PARAMUS, N.J. (AP) Bryson DeChambeau completed the first stage of his mission by winning The Northern Trust. The next one is up to Ryder Cup captain Jim Furyk.
Carrying a four-shot lead, DeChambeau never let anyone closer than two shots, ended the threat with consecutive birdies and closed with a 2-under 69 for a four-shot victory over Tony Finau on Sunday in the FedEx Cup opener.
DeChambeau won for the second time this year, both times against some of the strongest fields. He moved to the top of the FedEx Cup standings and was all but assured of being one of the top five seeds at the Tour Championship, who have a clear shot at the $10 million bonus.
DeChambeau narrowly missed earning one of the eight automatic spots for the U.S. team when he missed the cut at the PGA Championship. Furyk makes three of his four captain’s picks a week from Tuesday, and it will be tough to ignore a 24-year-old Californian with victories at the Memorial and a FedEx Cup playoff event.
He moves to No. 12 in the world.
“To be able to hold the lead and keep the lead for the whole time … was great,” DeChambeau said. “If I can keep playing the way I am, I think I can do great things.”
He didn’t need to be great at Ridgewood Country Club. DeChambeau, who stayed on the practice range until dark Saturday night, came out firing with two straight birdies to stretch the lead to six shots. His only mistakes were a pair of three-putt bogeys on the front nine, the second one at No. 9, which reduced his lead to two shots. But not for long.
Wise’s threat ended with a bogey on No. 16, about the time DeChambeau got up and down from just short of the reachable par-4 12th for birdie. No one got any closer the rest of the way.
And while he started five shots back , Finau closed with a 68 to finish alone in second. Finau cracked the top 20 in the world for the first time in his career. “If I’m in the conversation, this doesn’t hurt my chances, I don’t believe,” Finau said.
Billy Horschel (68) and Cameron Smith (69) tied for third.
He tied for fifth, along with Wise (67) and Adam Scott (69), and moved all the way to No. 50, all but assuring a spot in the third playoff event outside Philadelphia.
Dustin Johnson’s only consolation was four birdies over the final four holes for a 68 that enabled him to stay No. 1 in the world over U.S. Open and PGA champion Brooks Koepka by a narrow margin.
Tiger Woods, coming off a runner-up finish at the PGA Championship, never got anything going. He closed with a 70 and tied for 40th, 14 shots out of the lead.
Nick Watney was among six players who moved from outside the top 100 to advance to the Dell Technologies Championship, which starts Friday. The others were Scott Stallings, Jhonattan Vegas, Bronson Burgoon, Brian Stuard and Danny Lee.
DeChambeau now has three victories in 13 months, and he has spent plenty of practice rounds with Woods. “He’s very fiery,” Woods said. “We all know he’s extremely intelligent, but his heart, he gives it everything he has and is always trying to get better.”