It was a case of “anything he can do, I can do better” for Jon Rahm at the BMW Championship on Sunday.
After Dustin Johnson sunk a weaving, 43-foot birdie putt on the 18th green to force a playoff with Rahm, the world No. 2 went one better on the first hole of the pair’s shootout.
With 66 feet between Rahm and the title, the 25-year-old rolled in a putt that made its way from wide left all the way back to the hole to clinch the second title of the PGA Tour’s FedExCup Playoffs.
“I still can’t believe what just happened the last hour of play,” Rahm said.
“That stretch of waiting for DJ, him making the putt, going in the playoff, me making the putt, then trying to stay mentally in it just in case he made the last putt. It’s been a rollercoaster, but so much fun.”
Down to the wire
Sitting on six over after the opening two rounds, not many would have had Rahm down as a contender for the title at Olympia Fields.
And any faint hopes the Spaniard had seemed to be slipping away on the fifth hole on Saturday when he inexplicably picked up his ball on the green before marking it and was assessed for a one-shot penalty, turning a par into a bogey.
But a bogey-free final round 64 meant he led on four under when he finished on Sunday. And Rahm was praying that the penalty wouldn’t come back to haunt him.
“I just hope I don’t lose by one,” Rahm said after his round on Saturday. “I’m just going to say that. I just hope. And if I do, well, very well, my fault. It’s as simple as that.”
And it looked like that mistake could be his undoing. Johnson – who was going for back-to-back wins after his victory at the Northern Trust last weekend – set up a grand-stand finale with Rahm, rolling in a huge 43-putt birdie to tie the scores.
However, the world No.1 was to be one-upped by Rahm in the putting department, as the Spaniard’s winding 66-footer eventually dropped in to secure his second PGA Tour title in 2020.
And although he was pipped to the BMW Championship title, Johnson had to tip his hat to Rahm’s monster putt.
“I played an unbelievable putt, got in the playoff and then Jon made an even more ridiculous putt on top of me,” Johnson said. “And then I gave it a good effort (in the playoff). I thought I made it when it was coming down the hill. It just kind of ran out of a little bit of speed and missed just low.”
Johnson’s second place finish means he remains atop the FedExCup Playoff standings ahead of the final stage next weekend, the Tour Championship at East Lake.
The top 30 players qualified for the season’s finale in Atlanta. Rahm’s win in Illinois raises him to second in the standings, with American Justin Thomas in third.