Not many casual golf fans realize this, but one of the most difficult feats to accomplish on the PGA Tour is to win back-to-back tournaments. The emotional toil that builds after coming in first in a 100-plus man field seems to make it less likely that the same player will end up in the winner’s circle the following week.
Just how difficult is it? Coming into this week’s Dell Technologies Championship, the second leg of the FedExCup Playoffs, it had not been done the entire season.
But now it has been done. Bryson DeChambeau shot a final-round 4-under 67 at TPC Boston, while the rest of the leaders were floundering, to claim victory by two strokes over Justin Rose.
DeChambeau became the first player to win the first two legs of the playoffs since Vijah Singh in 2008, and with 4000 FedExCup points accumulated over the last two weeks, the 24-year-old has locked up the No. 1 spot for the Tour Championship at East Lake in three weeks.
With two rounds to go, that makes DeChambeau the odds-on favorite to win the FedExCup and its $10 million prize.
Final Top 10
1 Bryson DeChambeau -16
2 Justin Rose -14
3 Cameron Smith -13
4 Hideki Matsuyama -12
4 CT Pan -12
4 Tony Finau -12
7 Dustin Johnson -11
7 Bubba Watson -11
7 Rafa Cabrera Bello -11
7 Emiliano Grillo -11
7 Abraham Ancer -11
12 Phil Mickelson -10
12 Brooks Koepka -10
12 Rory McIlroy -10
12 Jordan Spieth -10
21 Paul Casey -8
24 Justin Thomas -7
24 Kevin Kisner -7
24 Tiger Woods -7
31 Brandt Snedeker -6
35 Patrick Reed -5
43 Jon Rahm -4
43 Matt Kuchar -4
49 Webb Simpson -3
49 Adam Scott -3
49 Xander Schauffele -3
62 Stewart Cink -1
69 Henrik Stenson +1
71 Ryan Moore +2
71 Jimmy Walker +2
How Bryson DeChambeau Won the Dell Technologies Championship
DeChambeau’s dominant victory at last week’s The Northern Trust, was his second of the season, and third of his young career.
Suddenly holding the pole position in the FedExCup Standings, DeChambeau got off to a modest start at the Dell Technologies Championship (70-68), but exploded while paired with close friend Tiger Woods in the third round for a field-low 8-under 63.
That left him one shot behind Abraham Ancer going into the final round. A two-shot swing on the second hole got DeChambeau into the lead for the first time, and five birdies on the front nine helped him keep pace while an extremely talented field was also going low.
There were fewer fireworks on the back nine: a bogey on No. 13 offset by a birdie on the 15th meant closing at even-par, but it was more than enough.
The majority of his competition had faded by then, and by remaining steady, he played the final hole with a two-shot advantage.
For the tournament, DeChambeau finished in the top 10 in both driving accuracy and greens in regulation, which allowed him to card 23 birdies, the second most in the field.
What It Means For DeChambeau
DeChambeau is officially THE man to beat for the FedExCup. There is no cut at next week’s BMW Championship, but even if he finishes dead last, he will have the No. 1 spot for the Tour Championship.
Any player in the top 5 who wins at East Lake automatically wins the FedExCup, but being the highest ranked is still an enormous advantage, especially if none of those players between 2-5 come in first.
He’d likely locked up a position on the American Ryder Cup team with his victory last week, but with a second win in a row, there is no doubt that Furyk will make him one of his four captain’s picks.
The victory is already the fourth of DeChambeau’s career, and the third this season, with the first coming at June’s Memorial Tournament. His three victories on the year tie him with Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas, and Bubba Watson for the most on Tour this season.
The top 100 in the FedExCup Standings after The Northern Trust made the field for the Dell Technologies Championship, and this week’s event had an even more difficult cut, with only the top 70 in the standings getting an invite for next week’s BMW Championship.
This year, five players who started the week outside the top 70 made their way in with their performance at TPC Boston. Those five are the following:
CT Pan (T4): 72nd to 33rd
Abraham Ancer (T7): 92nd to 56th
Peter Uihlein (T12): 83rd to 64th
Brice Garnett (T12): 81st to 63rd
Tyrrell Hatton (T12): 71st to 54th
To make room for those five, Ryan Moore (60th to 71st), Stewart Cink (65th to 73rd), Nick Watney (67th to 74th), Jimmy Walker (68th to 75th), and Whee Kim (61st to 72nd) were eliminated from the playoffs.
Other notables who saw their seasons end today include Matt Kuchar (76th), Charley Hoffman (79th), J.B.Holmes (82nd), and Branden Grace (88th).
Next week, 40 more players will be eliminated, as only the top 30 in the standings will advance to the Tour Championship at East Lake.
Still, surprisingly, looking for his first victory of 2018, after tallying three wins and three runner-ups in 2017, Hideki Matsuyama made himself relevant early, tying the lead after five front-nine birdies in a row, plus two more on Nos. 9 and 10.
Like seemingly the rest of the field, Matsuyama was unable to stay hot down the stretch, but a 6-under 65 meant a T4 finish, which jumped him from 58th to 28th in the standings.
The round of the day came earlier than Matsuyama’s tear, as Phil Mickelson used six front-nine birdies to shoot an 8-under 63, and move 38 spots up the final leaderboard, into a tie for 12th.
With back-to-back weeks in the top 15, Mickelson likely removed any doubt that he will be one of Jim Furyk’s captain’s picks for the American Ryder Cup team.
World No. 1 Dustin Johnson struggled in Sunday’s third round to drop to 34th place going into the finale, but the man who is second in the FedExCup Standings had the second-lowest round of the day, a 7-under 64 which moved him to T7, his Tour-leading 11th top-10 of the season.
Nearly the entire leaderboard belongs on this list for what happened on the back-nine at TPC Boston, but the most notable drop in the standings came from Abraham Ancer, the 54-hole leader, who was searching for his first career victory.
Four back-nine bogeys, though, led to a 2-over 73 that dropped him to T7. Beginning the week well outside the top 70 in the FedExCup Standings, Ancer went from looking like a sure thing for the BMW Championship to sweating it out down the stretch, but an excellent lag putt on the final hole (for par) gave him a tap-in bogey that kept him in 56th place in the standings.
Tied with DeChambeau after 54 holes was England’s Tyrrell Hatton, who began the week 71st in the standings. His two most recent final rounds on the PGA Tour were both 64s, but Hatton was nowhere near that sharp at TPC Boston.
The Englishman carded just one birdie on the day to post a 2-over 73 and drop from second place to 12th. He did qualify for the next round of the playoffs, however.
Young Beau Hossler is playing in his first FedExCup Playoffs, which made it extra impressive that his first three rounds were in the 60s. Unfortunately, he was unable to keep that momentum going, as a 4-over 75 tied for the second-worst round of the day and dropped him from inside the top 10 into a share of 35th.
Tiger Woods had been in good shape most of the day, reaching 3 under on his round through 11 holes, but after playing his final five holes in 3-over, he ended up with an even-par 71 and a pedestrian T24 finish.
Ryder Cup Questions
At 5pm on Tuesday, American Ryder Cup Captain Jim Furyk will be naming his first three Captain’s Picks for the upcoming Ryder Cup in Paris.
Over the past several weeks, it was expected to be an intense competition with considerable viewership. Now, however, the debate has completely subsided as those three picks are believed to be set in stone. Tiger and Phil were thought to be near locks from the beginning, and both have played well enough in the playoffs to stay in that position.
Unless Furyk has not been watching, which seems unlikely, DeChambeau, who had the most Ryder Cup points of anyone who did not qualify automatically, would appear to be a shoe-in as well.
The only debate left is Furyk’s final pick, which is due after next week’s BMW Championship. At the moment, it would appear to be Tony Finau’s to lose.
As he has done repeatedly this year, Finau was again in the mix at the Dell Technologies Championship, placing T4 the week after being the solo runner-up at The Northern Trust. His ten top-10s on the season are one behind Dustin Johnson for the most on Tour this year.
Among others who might still be in the mix for that coveted final spot at the Ryder Cup, Kevin Kisner finished T24 at TPC Boston, while Xander Schauffele hurt his chances badly with a T49, and four-time Ryder Cupper Matt Kuchar was T43, not enough to get him into the top 70 of the FedExCup Standings, and his season is over.
Both Kisner and Schauffele would be Ryder Cup rookies, although Kisner did participate in last year’s Presidents Cup, and performed well.
“It was difficult. 13, 14, 15, 16 were not easy holes. And you had to execute shots out there when the wind was swirling all day. Once I got to the back nine I felt like it was swirling again just like Thursday and Friday.
But I was fortunate enough to hit shots in the right place, miss it in the right place, and make a couple of key, clutch putts.”
– Bryson DeChambeau, Dell Techologies Championship winner