Paul Casey added another disppointment to his recent tribulations as he followed Ryder Cup rejection by letting slip a three-shot lead to squander the chance of a second victory in the United States last night.
Three clear after a superb opening 12 holes in the final round of the BMW Championship at Cog Hill, Casey bogeyed the next three to fall into a tie with American Dustin Johnson. And Johnson then struck the decisive blow, pitching to two feet on the 17th. A closing par gave the 26-year-old, one of Corey Pavin's five debutants at Celtic Manor next month, the third of the FedEx Cup play-off series with a matching 69 and nine under aggregate of 275.
Casey insists that Colin Montgomerie's decision not to give him a wild card despite him being ninth in the world at the time is "done and dusted." Letting his clubs do the talking was much the best response, of course, and everything was going so well when he birdied the second, sixth, eighth, 11th and 12th after resuming in fifth place. They took him from two behind to three in front, but he was in the rough on the next, bunkered at the 14th and had to take a penalty drive down the long 15th after pulling his drive into the trees. All three errors led to bogeys and while he steadied for a fourth consecutive 69 it was not enough. However, Casey progresses to the Tour Championship in Atlanta – final leg of the series – in fifth spot in the overall standings knowing that if he wins there he will also take the £6.5m jackpot.
Johnson's victory eased the pain of blowing the US Open with a closing 82 in June and then losing the US PGA in controversial circumstances when he incurred a two-stroke penalty for grounding his club in what was deemed a bunker on the final hole last hole.
For the second day running Casey played with compatriot Ian Poulter, whose victory over him at the Accenture Match Play in February cost him an automatic spot on Europe's side.
Poulter was in the running for the title himself until he went out of bounds on the long 11th and ran up a triple-bogey eight. Coming home in 40 for a 75 not only dropped him to 13th, but cost him a place in the Tour Championship.
Also playing together were Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson – and Mickelson won their duel with a 67 to 70 to finish joint eighth. While that was not enough for Mickelson to replace Woods at the head of the world rankings he was the one progressing to East Lake in a fortnight's time.
Only the leading 30 on the points standings advance and Woods, without a top three finish all year and 15th this time, came 42nd in the standings.
A hat-trick of bogeys in the middle of the back nine, meanwhile, also ended Rory McIlroy's interest in the play-offs. The 21-year-old Ulsterman shot 69, but came 37th in the tournament and 36th in the play-offs. Luke Donald, a runner-up last Monday, finished alongside McIlroy with a 77 – 42 of them on the back nine – and slips to seventh in the points race, while Justin Rose had a 74 for 21st place.
Germany's Martin Kaymer lived up to his own hype with a four-shot win in the KLM Open at Hilversum in the Netherlands yesterday – the fifth victory in a row by a member of Europe's Ryder Cup team.
"I think I am ready to win again," the world No 6 had said on the eve of his return to action after three weeks off celebrating his first major title at the USPGA championship.
The 25-year-old Kaymer's second successive victory takes him more than £415,000 clear of Northern Ireland's Graeme McDowell – Europe's other current major champion – at the top of the European Tour money list.