Steve Stricker climbed to No. 2 in the world rankings after a birdie-birdie finish gave him a one-shot victory at the Deutsche Bank Championship, with Tiger Woods finishing only 11th despite a scintillating closing 63.
Stricker has replaced his fellow American at the top of the FedEx Cup standings with the biggest win of his career and took his season earnings to just over $6 million — $2.3 million behind the world’s top-ranked player. On a tense Labor Day finish at the TPC of Boston, which saw half a dozen players in contention going into the closing holes, the 42-year-old held his nerve to surge past clubhouse leaders Jason Dufner and Scott Verplank and clinch his third title this season. Dufner finished with a six-under-par 65 while Verplank carded 67 — a score that Stricker matched for a winning total of 17-under 267 in Norton, Massachusetts.
Stricker leads as Woods toils in Boston
O’Hair, Furyk share Deutsche Bank lead
Furyk and Stricker lead after opening 63s
Slocum denies Woods with brave last-hole putt
Argentina’s Masters champion Angel Cabrera claimed a share of fourth place with a 65, finishing on 269 along with Irishman Padraig Harrington (68) and American Dustin Johnson (66). Australia’s Geoff Ogilvy was another shot back after also carding 66, while Retief Goosen and Sean O’Hair — who shared the third-round lead with Stricker — tied for eighth with Jim Furyk (68) on 271 after both faded with 71s. Woods, who comfortably leads Stricker by more than five points at the top of the world rankings, fired eight birdies and an eagle for the best round of the day. He finished five strokes behind the winner alongside compatriots Kevin Na (71) and Jerry Kelly (70) and Australia’s John Senden (69). Phil Mickelson, who lost his No. 2 ranking to Stricker, was well off the pace on 277 despite closing with a 66 to be one shot behind Spain’s Sergio Garcia (67). Heath Slocum, who held off Woods, Ernie Els, Harrington and Stricker to win the opening FedEx event, The Barclays, missed the cut in Boston after opening rounds of 69 and 73. The BMW Championship, the third leg of the four-tournament playoffs, begins on Thursday at Cog Hill Golf & Country Club near Chicago. The top 30 players advance to The Tour Championship at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta from September 24-27. “It’s still pretty interesting because you could have a great year, you could win the first three playoff events and not win the FedEx Cup,” Woods told his official Web site. “I don’t know, maybe that’s the way they want it just in case it does happen, you know, like Vijay (Singh) did last year. We’ll see how it plays out.”