Dustin Johnson won a thrilling showdown with Jordan Spieth on the first playoff hole at the Northern Trust. The win gives the world number one his fourth win in 2017 and the top spot in the FedEx Cup standings. Full scores
Johnson entered the day three shots back of Spieth which swelled to five shots after four holes. Spieth slipped up with a couple mistakes and Johnson played flawless golf. Johnson capped off his comeback by canning a 18' sliding putt on the 18th to force a playoff.
In the playoff, Johnson used his greatest weapon, the driver bringing a 490 yard par 4 to its knees. Johnson successfully took an outrageously aggressive line which left him a mere 95 yards for his second shot. DJ hit a lob wedge to a few feet and tapped in the birdie putt to beat out Spieth's par.
While DJ's heroics stole the show, Spieth was brilliant down the stretch, shooting a bogey free 2 under on the back nine. Like DJ's clutch putt on 18, Spieth holed his own on 17 to stay tied with the eventual winner at 13 under. The runner-up finish moves Spieth to 2nd in the FedEx Cup standings and was only the 2nd time the star failed to convert a 54 hole lead in 11 chances.
Movers and shakers
The playoffs head to Boston for the second of four playoff events and the field has been cut to 100. A few players had strong performances to move themselves inside the top 100.
The biggest move came from Bubba Watson who notched his second top 10 in a stroke play event for 2017. Watson moved from 113th to 72nd in the standings and in striking distance of a potential spot at the BMW (top 70).
For the second consecutive week, Harold Varner III kept his season alive with a strong showing. HV3 finished t20th moving from 123rd to 92nd in the standings and earning a spot in Boston.
Brice Garnett captured his second win of the season on the Web.com Tour at the WinCo Foods Portland Open. The win in the season finale secured Garnett the top spot on the Web.com Tour money list and full-exempt status on the PGA Tour for the 2017-2018 season.
The season-ender put a great deal of pressure on players looking to earn spots in the top 25 and 75 on the money list. For the first time ever, no players played their way into the top 25 at the season ending event. Here are the 25 who earned their card.
Keith Mitchell stood on the 18th tee on Sunday needing a birdie to move from his projected 26th position to 25th. Unfortunately, the former Georgia star was unable to get up and down on the par 5 18th to earn his PGA Tour card. Despite the disappointment of falling one shot short, Mitchell will look to ride the momentum from his t6th finish into the Web.com Tour Finals.
Moving into the top 75 and earning a spot in the Web.com Tour Finals were David Skinns and Ben Kohles. The journeyman Skinns fired a scintillating final-round 64 to move up from t22nd to t2nd. The runner-up finish moved Skinns from 115th on the money list to 53rd and gives the 35 year old another shot at a card.
Former UVA star, Ben Kohles fired weekend rounds of 66-67 to finish t8th and move from 85th to 68th on the money list.
A weekend in Cleveland
I spent the weekend in Cleveland at a friend's wedding and had a chance to check out a couple of tracks.
On Saturday morning, I teed it up at Sleepy Hollow GC, a city owned Stanley Thompson design. It was a bittersweet round, for $42 you can walk and play a great golden age design. The course is thoroughly enjoyable but I couldn't help but feel sad thinking of how great it could be. Over the years it’s been subjected to its fair share of abuse from the city. Namely, the horrible cart path placement, abundant tree planting, poor mowing patterns and shrunk greens. I will divulge more of my thoughts in a future post, but this course could contend with Bethpage Black as the country's best muni if restored. If you are in Cleveland and looking for a spot to play, this is a great option.
On Sunday, I had the good fortune of playing at the Country Club, a spectacular William Flynn design. I was reminded of the architect's transcendent ability to route a course and his skill in designing spectacular par 3s. Referred to "Country" by locals, I would recommend you jump at any opportunity to tee it up at the venerable track.