Hunter Mahan Wins a Wild One at The Barclays
Wow. Let me start with that. What a crazy one at the final day of the first round of the FedEx Cup Playoffs in Paramus, N.J. In the end, Hunter Mahan emerged as the winner at Ridgewood Country Club. Mahan fired a stellar six under-par 65 and won the tournament by two strokes over Stuart Appleby, Cameron Tringale, and Jason Day. To top it all off, Mahan's wife and daughter flew in today in hopes that he would win and the first place trophy was broken during the post-victory festivities.
"Obviously it feels great to win The Barclays," Mahan said. "I just felt good about kind of how I was playing going into the week...and just let everything happen, and it did and I obviously made some huge putts coming down the stretch."
It looked like Mahan was going to take the crown easily with a three shot lead stepping to the final tee. However, an errant tee shot on the par four forced him to chip back to the fairway. He then hit a poor third shot left of the green before chipping on. Like there was ice in his veins, the Ryder Cup hopeful sunk the putt for bogey to seal the deal barring a hole out from the fairway from Day. Day did not complete such a miracle.
"I was thinking now what do we do," he said. "We want to play this correctly, the smart way, get our five, get out of here and make someone make an eagle, have Jason try to make an eagle."
With the victory Mahan jumps to first in the FedEx Cup Standings, a position he has not held in 92 weeks. He is very excited about the golden opportunity that he now has to win the FedEx Cup. Mahan also was pleased to be asked about the Ryder Cup.
"I've been thinking about it for a few weeks," Mahan said. "Obviously a win, it helps a lot. Obviously playing well at the PGA helped a lot. So obviously I have no idea what he's thinking or if he has any strategy. But I think a win is a good step in the right direction."
As for this week's trophy: "The trophy? I don't know what you're talking about," laughed Hunter.
With a bunched leaderboard throughout the day until the last few holes for the final groups, it seemed that a sudden death playoff was inevitable. A trio of players finished in a tie for second place at 12 under-par. Stuart Appleby posted the score after birdieing five of his final nine holes. Cameron Tringale followed that up soon after, shooting a five under-par 66, but bogeyed the 18th. Jason Day, who played in the final group, turned in a solid effort as well, but could only muster a three under par 68.
Ernie Els, William McGirt, and Matt Kuchar all finished at 11 under, while 54-hole co-leader Jim Furyk finished in eighth place at ten under-par. Local product Morgan Hoffman from nearby Wyckoff, N.J., who was paired in the second to last group with Mahan, finished nine under-par after shooting a final round 69. Rickie Fowler also finished at nine under-par.
Further down the leaderboard, World #1 Rory McIlroy finished in a tie for 22nd after shooting a final round one under-par 70. Ryder Cup hopeful Brendon Todd faltered on the final day of competition, posting a five over 76, and finished two under-par for the tournament. He'll need a solid finish next week to convince Tom Watson he's worthy of one of the three picks that will be made on September 2. And Phil Mickelson did not qualify for the final round of play after missing the 54-hole cut. He finished in 78th place and may choose not to participate in the remainder of the playoffs to spend time with his family.
The second round of the playoffs begins on Friday at TPC Boston with the Top 100 players in points. Notables that did not advance include Retief Goosen, Nick Watney, Lee Westwood, David Toms, and Louis Oosthuizen.