PARAMUS, N.J. – About the only thing that went wrong for Hunter Mahan at The Barclays was when the trophy broke. All he had to show for one of the biggest victories of his career was a large wreath of roses.
“Am I supposed to put this on, Kentucky Derby style?” he asked.
That would have been fitting. The closing stretch was exactly what he needed Sunday.
Mahan pulled away with three straight birdies, sealing the victory with a 20-foot putt down the slope on the par-5 17th hole. That allowed him a bogey from the trees on the final hole for a 6-under-par 65 and a two-shot victory in the opening FedEx Cup playoff event.
Mahan, 32, had a 14-under 270 total and earned $1.44 million.
Stuart Appleby (65), Cameron Tringale (66) and Jason Day (68) tied for second place.
Kevin Chappell (74), who owns a home in Kirkland, tied for 30th at 4 under.
Mahan has two World Golf Championships titles. Considering the timing, The Barclays felt bigger.
Mahan had gone 48 PGA Tour tournaments and nearly 30 months since his last victory. The only player to never miss a FedEx Cup playoff event, he wanted to keep alive his streak of reaching the Tour Championship every year since the series began in 2007.
And he wanted to state his case for a captain’s pick for the Ryder Cup team.
This performance will be hard for U.S. captain Tom Watson to ignore.
“To get a win in an event like this, and the timing that it was, it feels unbelievable,” Mahan said after his sixth PGA Tour victory. “This game is all about winning. You can have a great year and if you don’t win, it just feels like you missed out on something. So to get a win, and do it in a tournament like this, in this kind of fashion with a 65 on Sunday, feels great.”
On a day when six players had at least a share of the lead, Mahan found a way to make it look like a comfortable round at Ridgewood.
Mahan picked up his trophy by its top and the bottom broke off. That can be replaced. The victory was one he won’t soon forget.
“There’s really never a bad time to play good golf,” Mahan said. “And this is a really, really good time to play good golf.”
The top 100 players in the FedEx Cup standings advance to the second playoff event — the Deutsche Bank Championship, which starts Friday in Norton, Mass.
Those advancing include Ryan Moore (26th) of Puyallup, Chappell (61st) and Michael Putnam (99th) from University Place.
• So Yeon Ryu won the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open in London, Ontario, for the third LPGA Tour victory of her career.
Ryu, 24, closed with a 3-under 69 to finish 72 holes at 23 under. She beat fellow South Korean Na Yeon Choi (67) by two strokes.
Ryu earned $337,500.
• Carlos Ortiz of Mexico won the WinCo Foods Portland Open in North Plains, Ore., for his third Web.com Tour victory of the season, making him fully exempt on the 2014-15 PGA Tour.
Ortiz, 23, closed with an even-par 71 and finished at 14-under 270. He earned $144,000 to increase his Tour-leading total to $515,403.
The top 25 on the Web.com Tour money list earned PGA Tour cards, a group that includes Andrew Putnam (second in earnings) from University Place and Andres Gonzales (11th) of Olympia.
Andrew Putnam is Michael’s brother.