As Rory McIlroy headed to Atlanta for the Tour Championship, Graeme McDowell was bound for home in Orlando while Shane Lowry arrives in Dublin this morning with the Claret Jug in his luggage following three very different outcomes in the BMW Championship in Chicago for the Irish trio.
McIlroy’s PGA Tour season, for a sixth straight year, will wind-up later this week in the Tour Championship at East Lake to the east of the Georgia capital after the four-time Major winner posted a final round 71 for an 11-under par total and a frustrating share of 20th place on the Medinah course.
The final round of his penultimate event of the PGA Tour season was another example of McIlroy brilliance with three birdies in succession from the third hole but then McIlroy could have dearly done without the double-bogey at the second before completing his inward nine in level par.
McIlroy’s day was seemingly summed-up when he tossed his ball into the water guarding the green after three-putting the par-4 14th hole from 14-feet.
The effort, in McIlroy’s 18th Tour event of the wraparound season, handed him a top-20 result and only his fifth non top-10 result.
McIlroy had dropped two places to No. 3 a week ago following the Northern Trust and has slipped a further two spots on the FedEx Cup standings to the new No. 5.
And in what has to be a PGA ‘social media’ first, there was not one ‘Tweet’ of McIlroy on @PGATour over the final day’s play.
Meanwhile, McDowell and Lowry both needed a golfing miracle over the last day with McDowell’s season winding up with a closing day 71 for a three-under par total.
‘GMac’ left the course where he had teamed with McIlroy seven years ago officially ending his season 67th on the FedEx standings with a precious two-year Tour exemption after winning the Corales Puntacana Championship earlier in the year.
And Lowry has brought the famed Claret Jug back to Ireland after taking it to New York and the ‘Windy City’ after securing his best finish ever on the PGA Tour of 33rd on the money list.
Lowry arrived in the States sitting 20th on the FedEx Cup points table but after a Medinah closing round 68 for a disappointing five-under par tally to finish just inside the top-50, the Offaly golfer missed out on the trip to Atlanta by the closest of margins.
Not that it will worry Lowry who has a five-year Tour exemption for winning The Open.
At the top, American Justin Thomas collected his 10th PGA Tour win and secured a first taste of success in just over a year in winning by three shots thanks to a last day 67 for a 25-under par victory tally.
The win has seen Thomas jump 14 places to the now No. 1 spot on the FedEx Cup standings with former No. 1 and also World No. 1 Brooks Koepka hardly raising a Medinah murmur ending the event just outside the top-20 with a 10-under par total to be bumped back to No. 2.
Fellow American Patrick Cantlay regrouped from a 16th hole bogey to birdie his closing two holes in a score of 65 for a 22-under par tally that saw him jump to sixth on the FedEx Cup points table.
Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama bounced back from a third round 73, a day after his new course record of 63, to match that 63 over the last round in a four-round 20-under par total.