ADAM SCOTT was co-leader after the second round, Jason Day was the same after the third round, and an unlikely challenger in Stuart Appleby almost snatched the title in a dramatic finish at The Barclays.
But it was America’s Hunter Mahan who rose above a very congested final round leaderboard to take the first event of the 2014 FedEx Cup playoffs.
Mahan (65) made five birdies coming down the back nine at the Ridgewood Country Club in New Jersey to close on 14-under, two strokes better than Appleby (65), Day (68) and American Cameron Tringale (68), all tied in second place.
Scott followed up his leader-grabbing 65 in the second round with a 4-over 75 blip in the third round but got over the anomaly with a 68 on Sunday to get back to 7-under tied for 15th.
The results mean Mahan catapults to 1st position in the FedEx Cup rankings and the 99 golfers following him will go on to the Deutsche Bank Championship at the TPC Boston this week.
That includes eight Aussies: Jason Day (7th in FedEx rankings), Adam Scott (16th),Stuart Appleby (19th), John Senden (28th), Marc Leishman (36th despite missing the cut this week) Steven Bowditch (44th), Matt Jones (54th, also missed cut) and Geoff Ogilvy, a very lucky golfer who missed the cut but scrapped into this week in the final 100th position.
Robert Allenby and Aaron Baddeley also missed the cut in New Jersey and ended their season.
After this week the top 70 go on to the BMW Championship at the Cherry Hills Country Club in Colorado, with the top 30 advancing to the Tour Championship the following week at the East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta.
No doubt Stuart Appleby will be planning on where he can stash the US$10 million winners cheque if he can just keep his amazing final round putting performance going for a little longer.
The 43 year old, who last won on the tour with his final round 59 at the 2010 Greenbrier Classic, potted five birdies coming down the back nine.The Barclays Leaderboard