Atlanta — Rory McIlroy holed two shots on the 16th hole at East Lake that made him a most unlikely FedEx Cup champion on Sunday.
The first one he didn’t even see go in.
Three shots behind with three holes to play at the Tour Championship, McIlroy holed a pitching wedge from 137 yards for eagle that gave him the spark he needed to close with a 6-under 64 and join a three-way playoff with the FedEx Cup title riding on the outcome.
“I knew I was right back in the golf tournament,” he said.
Four playoff holes later on the 16th, after Ryan Moore made a par putt from just outside 15 feet, McIlroy knocked in his 15-foot birdie putt to win two trophies that he desperately wanted — the Tour Championship and the FedEx Cup.
“Just to see that ball drop, and everything that’s come together for me this year … to pull it off was really special,” McIlroy said, his voice still hoarse from screaming over so many quality shots, so many clutch moments over the final two hours at East Lake.
McIlroy picked up $11.53 million in one day — the $10 million FedEx Cup bonus and $1.53 million for the Tour Championship, his second victory in three weeks that made him the first player to win four FedEx Cup playoff events.
His only hope was to win the Tour Championship and have Dustin Johnson finish worse than second alone. Johnson closed with a 73 and tied for sixth.
In its 10th year, the FedEx Cup never had a finish like this.
Moore, who got the last captain’s pick for the U.S. Ryder Cup team later Sunday, missed an 8-foot birdie putt by the slimmest of margins on the par-5 18th hole in regulation for a 64. In the playoff, he holed a 10-foot birdie putt with McIlroy facing a 6-foot eagle putt for the victory. McIlroy missed.
Even on the final hole, Moore gave McIlroy everything he had. His chip over a ridge raced well past the hole, and it looked as though McIlroy would only have to two-putt for the victory. Instead, Moore holed another big putt.
“I just wanted to make him earn it for that much money at least,” Moore said. “I wanted him to make the putt. It was nice to get up and make it, but you give a great player like him that many opportunities, and he’s going to make one eventually.”
Chappell had a two-shot lead with two holes to play when he made bogey on the 17th hole — only his third of the week at East Lake — and Moore birdied it in the group ahead of him. Chappell was woefully short on a 20-foot birdie putt on the 18th for the win, and he was eliminated with a par on the first playoff hole when he made par.
They finished at 12-under 268.
Johnson surprisingly was never a factor and he hit too many errant shots on the front nine and never recovered. He still would have won the FedEx Cup had either Moore or Chappell won the tournament, which he said “would have been really cool.”
“It didn’t feel right because I didn’t win the Tour Championship,” Johnson said. “That’s why I was here to win. I knew I controlled my own destiny.”
Johnson was second in the FedEx Cup and received a $3 million bonus.
McIlroy had control of this all along once he got into the playoff, except for one nervous moment.
He looked to put the perfect finish onto his big day when he hit out of the rough and over the water to 6 feet for an eagle putt on the par-5 18th in the first playoff hole. McIlroy was ready to pump his fist until his eagle putt slid by, and he removed his cap in disbelief.
Returning to the 18th, McIlroy missed an 18-foot birdie putt for the win. On the third extra hole, the par-3 15th over the water from 201 yards, McIlroy had to make a 7-foot par putt just to stay in the game.
Nothing was bigger than that birdie at the end. McIlroy stiffened his back, clutched both arms and shouted above the raucous cheers at East Lake.
“I’ve made it no secret that it’s one of the last things I feel like I had left on my golf CV, and I made it a big goal of mine to win it,” McIlroy said. “To be here and to win the FedEx Cup … to play the way I have in the last few weeks to get it done, is very special.”
It was the longest playoff in the 30-year history of the Tour Championship.
Moore had to wait to see if his performance — a 66-64 weekend at East Lake — was worthy of a captain’s pick. It was, with captain Davis Love III giving him the spot on the 12-man team.
Chappell headed into a month off trying to figure out what he has to do to win. He was runner-up for the fourth time this season — twice to Jason Day, the No. 1 player in the world, and once to McIlroy. In those final rounds, Chappell’s scores were 67, 69, 69 and 66.
“I’m proud of the way I fought,” he said. “It just wasn’t enough.”
At Victoria, British Columbia, Colin Montgomerie won the Pacific Links Bear Mountain Championship, outlasting Scott McCarron with a birdie on the third hole of a playoff.
Montgomerie closed with a 4-under 67 to match McCarron at 15-under 198 at scenic Bear Mountain Resort, the first-year venue in the PGA Tour Champions event that was played in Hawaii from 2012-14.
McCarron bogeyed the par-5 18th in regulation for a 70. Montgomerie and McCarron matched pars on 18 on the first two extra holes.
Miguel Angel Jimenez shot a course-record 61 to tie for third at 13 under, finishing as Montgomerie and McCarron made the turn. The Spanish star played the first five holes on the back nine in 6 under with an eagle and five birdies, then closed with four pars to miss a chance to break 60.
Jeff Sluman (67), Scott Dunlap (68) and Doug Garwood (70) also were 13 under.
At Bad Griesbach, Germany, France's Alexander Levy wasted a four-shot lead but beat Ross Fisher of England in a playoff to win the shortened European Open.
Levy had bogeys on the 16th and the 18th and narrowly missed a birdie putt on the 17th to finish the day at 2-under 69 and 19-under overall. Fisher shot 7-under 64 on the final day but also missed a birdie putt on the 17th and tied with Levy on 19 under. Levy then made a birdie on the second playoff hole to claim the title.
The tournament was reduced to 54 holes because of fog delays over the first three days.
Two Swedes, Robert Karlsson (65) and Michael Jonzon (68), tied for third at 16 under.
At Columbus, Ohio, Grayson Murray won the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship and Cameron Smith and Kevin Tway wrapped up PGA Tour cards.
Already guaranteed a PGA Tour card with an 18th-place finish on the Web.com Tour’s regular-season money list, Murray closed with a 3-under 68 to beat Smith by a stroke in the third of four events in the Web.com Tour Finals. Tway tied for third with third-round leader Martin Flores.
Murray finished at 12-under 272 on Ohio State’s Scarlet Course and earned $180,000 to jump from 11th to second with $407,963 on the PGA Tour priority list among the 25 card-earners from the Web.com money list.
Smith also shot a 67. After finishing 157th in the PGA Tour’s FedEx Cups standings, the Australian made $108,000 to go from 48th to third with $114,910 in the series race for 25 more PGA Tour cards.
Tway had a 67 to match Flores (74) at 10 under. Tway was 27th on the Web.com money list. His $58,000 check moved him from 52nd to ninth with $63,975, more than enough to secure one of the 25 cards. The last PGA Tour card went at $33,650 in 2013, $36,312 in 2014 and $32,206 last year.