- Associated Press - Sunday, September 18, 2011

LEMONT, ILL. (AP) - Geoff Ogilvy was the big winner at the BMW Championships.

Not THE winner, mind you, that was Justin Rose. By finishing third, however, Ogilvy not only played his way into next week’s Tour Championship, he locked up a spot for the Presidents Cup in his home town of Melbourne, Australia.

“It’s nice. I mean, you come here with the hopes of playing well enough to do that,” Ogilvy said Sunday. “All in all, quite satisfied, really.”

He should be. After all the projections and number crunching and arrows pointing this way and that, only three players _ Rose, runner-up John Senden and Ogilvy _ moved into the top 30 of the FedEx Cup standings to earn spots at East Lake, where a victory could be worth $10 million.

That’s a lot of money, even for professional athletes. Which might explain why, after finding he was on the wrong side of the cutoff, Camilo Villegas pounded a table so hard it shook the computer sitting on top of it.

In the race for the U.S. Presidents Cup team, the only change in the standings was the order, with Jim Furyk, David Toms and Hunter Mahan all qualifying.

Bill Haas, whose father, Jay, is the team’s assistant captain, cost himself an automatic spot with a horrid back nine. Needing to shoot 75 or better, Bill Haas played his last seven holes in 6 over and finished with a 78.

“I was on the phone with Jay Haas a lot today and hoping for the best for Billy,” U.S. captain Fred Couples said in a teleconference Sunday night. “It’s a struggle. I’ve been on these places where you want to make these teams so bad that you actually forget you’re trying to win a golf tournament and I think that’s what Bill was foremost trying to do today and let everything take care of itself.”

Couples already has said he will use one of his picks on Tiger Woods. Couples will announce his final pick after the Tour Championship, with the younger Haas, Brandt Snedeker and Keegan Bradley among the favorites.

“There’s Presidents Cup stories, FedExCup stories, and just this golf tournament … so there’s stories everywhere,” said Martin Laird, who found himself outside looking in after finishing 31st in the FedEx standings. “It just makes for a great week, and that’s what the playoffs are all about.”

Ogilvy has had a rough year, missing three months with a shoulder injury and then getting a parasite that affected his stomach. He needed a birdie on his last hole at the TPC Boston just to squeak into the top 70 and get to Cog Hill; he came in 69th. As if that wasn’t pressure enough, the 2006 U.S. Open champion was clinging to the last spot in the international Presidents Cup standings.

Play well, and he’d secure his spot on the team. Finish outside the top 25, and he could slip behind 2010 British Open champion Louis Oosthuizen, who didn’t qualify for the playoffs.

“Obviously I was trying really hard to get on the Presidents Cup team. That was there,” said Ogilvy, who has a house off a fairway at Royal Melbourne. “But I don’t think it would have been beneficial to my golf to dwell on that too much. So I was just trying to go around with it’s a win-win situation for me.

“I get an extra week (to play in Atlanta), or I get an extra week at home.”

And as it turns out, Ogilvy’s status was never really in jeopardy. He was the only player to shoot in the 60s all four rounds, and jumped all the way up to 24th in the FedEx Cup standings.

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