Jordan Spieth gave himself golf’s biggest pay day today, ending one of the sport’s great seasons.
The Texan was locked with Swede Henrik Stenson through seven holes of the Tour Championship at East Lake Golf Club with the $US10million FedEx Cup bonus on the line.
But, as he has done all year in winning five tournaments, including two major championships, Spieth kept his cool on the greens when it mattered most and stormed to a four-stroke triumph on the back of a white-hot putter.
Spieth shot a one-under 69 to finish at nine under, ending Jason Day’s one-week stay atop the world rankings and also any chance the Aussie had of PGA Tour player of the year honours.
“This year's unreal,” said Spieth, the 2014 Emirates Australian Open champion who became the youngest player with five wins in a PGA Tour season since 1929.
“It's fantastic. I have an opportunity now, with a year like this and a bonus like that, to celebrate and to share it with the people that have made it possible – and that's kind of the plan.
“Our team did an unbelievable job this year. Everything was exactly how we needed it to be to peak at the right times. If we can continue to do that, then we'll have more seasons like this.
“But right now, we're going to enjoy it, and I'm able to help out those who made this possible. Because it was not a single effort.”
Jason Day fired a two-under round of 68 to finish T10 at two under, while fellow Queenslander Steve Bowditch birdies his last hole for a 70 to finish even par and T12 to cap his best season in the United States.
Spieth, who missed the cut in the first two FedEx Cup playoffs, began the day with a one-shot lead over Stenson.
After six holes, the two were tied when Spieth suffered a second consecutive bogey.
But on the eighth hole, Spieth took command.
He rolled in a 7m birdie putt while Stenson suffered a bogey, a key two-shot swing.
Then after Stenson knocked his approach shot close at the ninth, Spieth rolled in an 6m bomb to maintain his edge.
Spieth then holed his biggest putt of the day – from almost 15m – at the 11th hole, again to keep his two-shot lead. Stenson then made bogey on the next hole to drop three back.
Spieth used his putter to keep other chasers away. He saved par at the 15th with a putt from just inside 3m, and made a par-saver from a similar distance on the next hole. When Stenson made double-bogey at the 17th after shanking his approach, Spieth's lead going into the final hole was four shots.
“It's been a phenomenal year for him,” Stenson said.
"I watched it first hand at the two first rounds at Augusta and he played phenomenal and putted phenomenal. And it was the same putting display, really, today.
“Just an exhibition on the greens, to be honest.”
In fact, it took Stenson nailing a 15m bomb of his own on the closing green to put him back into a tie for second at with England’s Justin Rose (66) and Kiwi Danny Lee (65).
And it had a knock-on effect for Day, as well.
Despite not having won in the US this year, Stenson’s share of second place combined with Day’s result allowed the big Swede to finish second on the final FedEx Cup points list and win a $US3m bonus, compared to the $US2m for Day, who would have been second had Stenson’s last putt stayed up.
Bowditch finished 20th overall, winning a bonus of $US225,000.
The 22-year-old became the youngest player in nine seasons to win the FedEx Cup and become the youngest player to ever win the Tour Championship.
Spieth’s $US1.485million for winning the Tour Championship today pushed him past Vijay Singh’s 2008 campaign as the most lucrative season on PGA Tour record. It also locked up the Vardon Trophy for the lowest scoring average of the year.