|-27 V Hovland (Nor); -22 X Schauffele (US); -16 W Clark (US); -14 R McIlroy (NI)|
|Selected: -11 T Fleetwood (Eng), S Scheffler (US); -10 M Fitzpatrick (Eng); -8 T Hatton (Eng); -7 J Rahm (Spa)|
Norway’s Viktor Hovland hit a superb bogey-free seven-under-par 63 to win the Tour Championship and FedEx Cup title at East Lake in Atlanta.
Hovland led by six going into Sunday’s final round but was pressed by Xander Schauffele, who shot a 62 and closed to within three strokes with six to play.
However, Hovland birdied the final three holes to win by five strokes on 27 under and collect $18m (£14.1m).
“It’s pretty surreal to be standing here right now,” he said.
“The game plan before starting was middle of the green, make a lot of pars and make Xander get after it, which he did early so I had to change my game plan a little bit.”
Hovland and Schauffele had equally fast starts, both picking up four birdies in their opening six holes after a near two-hour delay because of lightning and heavy rain.
The American holed further birdie putts on the eighth, 11th and 12th holes to reduce the deficit to three as Hovland missed chances of his own but also holed some crucial par putts.
It looked like the world number five’s advantage may be further reduced on the 14th after he hit a poor chip but he sensationally holed a 23-foot putt to save par.
“That was just huge for momentum because two shots with four holes to go is a lot different from three shots,” he said.
“And after that I really relaxed.”
His fifth birdie of the day came on the 16th, to end a run of nine pars, and he added two more on the 17th and 18th to seal his sixth PGA Tour victory and the biggest win of his career in the season-ending tournament.
Schauffele also had a bogey-free round as he finished on 22 under par to claim the $6.5m runner-up prize from the $75m bonus pot. US Open champion Wyndham Clark finished third on 16 under.
World number one Scottie Scheffler, who started the week two shots ahead of Hovland on 10 under par as leader of the FedEx Cup standings, had a disappointing week and closed with a level-par 70 to finish on 11 under.
McIlroy’s back ‘close to 100%’
Three-time champion Rory McIlroy, who had been battling a back injury all week, closed with a five-under 65 to finish fourth on 14 under par.
“As the week went on it got looser and [on Sunday] it was pretty close to 100%,” the Northern Irishman said on Sky Sports.
“I wish I had felt like this the rest of the week but even without a bad back I’m not sure I’d have been able to hang with the two guys in front.”
The world number two picked up the injury at the start of week while exercising, leading to initial concern about his fitness for next month’s Ryder Cup.
However, McIlroy seemed unconcerned, adding: “My game is where it needs to be and as long as I stay healthy for the next few weeks I’m excited to get back to Europe, play in Ireland and at Wentworth [in September’s BMW PGA Championship] and ultimately get my game in shape for the Ryder Cup.
“It will be nice to all get together, get some early team dinners before the week in Rome and feel like that team chemistry is starting already.
“There’s still a few weeks to go, but it’s the next big thing in all of our calendars.”
The US team will be finalised on Tuesday when captain Zach Johnson selects his six wildcard picks to add to the six players who have already qualified.
Europe’s qualification process finishes after this week’s European Masters in Switzerland, with Luke Donald naming his six captain’s picks on Monday, 4 September.
The Ryder Cup takes place at the Marco Simone Golf Club, near Rome, from 29 September to 1 October.