Dustin Johnson is one of the PGA Tour’s most aggressive players. Combine that with a softened track at Plainfield Country Club and a 54-hole time limit to make as many birdies as possible, and it was a recipe for a Johnson victory.
His fifth PGA Tour win and second in a 54-hole event shot him up to the top spot in the FedEx Cup standings heading into the Deutsche Bank Championship next week at TPC Boston. It also assures him of a spot in East Lake at the Tour Championship in four weeks.
Kuchar may have come up shy on the Sunday back-nine, in part to errant driving, but his runner-up effort has him in second in the FedEx Cup standings.
Regular season stalwarts were not particularly hurt by their efforts at The Barclays. Six of the players ranked in the top-10 remain there for the trip to TPC Boston. Dropouts, though, are significant for Phil Mickelson (T-43), Keegan Bradley (MC), Bubba Watson (MC) and David Toms (MC).
Two players in the top-10 at The Barclays made sizable moves to help their playoff positioning.
For the second straight week, Vijay Singh threw up a top-5 finish. His tie for third with Brandt Snedeker at Plainfield jolted him to eighth in the FedEx Cup. That’s a two-week improvement of 34 spots.
Even bigger is the move made by Camilo Villegas. Entering the Wyndham Championship at 125 in the standings, Villegas kept his playoff spot safe going into The Barclays. This week, he showed flashes of the Villegas in 2008 that won the final two playoff events in a September tear. A tie for sixth for Villegas catapulted him up 58 spots in the ranking to 51st.
The bubble boy to get into Boston is Ben Crane, who qualifies 100th despite a missed cut. Ernie Els, who has been on the outside looking in the last couple of weeks has found his way to Boston just one spot ahead of Crane.
William McGirt could become the compelling rags-to-riches story of the playoffs, though. McGirt qualified on the bubble for The Barclays but needed one more birdie in his last two holes to ensure his effort at Plainfield would not be in vain. With a 5-footer at the 17th hole on Saturday, he did just that. He comes in at 96th in the ranking, needing next week to improve just the same number of spots to get to the BMW Championship.
The Deutsche Bank Championship ends on Labor Day on Golf Channel on NBC, kicking off on Friday on Golf Channel with first round coverage. TPC Boston should be a little wet, but in great shape for the second leg of the PGA Tour Playoffs. The course is a big diversion from the Donald Ross-designed Plainfield, though, so who does it favor?
Not Dustin Johnson. He was T-57 there in 2010. Nick Watney, who entered the playoffs in pole position, does not like TPC Boston given his record there. Webb Simpson has missed the cut there in both of his appearances.
As for guys who like this track, Matt Kuchar has consecutive top-15 finishes in the event. Steve Stricker and Vijay Singh have wins here, as does Phil Mickelson, who stared down Tiger Woods in 2007 to take the second-ever playoff event.