It’s been a long time coming for Hunter Mahan. He’s competed in almost 50 tournaments since his last win about a year and a half ago and, as the frontrunner to be selected for captain of the Ryder Cup team, a win at The Barclays couldn’t have come at a better time.
Mahan has been in the FedEx Cup playoffs every year since it began in 2007, but he’s never put on such a great show on the final day. And he made it look easy.
Throughout the day, there had been five other players who took the lead at one point or another, but it was Mahan who made sure he was comfortably ahead with three consecutive birdies on the 15th, 16th and 17th. His 20-foot birdie putt on the 17th was one for the crowd.
Having a three-shot lead may have made him relax a little more than he should on the final hole as he gave himself a lot to do. Driving into the trees and wasting a shot to chip back on to the fairway, his approach shot landed in the rough, just short of the green. Even his shot to the green left him an eight-foot putt, but he made no mistake about that.
Jason Day was the only one who could have possibly forced a playoff, but he had no luck at all on the final hole, missing the green with an aggressive approach shot. Still, he closed out with a 68 and shared second place with Stuart Appleby and Cameron Tringale, who shot a 65 and 66 respectively.
After the day was over, Mahan spoke with journalists, “To get a win in an event like this, and the timing that it was, it feels unbelievable. So I’m extremely proud of myself. I felt great the last few weeks. My game was starting to come around. This game is all about winning. You can have a great year and if you don’t win, it just feels like you missed out on something. So to get a win, and do it in a tournament like this in this kind of fashion with a 65 on Sunday, feels great.”
As Mahan got up to leave, he picked up the glass trophy by the top and the bottom fell off. It will, of course, be repaired or replaced.