American Nick Watney won the Barclays Tournament in Farmingdale, New York by three shots on Sunday, shooting down Sergio Garcia’s quest for consecutive victories and moving to top spot in the PGA Tour playoffs.
Watney fired a two-under-par 69 on the final day to finish at 10-under 274 and claim his fifth PGA Tour victory, three clear of fellow American Brandt Snedeker (70) who was alone in second at 277 and four ahead of overnight leader Garcia (75) and defending champion Dustin Johnson (68) on 278.
Former world No 1 Lee Westwood, former British Open champion Louis Oosthuizen, Canadian Graham DeLaet and American Brian Harman shared fifth at 279.
Tiger Woods free fell down the leaderboard with a final round 76, dropping from a tie for 10th into a tie for 38th.
Woods was even par over the first 11 holes before playing a five-hole stretch in five over thanks to three bogeys and a double bogey.
Watney won twice in 2011 but had managed just three top 10s in 2012 before the win which guaranteed him a place at the season ending Tour Championship and a shot at the FedEx Cup and its $10 million dollar bonus.
“I’m just very, very happy right now,” Watney said. “It’s been not quite the year I would have wanted, but this really makes it all forgotten.
“Winning a tournament is hard, but winning out here and against this field was very, very difficult. I’m kind of still on a high right now.”
Starting two behind Garcia, Watney made a move early with a birdie on the second hole to tie for the lead following an opening-hole bogey from the Spaniard.
But Watney slipped back once more when he three-putted the fifth green for a bogey and Garcia dropped a 38-foot birdie on the sixth to reopen a two-shot lead.
Watney clawed within a stroke with birdie on the seventh but the defining moment of the tournament came on the par three eighth.
Garcia was short and left in a greenside bunker and failed to get up and down for par while Watney nailed a slippery downhill curling 28-foot birdie putt to lead by one.
He led by three after a birdie on the 10th bested another Garcia bogey but showed a few nerves with back-to-back bogeys on 11 and 12 to give the field a sniff.
A solid birdie on the 14th once again gave the American breathing room and despite a bogey on the 16th he stamped his victory with authority with a birdie on the final hole.
Garcia, who won the Wyndham Championship just last week, could not maintain the pace but is all but guaranteed a place in the Tour Championship.
“It’s been two very good weeks,” he said. “Obviously I would loved to finish in a different way but to be able to win last week and put myself in contention here again this week was good.”
The playoffs move to TPC Boston next week for the Deutsche Bank Championship where the top 100 golfers compete for a spot in the final 70.
274 Nick Watney (U.S.) 65 69 71 69
277 Brandt Snedeker (U.S.) 70 69 68 70,
278 Dustin Johnson (U.S.) 67 71 72 68, Sergio Garcia (Spain) 66 68 69 75
279 Graham DeLaet (Canada) 75 67 72 65, Louis Oosthuizen (South Africa) 70 71 68 70 , Lee Westwood (Britain) 69 72 68 70, Brian Harman (U.S.) 65 75 68 71