The second round of the FedEx Cup Playoffs wrapped up this past Sunday at the BMW Championship. John Rahm defeated World No. 1 Dustin Johnson on the first playoff hole in a thrilling final round at Olympia Fields in Chicago. He moved into second place in the FedExCup standings heading into next weekend’s Tour Championship, the final installment of the Cup. Rahm will start the tournament at -8, two strokes behind Johnson, who maintained his first-place position in the standings with the runner-up finish.
The course proved to be challenging throughout the entire tournament. A combination of fast greens, lengthy holes and windy conditions left only five players under par at the end of Sunday. However, Rahm was able to overcome the conditions and a slow start, shooting a 66 on Saturday and a 64 on the final day to head into the clubhouse with a one shot lead after his final round. Johnson was only -2 on Sunday, and even par on the back nine. He headed on to eighteenth hole needing a birdie to force a playoff. After driving his ball into the right rough, he was able to land his approach on the back of the green, leaving him with a downhill forty-foot putt for birdie over a ridge in the middle of the green, which he promptly sank to force a playoff hole with Rahm.
The group headed back to the eighteenth tee, with both golfers landing their drives in similar positions to where they were in regulation. Rahm landed his approach to the far back of the green, over sixty feet away. He was trying to set himself up for an easy par putt, but instead drained the longest putt of his professional career for a birdie, putting the pressure on Johnson once again.
Johnson was unable to force another playoff hole, leaving his birdie attempt just shortand making Rahm the champion after a wild Sunday round. If this is any indication of the play we can see from these two, we are in for a very exciting Tour Championship next week. East Lake in Atlanta is another difficult course, and will give the remaining 30 players in contention a challenge as they compete for the title and the $15million prize. However, the players have said they enjoy the strategy and precision that these hard courses require and are working hard to prepare for the final tournament of the Cup, which should make the Tour Championship the most exciting golf we have seen all year.