Contributed by GlobalGolfPost
It was a Labor Day finish and the way the top two combatants played down the stretch, it was more labor than either had planned.
Rory McIlroy managed to keep Louis Oosthuizen at arm’s length for the last few holes to win the Deutsche Bank Championship and take the points lead in the playoffs for the FedEx Cup on the PGA Tour.
McIlroy, who won the PGA Championship in August, captured his third PGA Tour victory with the win on Monday, beating Oosthuizen by one at TPC Boston. McIlroy started the day three shots behind Oosthuizen, who was the 54-hole leader, and shot a 4-under 67 in the final round to post 72 holes at 20-under 264.
“That was more survival on those last few holes,” McIlroy said afterward. “I didn’t finish the way I wanted to but it was a win in the end. I’m delighted at the minute and looking forward to the next few weeks.”
McIlroy, the No. 1-ranked player in the world, was at one point eight shots back of Oosthuizen early in Sunday’s third round. He caught and passed Oosthuizen early in the final round, with five birdies in his first eight holes, while Oosthuizen made double-bogey at the par-4 fifth.
“I played a very solid front nine and a solid first 13 holes,” McIlroy said. “I had a couple of wobbles coming in but I got the win.”
McIlroy held a three-shot lead around the turn and Oosthuizen made birdies at the par-4 13th and the par-4 15th to close to within one. Both players made a mess of the par-4 17th, each making bogey to take the pair to the 18th with one shot between them.
McIlroy drove through the fairway into the rough and Oosthuizen left his second to the par-5 20 yards short and right. McIlroy narrowly missed a birdie putt of about 20 feet at the last, while Oosthuizen pitched up to 12 feet and missed his chance to tie.
Oosthuizen took the third-round lead with a Sunday 63 that included a front nine 29 and seven consecutive birdies beginning at the third hole. He could only manage an even-par 71 on Monday and finished at 19-under par.
Although Tiger Woods never threatened the lead, he was in the conversation all weekend, with a 5-under 66 on Monday to finish third at 18-under 266. Phil Mickelson, with a new clawlike putting grip, matched Woods on Monday with 66 and tied for fourth with Dustin Johnson, who birdied the final hole for a 70 and 14-under 270.
Brandt Snedeker, who along with Johnson was playing for a captain’s pick for the U.S. Ryder Cup team, shot 67 in the final round and was fifth at 271. Captain Davis Love III made his four picks this morning in New York.
The Deutsche Bank Championship was the second leg in the PGA Tour playoffs and the field of 125 was cut to 70 for this week’s BMW Championship, which begins Thursday at Crooked Stick Golf Club in Carmel, Ind. From there, the field will be cut to the top 30, which will advance to the finale at the Tour Championship at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta. There will be a week off in the schedule between the BMW and The Tour Championship.
Dicky Pride came from seemingly nowhere to finish in the top 70 in points. Pride birdied his last two holes to shoot 68 on Monday and finish right on No. 70, edging out Jonas Blixt, who bounced back and forth on Monday, in and out of the top 70, before finishing one place outside the number.
Chris Kirk, Matt Every, Troy Matteson, D.A. Points, Jeff Overton, Charley Hoffman and Bryce Molder all played their way into the top 70. Molder made the biggest jump, 45 spots from 93rd to 47th by finishing ninth. Hoffman needed a nervous 10-footer for par on the last to edge Blixt.
Charl Schwartzel, a Masters champion, slipped inside the top 70 despite a four-putt from three feet on the 18th hole on Sunday. Schwartzel came back with birdies on his final two holes on Monday to improve three spots and finish 68th.
Josh Teater, Scott Stallings, Harris English and Jonathan Byrd all started the week inside the top 70 and all played their way out with poor finishes.
John Rollins, Ken Duke, Charles Howell III and Brian Davis all fell out of the top 70 by missing the cut. Davis was on the bubble entering the tournament, in the 70th position. Spencer Levin did not play the Deutsche Bank and fell from 66th to outside the top 70.
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