Behind a 5-under 66, Henrik Stenson broke a four-year winless streak on the PGA Tour, using a dramatic birdie on No. 17 to put away any doubt and clear Steve Stricker by two shots to win the Deutsche Bank Championship at TPC Boston on Monday.
Here are 5 Things to take away from the second leg of the FedEx Cup Playoffs:
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1. KNOCK, KNOCK: Henrik Stenson has been at the figurative door of Tour glory this season – picking up three second-place finishes and a third in 15 starts coming into the week.
The near $3.5 million in earnings and ninth-place standing in the FedEx Cup made the bridesmaid role a bit easier to stomach.
But all of that is old news now after Stenson – who was 22 under on the week – won for the first time since the Players Championship in 2009. And he’s also No. 1 in the FedEx Cup standings heading to the third leg of the Playoffs at the BMW Championship.
The journey back to the top is even more eye opening after looking at his stats for the past three seasons on Tour.
• 2010: Stenson won $683,070 and was 141st in the FEC standings;
• 2011: Stenson managed only $327,799 in earnings and was 180th in the FEC;
• 2012: Stenson improved slightly at $791,107 and 117th in FEC.
On Monday, Stenson looked to be a bit shaky after a bogey on the par-5 second hole, but picked up three consecutive birdies from Nos. 4 through 6, then added two more at Nos. 8 and 11. He then capped his big day with a hole out from a greenside bunker on No. 17.
Stenson had only three bogeys for the tournament, while only going 4 under on the par-5s this week.
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2. GOODBYE, GARCIA: Sergio Garcia is his own worst critic – once claiming he didn’t have the mindset to win a major – and his final-round struggles have been well-chronicled.
Monday at TPC Boston didn’t do a thing to change that perception.
After holding the 36- and 54-hole leads, Garcia picked up a bogey on the easy par-5 second hole and added a bogey on the par-4 fourth hole to hand the lead to Roberto Castro.
Garcia would pick up a birdie on No. 5 to regain the lead, but yet another bogey on a par 5 (No. 7) and then bogeys at Nos. 9 and 14 proved to be too much to overcome.
The Spaniard was non-committal as to whether he’d play at the BMW Championship, usually shutting it down after hitting 15 PGA Tour events – the number required to keep his card – and slipped well down the FedEx Cup standings, although still well inside the top 70 needed to play in Chicago next week. His projected standing at tournament’s end: 24th.
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3. PRESIDENTIAL PERFORMANCE? The fans showed up for Phil Mickelson in the day’s first threesome off the first tee – but they more than likely left talking about 20-year-old Jordan Spieth.
The Tour’s youngest winner in more than 80 years continued to impress, firing a 9-under 62 Monday to move all the way to 17 under for the tournament. Spieth secured his eighth top-10 finish of the season in only 21 starts.
Spieth had dropped as far back as 5 under Sunday after a sputtering start, but was 12 under over his final 24 holes – including an eagle on his 72nd hole – to make a strong case to be a captain’s pick for the Presidents Cup.
U.S. captain Fred Couples will make those announcements at 2 p.m. EDT Wednesday.
Since missing the cut at the U.S. Open, Spieth has won (John Deere Classic), lost in a playoff (Wyndham Championship), finished sixth (AT&T National) and has a pair of top-25 finishes (Greenbrier Classic, Barclays).
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4. MARQUEE MALAISE: Another day, and another dud from the tournament’s two marquee players – Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson.
Woods will leave Boston at No. 2 in the FedEx Cup standings, but will need to use the week off to work on his putting after another poor performance on the greens Monday.
Woods missed seven putts within 12 feet, most for birdie, in firing a 2-over 73 for his second consecutive over-par round. It was his worst weekend since a 72-74 weekend at the Open Championship.
In 26 weekend rounds this season, Woods has failed to break 70 in 20 of them – yet he still holds five PGA Tour victories, three more than anyone else.
Meanwhile, Mickelson, who shared the 18-hole lead with Brian Davis after an 8-under 63, fired a third consecutive 71 Monday, using birdies at three of his final four holes to do so. Mickelson started the round with three consecutive bogeys – including the easy par-5 2nd hole. He also added a bogey at No. 6 to fall all the way back to 4 under for the tournament.
Mickelson has failed to break 70 in 12 of his 16 rounds since winning the Open Championship.
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5. SHORT SHOTS: Ernie Els earned the 70th and final spot in the BMW Championship behind a 2-under 69 Monday, pushing him to 12 under for the tournament and a T-20 finish. . . . Defending champion Rory McIlroy followed his season-best 64 Sunday with a 1-over 72 Monday, fighting back from two early double bogeys with four birdies over his final 10 holes. . . . Defending FedEx Cup champ Brandt Snedeker also fired a 1-over 72 Monday to finish T-47 at 7 under, projected ninth in points. . . . K.J. Choi (74) failed to record a birdie and bogeyed the par-5 18th to cost himself a spot at the BMW, sliding from 67th to 73rd with a missed par putt from 8 feet. . . . Ryan Palmer was the odd man out for the BMW, finishing 71st in the standings after missing the cut.