By DOUG FERGUSON
It turns out that Jon Rahm’s birdie on the last hole of the Tour Championship won him a trophy.
Rahm took home the points-based PGA of America Player of the Year award, and it was that birdie putt on the 18th hole at East Lake that made the difference.
Rahm finished with 75 points, while Bryson DeChambeau finished second with 70 points.
Rahm received 30 points for his US Open title this summer, as well as 20 points for topping the PGA Tour earnings list and 20 points for winning the Vardon Trophy for the lowest adjusted score average.
And while he was a finalist behind Patrick Cantlay in the Tour Championship, the PGA of America recognizes the real score at East Lake. Cantlay started off with a two-stroke lead at 10-below par because he was the No. 1 seed. Rahm started four strokes behind as the No. 4 seed.
For the week, Rahm and Kevin Na finished 14 under 266. That means they shared the 10 points awarded for a regular victory on the PGA Tour.
DeChambeau had 30 points for his US Open last September, 10 points for his win at Bay Hill, 14 points for his fourth average and 16 points for his third place on the earnings list.
On the 18th par 5 of the Championship Tour, Rahm hit a 5 iron that had just crossed the back of the green. He needed to participate to have a chance to force a playoff against Cantlay, who hit the iron 6 to 12 feet. Rahm’s chip narrowly missed, leaving a short birdie putt.
This put him to tie Na at 14 under, giving him the five points that put him on top of points for the PGA of America award.
This is a vote of the members. The ballot came out on Tuesday and included Rahm, Cantlay, DeChambeau, Collin Morikawa and Harris English.
Justin Thomas won the PGA of America award last year, while Dustin Johnson was named PGA Tour Player of the Year.
Rahm’s adjusted scoring average was 69.3. Johnson was second at 69.62.
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