sport

Mahan banks Barclays crown

Hunter Mahan produced a back nine charge to secure a two-shot victory in The Barclays in New Jersey - the first event of the PGA Tour's four-tournament FedEx Cup finale.

The American, bidding to book a spot on Tom Watson's US Ryder Cup team, came home in 32 to post a winning score of 14-under and land his first PGA Tour win since April 2012.

Stuart Appleby, Cameron Tringale and Jason Day finished in a tie for second while Ernie Els, William McGirt and Matt Kuchar were a further stroke back.

Mahan had started the day a stroke behind Day and Jim Furyk but caught them straight away with a birdie at the very first hole.

He added a birdie at five to reach 10-under but five pars after that saw him stall as a host of players made their moves.

Els, who needed just 23 putts, posted the clubhouse total of 11-under after a 66, but Aussie Appleby came surging past with a run of five birdies in six holes from the turn to reach 12-under.

Appleby dug deep to make three closing pars to set the new mark and it looked set to be matched by Tringale, who had birdied 15, 16 and 17, but the young American, seeking his first PGA Tour win, bogeyed the final hole.

Day and Furyk still had holes in hand but it was Mahan who produced the decisive burst.

After birdies at 11 and 13, he birdied from 11 feet at 15, from three at the 16th after a lovely approach and from 22 feet at 17.

He held a three-shot lead standing on the 18th tee but had to survive a late scare. After a leaked drive to the right, he chose to chip back to the fairway but then tugged his nine-iron third into grass by a greenside bunker.

That brought double bogey into play and a six would have allowed Day to tie with a closing birdie.

However, Mahan rolled in his seven footer to limit the damage to a bogey and that closed the door and sealed his sixth PGA Tour title.

A relieved and delighted Mahan said: "This is a FedEx Cup play-off event, this is where all the best players are and this is where you need to peak your game and play some great golf.

"To do it on Sunday like I did and hit so many great shots and so many big putts near the end feels great."

Furyk, who held the lead by a shot with 10 to play, again failed to get the job done down the stretch and finished in solo eighth - four shots back.