PARAMUS, N.J. — Fairmont native William McGirt closed with a flurry of birdies on Sunday, posted the second-best score of the day and has assured himself of two more starts this year and has a chance to make the elite field in the season-ending Tournament of Champions.
But McGirt wanted more at The Barclays, the first event of the four-tournament FedEx Cup playoffs,
Facing a 33-foot downhill put on No. 18 a the Ridgewood Golf Course to reach 12 under par, McGirt believed if he holed it, he would have a good a chance for at a playoff and his first PGA victory.
“I still can’t believe I left the putt short,” he told The Robesonian. “It had everything going for it. Downhill, down grain, and the breeze was behind me. The slope was pretty decent that I was putting down. I absolutely didn’t think it was possible to leave it short, much less 2 feet short. It was dead center too. That’s what makes me sick about it.”
The consolations prize, however, were considerable.
McGirt, who finished with a 6-under-par 66, tied for fifth place, earning $292,000 and pushing his earnings for the year to a career-best $1,243,018, surpassing his 2012 season. Perhaps more importantly, he earned 500 FedEx Cup points to climb from 81st on the list to 35th and extended his season at least two more tournaments and perhaps a third.
“I am guaranteed to play Deutsche Bank Championship this week in Boston and the BMW Championship next week at Cherry Hills in Denver,” he said.
The top 30 players in the FedEx Cup standings after the BMW advance to the Tournament of Champions.
“I don’t know what the scenario is right now, but I know I need to keep playing well to get to Atlanta,” he said.
McGirt appears ready to continue his good play.
“This is the most confidence I’ve had in my game in a long time,” he said. “I feel like I am getting very close to breaking through and winning.”
McGirt, after opening with rounds of 68, 71 and 68, stood at 6 under par and three shots behind co-leaders Jason Day and Jim Furyk entering Sunday’s round. After a 1-under-par 34 on the front, he looked to be in position for a good check, but not much more, but then he birdied Nos. 10, 15, 16 and 17 before facing the putt on No. 18 for what he thought would be enough for a playoff.
CBS viewers watched McGirt and his dismay that the putt could stop short.
“I played very well all week,” McGirt said. “I drove the ball exceptionally well, which was key because the rough was especially penal. The few times I did find the rough, I drew a good enough lie to advance the ball up around the green. I hit my irons great and putted pretty good as well. It was a solid week all the way around.”
Hunter Mahan won The Barclays by closing with a 7-under-par 65 to finish at 14 under par, two shots ahead of the threesome of Stuart Appleby, Cameron Tringale and Day.
Mahan won $1,440,000 and vaulted to No. 1 on the FedEx Cup list.
Ernie Els and Matt Kuchar both finished tied with McGirt at 11 under par.