnson struck it perfectly. 

He tapped it just over the hill and watched the ball strike the flag stick and fall. 

The birdie marked Johnson’s second in his final four holes and brought him to a 3-under 67 for the day. 

“Knowing DJ and how good he’s been playing, I expected nothing else,” Rahm said of his putt on the Golf Channel. 

Rahm had incurred a penalty stroke on Saturday after simply forgetting to mark his ball on the green; without that penalty, he would’ve had the outright win on Sunday. 

Rahm responds with 66-foot birdie

The pair went back out to play No. 18 again. Both Johnson and Rahm sent their drives wide of the fairway, though Johnson got incredibly lucky and had his ball bounce back in off of a tree — which set up a perfect approach shot.

Rahm’s approach landed on the far back side of the green, however, leaving him with a tremendously tough 66-foot putt. 

Yet just like Johnson before him, Rahm drained it with ease.

“I was just trying to hit my spot on the top of the slope about 10, 12 feet left of the pin and honestly hope it would be a decent putt for par coming back and hopefully have a chance to keep the playoff going,” Rahm said. “Luckily, it just looked really, really good on the way. When it had 10 feet to go, it was striking beautifully. I can hardly believe it.”

Johnson’s putt to extend the playoff then ended up just short, giving Rahm his second win of the season and the fifth of his career.

The win also lifted Rahm back to the top spot in the World Golf Rankings, and up to No. 2 in the FedExCup standings. Johnson still heads into next week’s Tour Championship at East Lake with a two-stroke lead over the rest of the field, however, after his historic double-digit win last week at The Northern Trust.

Rahm, like most of the field, struggled early this week. He posted an opening-round 75, and was tied for 51st in the standings after Thursday. It wasn’t until his 4-under 66 on Saturday that he was able to get into contention, setting him up to start Sunday just three back of Johnson in the lead.

Joaquin Niemann and Hideki Matsuyama tied for third at 2 under for the week. Niemann started the tournament ranked No. 31 in the FedExCup standings, just outside the cut for the Tour Championship. Though the 21-year-old held the lead briefly on the back nine, his top-5 finish pushed him up 13 spots in the standings and solidified his spot next week in Atlanta. 

<h2 class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Tiger Woods fails to qualify for Tour Championship” data-reactid=”69″>Tiger Woods fails to qualify for Tour Championship

Tiger Woods will be watching from home when the PGA Tour wraps up its season next week.

Woods wrapped up a rough week at Olympia Fields with a 1-over 71 on Sunday, bringing him to 11 over in the tournament. He started the week at No. 57 in the FedExCup standings and likely needed a top-5 finish to jump in the field for East Lake. 

As he finished down in T57, Woods’ season is over.

Woods started his day with a pair of birdies in his first four holes. He ended the day, however, going 3 over in his final four holes — thanks to a rough double-bogey on No. 17. He failed to shoot under par the entire week, though his 71 on Sunday was his lowest performance. 

“I didn’t play as well as I wanted to the first couple days. Today was nice,” Woods said, via the PGA Tour. “I hit the ball really well and made only a couple putts, but today was more indicative of how I want to play in a couple weeks.

“This golf course was basically a U.S. Open, with the rough being as high as it is and fairways a little bit narrow. Look at the scores, and I don’t think that we’ve seen scores like this in a non-major in a very long time.”

Woods finished the season with two top-10 finishes and a win at the ZoZo Championship, which marked the 82nd of his career and tied Sam Snead’s all-time record. He played just seven times this season, however, and only four times since play resumed after the COVID-19 hiatus. 

Woods will now take two weeks off before the U.S. Open next month at Winged Foot in New York.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="“This was a great ramp-up for me for the U.S. Open,” he said, via the PGA Tour. “I wish I was playing next week, but I’ve got a couple weeks off.”” data-reactid=”84″>“This was a great ramp-up for me for the U.S. Open,” he said, via the PGA Tour. “I wish I was playing next week, but I’ve got a couple weeks off.”

Several other notable players failed to make the cut for the Tour Championship, including Matt Kuchar, Jason Day, Bubba Watson and Patrick Cantlay. 

PGA Tour Tiger WoodsPGA Tour Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods waits on the the 11th green during the final round of the BMW Championship on the North Course at Olympia Fields Country Club on Aug. 30, 2020, in Olympia Fields, Illinois. (Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

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