PARAMUS: Hunter Mahan fired a six-under par 65 Sunday to win the US PGA Barclays tournament by two strokes, giving the American his first tour victory in more than two years.
Mahan, who had not taken a title since the 2012 Houston Open, birdied the 15th, 16th and 17th holes to seize a three-stroke lead, then sank a clutch eight-foot bogey putt at 18 to claim the first event in the US tour’s season-ending playoffs.
Mahan, who had only a pair of top-five finishes this season before this week, finished 72 holes on 14-under 270 with Australians Jason Day and Stuart Appleby and American Cameron Tringale sharing second on 272.
Four-time major winner Ernie Els was on 273 with Americans William McGirt and Matt Kuchar with Jim Furyk another shot back, his winless streak when leading or co-leading after 54 holes stretching to eight events since he last won any title back at the 2010 Tour Championship.
The event launched the season-ending series of tournaments that reduce fields until 30 players qualify for the Tour Championship finale next month in Atlanta. Mahan now leads the point chase, giving him the best chance at the $10 million bonus for the season points winner.
Mahan opened with a birdie and added another at the fifth, but he made his move on the back nine, with birdies at the 11th and par-5 13th before his key run of three in a row, the last a 25-footer that eased the pressure on 18, where he found trees off the tee and went over the green on his approach only to make a vital putt.
When Day failed to hole out from the rough in the last group just behind him, Mahan had the victory.