(Reuters) – Spain’s Jon Rahm sunk a breathtaking 66-foot (20 metre) putt to win the BMW Championship on Sunday in a thrilling playoff victory over American Dustin Johnson.
The 25-year-old, who recently spent two weeks as world number one, shot a flawless six-under par 64 on Sunday, saving his best for last after carding a lackluster five-over 75 in the first round.
Rocketing up the leaderboard on Sunday, Rahm then drained the long putt in the first hole of a playoff against Johnson, letting out an elated roar.
“Honestly I hoped it would be a decent putt for par coming back and have a chance to keep the playoff going. Luckily it looked really good on the way and when it had 10 feet to go it was tracking beautifully,” Rahm said in a televised interview.
“I could hardly believe it.”
Johnson, who had a two-stroke lead heading into the final round, carded a three-under par 67 despite a pair of costly bogeys. He shot a birdie on 18 to push the round into a playoff but his effort was not enough to derail his steely-nerved opponent.
Rahm, who won last month’s Memorial Tournament, carded a five-birdie 66 in Saturday’s third round despite forgetting to put a marker down on the fifth green before picking up his ball, which cost him a stroke. He quickly put the embarrassing mental lapse behind him.
“Yesterday was just trying to finish strong and get myself in contention, and once I teed off today with the good weather and how I started striping it the first few holes I knew I had a chance,” said Rahm. “I just tried not to think about it.”
The second of three FedexCup playoff events, where 69 players were vying for 30 spots in the upcoming Tour Championship, the tournament at Olympia Fields Country Club near Chicago proved a tough test, with just five golfers finishing the four rounds under par.
Rounding out the top five finishers were Chilean Joaquin Niemann (67) and Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama (69), who finished the tournament tied for third at two-under, and American Tony Finau (65), who finished fifth at one-under par through four rounds.
(Reporting by Amy Tennery; editing by Richard Pullin)