FARMINGDALE, N.Y. — Nick Watney salvaged a dismal season Sunday with a victory at the Barclays that could not have come at a better time.
Watney turned a two-shot deficit against Sergio Garcia into a three-shot lead in a decisive four-hole stretch around the turn at Bethpage Black. Watney made a 10-foot birdie putt on the last hole for 2-under 69 to capture the opening playoff event for the FedEx Cup. He wound up winning by three shots over Brandt Snedeker, who birdied the last hole for 70. Garcia made bogey on the 18th for 75.
The win means Watney goes to No. 1 in the FedEx Cup standings and is assured a shot at the $10 million prize at the Tour Championship next month. The top 100 players advance to the Deutsche Bank for the second of four playoff events. Perhaps more important, it could be a step toward the Ryder Cup.
"It's been not quite the year I wanted," said Watney, who finished at 10-under 278. "But this really makes it all forgotten."
Winning against one of the strongest fields of the year at least puts him in the conversation to be one of four captain's picks for the Sept. 28-30 matches at Medinah. Davis Love III will announce his choices after next week's playoff event outside Boston.
"I'm thinking much more now than I was coming in," Watney said.
Tiger Woods, six shots behind to start the day, imploded on the back nine with a double bogey on the 12th, a bogey on the par-5 13th, and a tee shot on the par-3 14th that sailed over the green. He closed with 76 and tied for 38th, then made a beeline for the parking lot without stopping for interviews.
Local Victorious: St. Petersburg native and Gulf High graduate Darron Stiles won the News Sentinel Open for his fifth career Web.com Tour title, closing with 4-under 67 for a one-stroke victory in Knoxville, Tenn. Stiles, 39, finished at 18-under 266 and earned $90,000 to jump from 30th to eighth on the money list ($200,911). The final top 25 earn 2013 PGA Tour cards. "This is the springboard for the rest of the year," said Stiles, the tour's career money leader.
Champions: Jay Don Blake won the Boeing Classic in Snoqualmie, Wash., for his third Champions title, beating Mark O'Meara with a birdie on the second hole of a playoff. Blake tapped in for birdie after O'Meara's 15-foot birdie attempt missed. Blake and O'Meara had matching 4-under 68s that left them tied at 10-under 206.
Ko, 15, sets LPGA mark for youngest winner
COQUITLAM, British Columbia — Lydia Ko won the Canadian Women's Open on Sunday at age 15 to become the youngest winner in LPGA tour history and only the fifth amateur champion. She broke the mark of 16 set by Lexi Thompson in September and is the first amateur winner since JoAnne Carner in 1969. Ko shot 5-under 67 to win by three.
"To break another record, or being in the history — it's amazing, and it's always awesome to be able to play with the pros," said Ko, who finished at 13-under 275 at the Vancouver Golf Club. In January, Ko won the New South Wales Open at 14 to become the youngest player to win a pro tour event, a mark broken in June by 14-year-old Brooke Henderson. Ko also won the U.S. Women's Amateur two weeks ago in Cleveland.
"The pressure she was handling is really amazing," said Inbee Park, who shot 69 to finish second. Defending champion Brittany Lincicome of Seminole was tied for 60th (6 over) after her final-round 79, while Tampa's Cindy LaCrosse tied for 41st (73, 2 over) and Tampa's Kristy McPherson was 72nd (78, 11 over).