Tuesday 20 November 2018

DeChambeau doubles up as wayward McIlroy falters

Bryson DeChambeau celebrates making a par on the 18th green to win the Dell Technologies Championship in Boston. Photo: Patrick Smith/Getty Images
Bryson DeChambeau celebrates making a par on the 18th green to win the Dell Technologies Championship in Boston. Photo: Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Brian Keogh

Rory McIlroy lost his driving mojo as Bryson DeChambeau claimed back-to-back FedEx Cup playoff wins with victory in the Dell Technologies Championship at TPC Boston.

Winner of last week's Northern Trust, the self-proclaimed golfing scientist (24) looks certain to be named as one of Jim Furyk's captain's picks today after he clinched his third win of the season and the fourth of his career, closing with a four-under par 67 to win by two shots from Justin Rose on 16-under par. DeChambeau moves from 12th to seventh in the world after this win.

Rose came back from a one-over front nine by rattling in four birdies in his last six holes to close with a 68 to edge out Australian Cameron Smith for second place on 14-under and a move from sixth to third in the FedEx Cup standings.

But McIlroy's hopes of making a major move up the standings failed to materialise when he closed with a disappointing one-under 70 and rose just four places to 24th as he finished in an eight-way tie for 12th on 10-under.

Tied for eighth, just four shots behind Abraham Ancer heading into the final round, the Co Down star had a string of chances inside 15 feet on the front nine but took just three of them. He was still just two shots off the lead with nine holes to go but he never looked comfortable off the tee and found just three of seven fairways and limped home in two-over 37.

When DeChambeau separated himself from the chasing pack with three birdies in a row from the seventh, McIlroy needed to step up but was unable to apply any pressure on the leader.

While he salvaged par at the 13th after a big hook, he bogeyed the 14th and 15th after wayward drives and eventually ended the week tied for 12th on 10-under par.

With only the top 30 after this week's BMW Championship at Aronimink in Philadelphia making the season-ending Tour Championship, Spain's Rafa Cabrera Bello did most to impress Ryder Cup skipper Thomas Bjorn before he announces his four wildcards tomorrow.

One of Europe's top scorers as a rookie in 2016, he led early after playing his first 11 holes in six-under.

But chasing a win that would have made him a certainty to get the nod, he three-putted the 13th and then bogeyed the 15th and 18th for a 68 to finish tied for eighth on 11-under par with Dustin Johnson, who held on to his world number one crown.

"Obviously it's disappointing," the Spaniard said. "It's not the finish I wanted. I had the round going well and gave myself a chance of winning, but when things don't go your way, it's disappointing.

"Looking at the bigger goal, I felt I did as much as I can. I tried to qualify on my own means and couldn't do that, so I came here and tried to show that I am in form and I think I have proven that so hopefully it will be good for me."

Cabrera Bello qualified comfortably for the BMW Championship at a projected 40th in the FedEx Cup with another wildcard hopeful, Paul Casey, 17th after he tied for 21st on eight under after a 68. Henrik Stenson was also projected to qualify for Philadelphia at 60th in the standings despite carding a three-over 74 to finish tied 69th on one-over.

There was no luck for Dubai Duty Free Irish Open champion Russell Knox, however, as the Scot finished 43rd in the tournament on four-under following a 71 and out of the FedEx Cup at 89th in the standings.

As for Tiger Woods, he was three-under for his round with five holes to go but denied on the greens - he had 33 putts - he bogeyed the 14th and found water to double bogey at the short 16th, carding a level par 71 that left him back in the pack on seven under.

Of the rest of the Ryder Cup hopefuls, Tony Finau tied for fourth after a 68 with Phil Mickelson 12th on 10-under after making a major statement with a closing 63.

Irish Independent

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