Slocum fends off four heavyweights to win Barclays|
Jersey City, NJ (Sports Network) - Heath Slocum poured in a 21-foot par putt
on the 18th hole Sunday to claim a one-stroke win over four players at The
Barclays, the first FedEx Cup playoff event.
Slocum's closing par denied a possible playoff that would have included world
No. 1 Tiger Woods, Steve Stricker, who is No. 2 on the FedEx Cup points list,
as well as three-time major champions Ernie Els and Padraig Harrington.
Slocum shot a four-under 67 Sunday to end at nine-under-par 275.
Woods and Harrington also posted Sunday 67s, while Els carded a five-under 66
and Stricker shot 69. Those four shared second at minus-eight.
With the win, Slocum skyrocketed from 124th on the FedEx Cup points list to
third behind Woods and Stricker.
"That's what is unbelievable about this system," said Slocum, who earned $1.35
million for his third PGA Tour win. "I was sweating it out last week not
knowing if I'd even be here. I found out late Sunday and I came in with the
attitude that I've got nothing to lose and I'll let it hang out and play the
best I can. I got off to a great start and it carried over all week."
Third-round leaders Paul Goydos and Steve Marino both struggled in the final
round at Liberty National. Goydos shot a four-over 75 to share ninth place at
five-under-par 279, while Marino stumbled to a six-over 77 to tie for 15th at
Slocum birdied the second, then holed out for eagle on the fifth to grab a
share of the lead at minus-eight. He got up and down for birdie on the par-
five sixth, but a bogey on the seventh dropped him back to minus-eight and
into a share of the lead with Marino.
Marino went five-over par on the back nine to tumble out of contention.
Slocum parred five straight from the eighth and was tied for the lead the
entire time. As Marino fell down the leaderboard, Els and Stricker, who played
alongside Slocum, joined the lead at minus-eight.
Els posted a bogey-free round that included a birdie on the third and back-to-
back birdies from the seventh and 13th. He parred his final four holes to get
into the clubhouse first at minus-eight.
Harrington was next in a eight-under. The Irishman birdied three in a row from
the 12th to get to minus-seven, then drained a 13-footer at the last to join
Els in the clubhouse.
Slocum rolled in a four-foot birdie try on 13 to move to minus-nine. That came
moments after Stricker made a five-footer for birdie. Those two were one up,
but Stricker fell back with a bogey on 15.
Stricker pitched his approach within two feet at the 16th and tapped in for
birdie to reclaim a piece of the lead. As Slocum parred four in a row from the
14th to remain at minus-nine, Woods started to make his move.
He faltered to a bogey on the fourth, but flew up the leaderboard with three
birdies in a four-hole span from the fifth. Woods drained an 11-footer for
birdie on 14, then kicked in a three-foot birdie putt on 16 to get within one
of the lead.
At the 17th, Woods' 20-foot birdie effort slid by the right edge. Woods
dropped his approach within seven feet at the last, but his birdie putt missed
the hole left.
"I just misread that one," said Woods of his putt at the 18th. "That's the
way it goes. I hit the ball well all week and to putt as poorly as I did all
week and still have a chance on the last hole, says something about my ball-
striking. Unfortunately I didn't make enough putts on these greens all week."
So it came down to Slocum and Stricker at the last. Both players found fairway
bunkers off the tee. Slocum pitched his down the fairway to 65 yards. Stricker
tried to go for the green, but hit the lip of the bunker.
Stricker's ball stopped in the fairway 70 yards from the green. He played his
third to 10 feet, then watched Slocum hit his third to 21 feet.
Slocum, who had won the 2004 Chrysler Classic of Tucson and 2005 Southern Farm
Bureau Classic, drained the par-saving putt to force Stricker's hand.
Stricker, like Woods, missed on the left edge to give Slocum his third PGA
"I knew par would probably be a good score [on 18]. Obviously, when I hit the
drive I was a little concerned," admitted Slocum. "I putted beautifully all
week so if I just gave myself a chance, I felt like I can make one.
"That one goes in from 20, 25 feet. It was beautiful."
Fredrik Jacobson (71) and Nick Watney (67) shared sixth place at seven-under-
par 277. Webb Simpson took eighth at minus-six after closing with a 72.
K.J. Choi, former British Open champion Ben Curtis, George McNeill and Matt
Bettencourt were among those knocked out of the FedEx Cup playoffs as only the
top-100 on the points list moved on to next week's Deutsche Bank Championship.
08/30 19:21:55 ET