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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
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.