5 Things: McIlroy wins in back-to-back weeks
Sunday, September 9, 2012
Rory McIlroy came from behind to win his second consecutive PGA Tour event – and third in his last four starts – at the BMW Championship. McIlroy shot 20-under 268 (64-68-69-67) to finish two shots ahead of Lee Westwood (69) and Phil Mickelson (70).
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1. BACK-TO-BACK: McIlroy started the BMW Championship’s final round a stroke off the lead, then shot 67 to win by two. His first five birdies all came on putts of 5 feet or shorter, including two two-putts. He made a 13-foot birdie putt on No. 16 to take a three-shot lead with two holes remaining. He then made a 6-foot par putt at No. 17 to make his final-hole bogey meaningless.
McIlroy is the the fourth player to win back-to-back playoff events, and the first player since Tiger Woods in 2009 to win in consecutive weeks on the PGA Tour.
“I’m just on a great run at the moment and trying to keep it going,” McIlroy said. He’s 54 under in his past four starts, with a 68.1 scoring average. He shot 20 under in each of the past two weeks, averaging 66.5 strokes per round.
This was McIlroy’s fourth PGA Tour victory of the season, the most on Tour in 2012.
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2. UP FOR GRABS: McIlroy obviously leads the FedEx Cup standings. He doesn’t have the trophy locked up, though. That’s because the points are reset when the 30 players arrive at East Lake for the Tour Championship. Anyone in the FedEx Cup’s top five can clinch the Cup with a victory. Tiger Woods, Nick Watney, Phil Mickelson and Brandt Snedeker round out the top 5.
Mickelson, Steve Stricker and Hunter Mahan are the only players to make all six Tour Championships since the FedEx Cup’s inception in 2007.
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3. COMING UP CLUTCH: Ryan Moore came up clutch to make the Tour Championship for the second time in his career, and the first time since 2010. Moore made a 7-foot bogey putt on No. 17 and was 30th in the projected FedEx Cup standings when he arrived at the 18th tee. What did he do from there? He hit his 186-yard approach shot to 7 1/2 feet and made the birdie putt to move to 28th in the FedEx Cup. He closed his round by making three consecutive 7-footers to shoot a final-round 70 and finish 10th. It was his second consecutive 10th-place finish in the playoffs.
Moore started the week at 35th in the FedEx Cup playoffs. He was ranked 64th at the start of the playoffs. “Today was a tough day,” Moore said. “When that stuff is in the back of your mind, it doesn’t make those shots any easier.”
Moore, who started the week at 35th in the FedEx Cup standings, was one of two players to move into the top 30 this week. Robert Garrigus was the other. He finished T-4 at the BMW to move from 31st to 20th in the standings.
Scott Piercy grabbed the 30th and final spot at East Lake. He started the day projected to finish 34th in the FedEx Cup, but shot a final-round 68 to earn his first Tour Championship appearance. John Senden finished 29th in the FedEx Cup.
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4. KEEP THE STREAK: Bill Haas kept one streak alive. The defending FedEx Cup champion has never made it back to the Tour Championship. Haas had his chance. He started Sunday projected to finish 28th in the FedEx Cup. He shot a final-round 78, though, and wound up 32nd in the standings. He had three birdies Sunday, but also made seven bogeys and a double-bogey.
“Honestly it seems like the same old story, something I've been doing a lot this year,” Haas said. “Under the gun haven't been able to get it done. It's something I've got to address and get better. When there's some pressure and there's a pressure situation I've got to be able to bear down and shoot a good number and not just blow up. I seem to do it often. It's frustrating.”
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5. SHORT SHOTS: Tiger Woods finished fourth, three shots back of McIlroy, after a final-round 68. Woods failed to birdie any of the par-5s in the final round. ... Vijay Singh, who started the final round tied for the lead, shot 73 to fall to eighth place. That final round cost Singh a spot in the Tour Championship. He ended up 33rd in the FedEx Cup standings. ... Dustin Johnson tied for sixth, his third consecutive top-six finish in the playoffs.