After shooting a third-round 63 that gave him a four-stroke lead heading into Sunday at The Northern Trust, Bryson DeChambeau had a short, but sweet answer when asked how he felt about his Ryder Cup chances. “Man on a mission, that’s all I’m going to say about that.”
On Sunday at Ridgewood Country Club, DeChambeau backed up those words in a big way, posting a two-under 69 to claim a four-stroke victory, the third of his US PGA Tour career and his second this season. The win moves him to No.1 in the FedEx Cup standings after the first of four playoff events, and significantly boosts his chances of being one of Jim Furyk’s four captain’s picks for the American Ryder Cup squad. After a summer that included struggles, controversy and everything in between for the rising star, it was an incredibly clutch victory when he needed it most.
“I said I was a man on a mission yesterday,” DeChambeau said. “And hopefully [Furyk] can see that I’ve got some grit and grind, and that even when I don’t execute certain shots, I can get it done.”
The shining example of this grit came at the 72nd hole, where, after playing eight machine-like holes in two-under par on the back nine, DeChambeau blocked a drive miles to the right of the 18th fairway. With a four-shot lead, it didn’t have the makings of his meltdown on the level of what he experienced at last month’s Porsche European Open, but it was a peculiar shot given how well he’d been hitting it. But he stepped up and knocked his second on the back of the green, then two-putted for par for a clean back-nine score.
“I had to grind out a couple shots at the end,” he said. “Wasn’t expecting a couple of the shots I hit. A little nerves here and there. Not really knowing what to do under the gun like that with that tremendous of a lead, I’m kind of trying to protect a little bit. It was a big learning experience for me.”
With the victory, DeChambeau also locks up his spot in the Tour Championship, where he’ll be making his first appearance after finishing 13 spots outside the top 30 in 2017.
Alone in second at 14-under 270 was Tony Finau, who carded a three-under 68. Finau is also a Ryder Cup hopeful, and certainly helped his chances with this latest result. It is his second solo runner-up finish this year, and ninth inside the top 10.
“If I’m in the conversation, this doesn’t hurt my chances, I don’t believe,” said Finau about being a Ryder Cup captain’s pick. “I had a solid week all around. My game feels good and I feel confident. Whatever his decision is, I’ll be ready to play.”
Billy Horschel and Australia’s Cameron Smith tied for third, while Adam Scott, Aaron Wise and Ryan Palmer tied for fifth.