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Horschel cruises Tour Championship, FedExCup titles

Atlanta, GA ( - Billy Horschel birdied the par-5 15th to take the lead for good, and he cruised home to win the Tour Championship on Sunday.

Horschel closed with a 2-under 68 to win by three strokes at East Lake. He finished at 11-under-par 269. Horschel also won the FedExCup, and in the process became the lowest ranked player entering the playoffs to win the FedExCup. He started the playoffs ranked 69th on the points list.

After missing the cut at The Barclays, Horschel finished second at the Deutsche Bank. He needed a birdie at the last at the TPC Boston to force a playoff, or an eagle to win, but he dumped his approach in a hazard and ended two back.

"I remember flying home and talking to my wife, and she was like 'you're probably waiting until the seasons over. You know, start a new season, just because it hasn't been a great year.' I sort of was. I was looking towards the fall," Horschel admitted.

"At the same time, my game was in the right shape. I knew I just needed to get out of my own way. I needed to allow my golf game to show, and it showed the last three weeks."

Horschel followed with a 2-stroke win last week at the BMW Championship. In the last three events, Horschel has posted 12 consecutive rounds in the 60s.

"I've got one of the best teachers in the world, in Todd Anderson. He's won the FedExCup before with Brandt Snedeker, but he gave me a little putting tip at Deutsche Bank, and my speed became better," Horschel stated. "I made two big putts at Deutsche Bank and to finish the round with two big putts, I knew we may have found something here. It was off the race from there."

Former FedExCup and Tour Championship winner Jim Furyk closed with a 1-under 69 to grab a share of second place at minus-8. He was joined there by world No. 1 Rory McIlroy. The Open Champion and PGA Championship winner stumbled to a 1-over 71 in the final round.

Chris Kirk, who led the FedExCup points list entering the week, carded a 2- under 68. He was joined in fourth place by Justin Rose and Jason Day, who both shot 1-under 69 in the final round. Kirk ended second on the FedExCup points list behind Horschel.

Ryan Palmer (69) ended alone in seventh at 6-under-par 274. Rickie Fowler (71) took eighth at minus-5.

Horschel and McIlroy were tied for the lead entering the final round. After three pars in a row, both players birdied the par-4 fourth. Horschel made it two in a row as he poured in a 19-footer for birdie at No. 5.

McIlroy found water off the tee at the sixth and that led to a double-bogey, which dropped him three off the lead. A bogey at the ninth left McIlroy four off the pace.

Horschel followed his birdies with four pars in a row from the sixth. He made a mess of the 10th and that led to a bogey, which dropped him to 10-under.

As Horschel parred four in a row from the 11th, Furyk birdied the par-5 15th to move to minus-10, which gave him a piece of the lead. Furyk parred the 16th, then bogeyed the last two holes to end three back.

"I got off to a fast start with birdies at two and three, then almost knocked one in on four. I kind of mellowed through the middle of the round, then started hitting good shots. I couldn't get a putt to drop on 14 and almost chipped in for eagle on 15," Furyk said. "I felt like I played well though."

Horschel reclaimed the lead for good with a 5-foot birdie putt on the 15th. After driving into the trees on 16, Horschel chipped out before dropping his third 31 feet from the hole.

Not to worry. Horschel poured in his lengthy par putt to maintain his lead. Horschel 2-putted for par on the final two holes to seal the win.

McIlroy poured in three consecutive birdies from the 15th to jump back to minus-8 and finish tied for second.

"It did getaway from me. I just think it was a week to far, in a way. Just was making mistakes out there that I don't normally make. That doesn't take anything away from Billy though. He played the best golf this week," stated McIlroy, who admitted being tired after playing for the seventh time in eight weeks.

NOTES: Horschel earned $1.44 million for the victory ... Horschel joined McIlroy and Tiger Woods as the only three players since 2009 to win back-to- back events, and Horschel became the fifth player to win two straight playoff events ... Snedeker was 19th entering the FedExCup in 2012, and he had been the lowest ranked player to win the FedExCup prior to Horschel ... This was the final official event of the 2013-14 season ... The Ryder Cup is in two weeks, then the 2014-15 season begins October 9th with the Open.

09/14 19:50:54 ET