Beginning the day tied for the lead, Chappell claimed the outright advantage with an opening-hole gain and drained a 30-footer at the third to join Johnson in posting a birdie-three. Neither seemed like a problem until he played the wrong shot, clipped the tree and wound up with a double bogey Saturday in the Tour Championship. And though he birdied the 17th, a par on No. 18 - one of the easiest holes at East Lake - has to be seen as a disappointment.
There certainly wasn't a shortage of drama as the 2015-16 PGA Tour season came to end today at the Tour Championship.
Rory McIlroy was the one player in the top six in the Tour Championship entering Sunday's final round who had a reasonable chance of denying Johnson the $10 million prize for winning the FedExCup points title, and the four-time major champion did just that with some spectacular late shot-making.
"Of all the days to just kind of focus and take it one shot at a time and play a round of golf, tomorrow's the day", he said. "We played a lot of college golf together", Johnson said. If you play ideal golf, like you hit the fairway, you hit the green, it's in pristine shape, you can shoot low scores, reasonable scores, but you can't miss it here.
Rory McIlroy - displaying wizardry and bravery - punched all the right numbers on the cash register as he spectacularly won the Tour Championship in a three-way play-off with Americans Ryan Moore and Kevin Chappell to scoop a $11.5 million payday in also claiming the FedEx Cup title. With his second win of the playoffs, backing up a Deutsche Bank Championship title, McIlroy is the champion of the 2015-16 PGA Tour season. "It would just be great to try to win the Tour Championship, and if the chips fall my way, then so be it".
South African Charl Schwartzel posted consecutive eagles, the second from 140 yards out at the par-four seventh, in carding 66 to vault within five shots of the lead. His birdie on the 72nd hole brought him to 12-under for the tournament and, more importantly, into a tie for the lead. He put that in the bunker, blasted out to 6 feet and missed the bogey putt.
Chappell, meanwhile, was a model of consistency, and patience, with two birdies in his two-under 68 that left him level with Johnson eight-under par 202.
Johnson has won three times this season, including the U.S. Open, while Chappell is still trying to win for the first time.
"I've got a lot of control with my ball", he said.
McIlroy revealed that when leader Johnson continued his slide with a double bogey on the 12th, it became the catalyst for the win. This year the Ryder Cup will be held at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, Minnesota.
Moore had an 8-foot birdie putt on the 72nd hole to win and it caught the lip and spun out.
The putter cooled off, however, and Chappell stayed in range. Had either Moore or Chappell won, Johnson would have taken the FedEx Cup and the $10 million despite losing his three-day lead at the Tour Championship with a 3-over 73 on Sunday at East Lake.
The 17th hole changed everything.
"I knew DJ (Johnson) was a few shots ahead of me and if there's anyone I'm looking at this week, he's the guy", said the former world number one. "But it is what it is".
The two went back, played the 18th hole again and traded pars.