Jordan Spieth wins Tour Championship to earn FedEx Cup and big payday in Atlanta
Published 27/09/2015 | 21:10
Jordan Spieth capped an unforgettable season in fitting style with victory in the Tour Championship to secure the FedEx Cup title and a massive payday in Atlanta.
Spieth wrapped up his fifth win of the year thanks to a closing 69 at East Lake to finish nine under par, four shots clear of Henrik Stenson, Justin Rose and Danny Lee.
The first prize of £977,000 and bonus of £6.5million took Spieth's earnings for the season to more than £14million, and with Jason Day finishing joint 10th, it also took the 22-year-old above the Australian and Rory McIlroy to the top of the world rankings.
"This is incredible," Spieth said after being presented with the two trophies by PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem. "This year is unreal. I don't know how we sit down and figure out how to improve on it, but we are going to try to do that.
"We did not have a great play-offs but we put a lot of hard work into this week. I was out here early on Monday morning. We approached it as if it was a major and mentally stayed in it, even when I didn't have my best ball striking and boy, that putter sure paid off."
Spieth had missed the cut in the first two play-off events but was 13th in the BMW Championship last week to ensure he arrived in Atlanta in control of his own destiny. The top five of Day, Spieth, Stenson, Rickie Fowler and Bubba Watson were guaranteed to claim the FedEx Cup title by winning at East Lake.
"I had missed two cuts in a row and I had never done that," Spieth added. "I lost the number one ranking and I was watching Jason Day dominating golf. I got frustrated so I got to work, put my head down more than I had after the PGA, knowing we could still peak for this week and that's what we did."
Spieth took a one-shot lead over Stenson into Sunday's final round and had doubled his advantage by the turn, although he did not have it all his own way in the early stages.
The Masters and US Open champion, who was also fourth in the Open and second in the US PGA, initially moved two shots clear by holing from 10 feet for birdie on the second, but then failed to get up and down following a poor approach to the fifth and followed that error with a three-putt bogey on the sixth.
After depositing the offending ball into the lake which surrounds the green, Spieth quickly regained his composure and holed from 20 feet on the eighth as playing partner Stenson made bogey after finding trees off the tee and a bunker with his approach.
It looked as though Stenson would reduce the gap to a single shot after leaving himself a tap-in for birdie on the par-five ninth, only for Spieth to hole from 18 feet.
The final pair both bogeyed the 10th before Spieth, who had described his short game as "magic" on Friday, produced more evidence to back up such claims.
With Stenson again within a few feet of the hole on the 11th, Spieth holed a curling birdie putt from 45 feet to maintain his two-shot cushion, the Swede looking at the American with a mixture of admiration, resignation and no doubt more than a little irritation.
A bogey from Stenson on the 12th then eased the pressure on Spieth, who crucially saved par on the 15th from eight feet after Stenson left his long birdie attempt inches short.
Stenson had held a three-shot lead after 36 holes and his miserable weekend was capped off by a dreaded shank on the 17th which resulted in a double-bogey six, although the 39-year-old did at least hole from almost 60 feet across the 18th green for a closing birdie.
Rose had been within two shots of the lead after racing to the turn in 31, only to hook his tee shot out of bounds on the 10th and run up a double bogey.
"The 10th tee shot was unfortunate," admitted Rose, who responded with birdies on the 12th, 13th and 15th before dropping a shot on the 17th in a closing 66. "It was one of those moments where I did get disturbed out of my routine. As I pulled the club back, someone was trying to quieten the crowd.
"I need to get a little stronger at blocking that stuff out, but when I was in my rhythm I kept hitting great shots and it was nice to do that on a Sunday."
England's Paul Casey finished a shot behind Rose on four under, with a frustrated McIlroy finishing one over par after a 74 which featured a triple-bogey seven on the 17th.