Garcia, van Rooyen make top 30 for Tour Championship berths

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Sergio Garcia, of Spain, reacts after putting on the fourth green during the final round of the BMW Championship golf tournament, Sunday, Aug. 29, 2021, at Caves Valley Golf Club in Owings Mills, Md. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

OWINGS MILLS, Md. – Sergio Garcia's chances of winning the BMW Championship took a major dip when he needed three shots to get out of a bunker on the fifth hole.

Down the stretch, the main question was whether he'd finish in the top 30 of the FedEx Cup standings — and qualify for the Tour Championship.

Garcia did manage that, and so did Erik van Rooyen in a pressure-filled final round at Caves Valley on Sunday. Patrick Reed also qualified despite missing both playoff tournaments.

K.H. Lee, Charley Hoffman and Alex Noren weren't so fortunate, finishing in the first three slots outside the top 30. Lee and Noren both bogeyed the final hole.

Patrick Cantlay won the tournament in a pulsating six-hole playoff with Bryson DeChambeau. Garcia finished seven strokes back, but he'll make his first trip to the Tour Championship since 2017. He was 44th in FedEx Cup points entering this event, but he tied for sixth after shooting a 3-under 69 on Sunday.

“Obviously, after last week I put myself in a difficult spot, but showed a lot of guts this week,” Garcia said. “Played some great golf. To come back after what happened on 5 and not give up and keep at it and play as hard as I did those last three holes — the two up-and-downs I made on 16 and 18, they were very nice.”

Garcia made an eagle and two birdies in the first four holes of the final round. Then came his problems in the bunker on No. 5.

“I just wanted to keep going. I had such a good start. I didn’t want to hit it 10 to 12 feet by," he said. “I wanted to give myself another birdie and kind of keep at it, and it came out just a little bit too soft. Just hit the lip and came back. Then the next one I hit it and there was a pebble, and the ball just didn’t come out.”

Garcia's double bogey on No. 5 was the only one anyone made all week on that short par 4. The rest of his round was a roller coaster — three birdies and two bogeys on the back nine — but he did enough.

Van Rooyen closed with a 65 to finish fifth — his third top-10 showing in his last four events. He was 139th in the FedEx Cup standings entering the Barracuda earlier this month. He won that tournament, made the playoffs and then finished seventh in the Northern Trust.

Van Rooyen said he needed a confidence boost going into the Barracuda.

“Now it’s almost completely flipped,” he said. “I’m absolutely cruising and I’m playing some of the best golf I’ve ever played consistently.”

He was still 45th in the standings entering this week, but now he's headed to the Tour Championship at East Lake.

“Obviously it’s my first full year on the PGA Tour, and it was a goal of mine to get there,” said van Rooyen, a 31-year-old from South Africa. “Like we just said, six weeks ago or so I wasn’t even sniffing it. Just really proud of myself.”

Lee, van Rooyen's playing partner, would have made the top 30 with a par on the par-4 18th, but he sent his approach well to the right and had to play his third shot from near the grandstand.

“I’m sad for him because he battled really well that back nine,” van Rooyen said. “That’ll sting, and I know what that feels like. But he’s a phenomenal player. He’ll be okay."

Reed has been recovering from bilateral pneumonia. He also withdrew from the Northern Trust with an ankle injury.

Max Homa came into this tournament in 30th place but finished near the bottom of the field to fall out of the Tour Championship. Hoffman was 29th in the standings coming in, but he finished tied for 38th in this event, which wasn't good enough.