Dustin Johnson withstood a stubborn challenge from Paul Casey on Sunday to win the BMW Championship and set up a PGA Tour player of the year showdown with Jason Day in the Tour Championship at East Lake Country Club in Atlanta in two weeks.
Johnson, who began the final round leading Casey by three, posted a five-under par 67 at Crooked Stick Golf Club in Carmel, Ind., on Sunday and defeated Casey, who also shot 67, by three. Johnson completed 72 holes in 23-under par 265.
The victory, his third of the year and 12th of his career, gave Johnson an edge over Day in the race for player of the year.
They are tied for the tour lead in victories with three. One of Johnson’s victories came in a major championship, the U.S. Open, and another in a World Golf Championship event, the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. Day’s three victories do not include a major, though he won the WGC-Dell Match Play and the Players Championship. Johnson also leads the tour in scoring average, top 10s, and earnings.
Day, however, withdrew from the BMW Championship midway through his round Sunday with a spasm in his lower back.
Johnson, who set a course record with a 63 on Friday, stumbled early on Sunday with two bogeys that enabled Casey to pull into a tie through three holes. Johnson responded with four birdies in his next five holes to pull away from Casey and stretched the lead to five.
Casey trimmed the lead to three by the 13th hole, then holed a 25-foot eagle putt at the par-5 15th hole. Moments later, Johnson matched Casey by holing an 18-footer for eagle to retain his three-stroke lead.
Casey finished second for the second week in a row.
Meanwhile, the five players who can win the FedEx Cup by winning the Tour Championship are Johnson, Patrick Reed, Adam Scott, Day and Casey.
Among those who missed qualifying for the Tour Championship was Rickie Fowler, who finished 59th in the BMW, a second straight unimpressive performance for a player attempting to convince U.S. Ryder Cup captain Davis Love III to make him one of his captain’s picks.