By petedirenzo
Monday, September 14, 2009

I don't know how it played on TV, but the final round of the BMW was a blast to cover. While Tiger was doing his thing, I was running around Cog Hill tracking the tournament-within-a-tournament, as various players were throwing up on themselves trying to play their way into the Tour Championship. Stewart Cink made sizeable par putts on three of his final four holes and then punched his ticket to Atlanta with a 15-footer for birdie on the ninth, his last hole of the day. Asked how it compared to the back-nine pressure at Turnberry, he said, somewhat amazingly, "Actually, I felt a little bit more nervous coming in here than I did there because there I felt like I had nothing to lose and everything to gain, and here I felt like I had everything to lose."Luke Donald played his final 14 holes in four over par and was a precarious 30th in the projected points standings as he stepped off the golf course. Fearing he might get bumped, his wife Diane said, "I'm going to go home and hide all the sharp objects!" In the end Donald squeaked in. Steve-marino-bmw So, too, did Steve Marino (right), the talented third-year pro who might be the best player on Tour without a victory. He came into the week 26th in points and appeared to have shot himself out of the Tour Championship with a second-round 77 at the BMW. But he rallied with a solid 68-71 on the weekend to finish 25th in the points race. "I just tried to hang in there and overcome the demons," Marino said in his endearingly candid way. This will be Marino's first Tour Championship, and he's overdue for a little exposure. Last fall he was chatting up Ernie Els at a bar when Easy asked, completely seriously, what Marino did for a living. "I said I play the PGA Tour just like you do, Ernie," Marino said on Sunday, recounting the tale. With a laugh, he crowed, "And now I'm about to pass your ass on the money list!" In fact, Marino is $8,118 in arrears of Els, who now has one more reason to play hard at East Lake.Photo: Scott Halleran/Getty Images

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