IN POSITION: Two players in the field this week at the RBC Canadian Open have an opportunity to move atop the FedExCup standings with a victory. Luke Donald (currently 6th) and Matt Kuchar (No. 8) are both within striking distance of FedExCup leader Nick Watney.
NEEDING A MOVE: Of the 31 players ranked between 110th and 140th in the FedExCup standings, 20 will be playing this week at Shaughnessy. Spots in the top 125 will be there for the taking with four players ranked between 121st and 125th not playing this week. Stephen Ames, playing in his homeland, 2010 regular season points leader Ernie Els and 126th-ranked Steven Bowditch are among those within 75 points of the top 125 with a chance to move up this week. More on the Playoffs bubble
CROSSING THE LINE: There was just one change to the top 125 last week. George McNeill, who tied for 2nd at the Viking Classic, moved from 132nd to 92nd. Falling back was Zack Miller, who dropped from 124th to 127th.
WHO’S UP, WHO’S DOWN? McNeill’s 40 position leap was the second biggest of the week but 10 spots shy of the 50-position move from Tom Pernice Jr., who went from 212th to 50th after a T2 at Annandale. Anthony Kim moved inside the top 100, to 85th, after a top 10 at the British Open. Camilo Villegas, down seven spots to 114th, is among the players who fell furthest last week. More movers
NEW ARRIVALS: Nine players earned their first FedExCup points of 2011 last week during the dual tournaments at Royal St. George’s and Annandale. Tom Watson posted a T22 finish at the British Open and debuts at 214th in the FedExCup standings while Peter Lonard tied for 9th at the Viking Classic to reach 221st.
A YEAR OF CHANGE: If the season were to end today, two of the 30 players in last year’s TOUR Championship (Paul Casey and Ernie Els) would miss out on the Playoffs altogether. Interestingly, Els and Casey will be playing in the same group during Rounds 1 and 2 this week. A total of 34 of the top 125 in the FedExCup standings were not in the Playoffs a year ago, highlighted by former leader and current No. 7 Mark Wilson, who has won twice in 2011.
MORE ON LAST WEEK’S WINNER: Chris Kirk became the fifth rookie to win on TOUR in 2011 with his victory at the Viking Classic. Kirk, who was the No. 2 graduate on the Nationwide Tour last year, is currently second in the Rookie Rankings behind Masters champion Charl Schwartzel. Kirk has four top 10s on the year including his win and a tie for second behind Phil Mickelson at the Shell Houston Open.
By Zak Kozuchowski, PGATOUR.COM
Smooth greens and soft conditions led to ultra-low scores in Round 3 at Annandale.
For many players, Round 3 was their second round of the day. But the physical challenge of playing 36 holes in mid-summer Mississippi heat was only evident in their sweat-stained shirts, but not their birdie-filled scorecards.
Behind Kirk sits a group of four players at 17 under, which includes George McNeill, Peter Lonard, PGA TOUR rookie Sunghoon Kang and former Viking Classic winner D.J. Trahan.
"The golf course is very vulnerable and the greens are perfect," Trahan said. "It's playing soft so you can attack and the greens are in awesome shape. They are rolling great. Some guys are making a lot of putts tomorrow."
Another PGA TOUR rookie, Jim Renner, carded a 62, which was the low round on Saturday. It vaulted him nearly 40 spots on the leaderboard, a shot behind the group of players at 17 under.
Tomorrow's weather forecast for Annandale calls for scattered thunderstorms and a high of 85 degrees.
"Hopefully it is a somewhat decent day where everyone can go out and play and get it in," Renner said. "That remains to be seen."
After a birdie on No. 16, Sunghoon Kang looked like he might pull away from the field at Annandale. He had eagled two par 5s, and had another par 5 to play, the 532-yard 18th. But Kang backed up with a bogey on the par-4 17th, and then drove his tee shot into the water on No. 18, leading to a par and a third-round 64. He is tied for the lead at 17 under with Chris Kirk, who is 7 under for his round.
Saturday's final group of Hunter Haas, Peter Lonard and Troy Matteson also failed to capitalize on their good position. The trio is stuck in neutral -- a combined 1 under on a day where players are going really low. Haas and Lonard are currently tied for sixth, while Matteson has fallen to all the way to 28th place.
Jim Renner, who began Round 3 in 45th place, has made eight birdies and an eagle for a bogey-free 62. His rounds of 69-69-62 are currently good for third place.
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
Last year, Bill Haas won the Viking Classic. Halfway through this year’s weather-plagued event, it’s Hunter Haas (no relation) who has a share of the top spot after a second-round 64.
With rain and lightning resulting in several delays Friday, the second round didn’t get completed until Saturday.
Weather, however, wasn’t an issue today and Haas, along with co-leader Peter Lonard, took advantage. Case in point: Haas hit every green in regulation.
“The greens are so good here, it's just a matter of getting in position and get the putter rolling,” said Haas, who leads the field in greens in regulation and has just one bogey through 36 holes.
Haas’ group was also put on the group during the round, though it clearly didn’t impact him.
“I birdied the last four on the clock,” Haas said. “Maybe I'll get put on the clock starting the third round.”
Lonard, meanwhile, is just happy to be playing after hip and knee surgery last year.
He also was on his way to this week’s Nationwide event when he got the call that he’d gotten into the Viking Classic. Lonard, who will turn 44 on Sunday, took advantage of the opportunity with a second-round 65.
How will he hold up the rest of the way on what’s already been a very long week?
“I'm pretty old, so I'm not sure,” Lonard said. “I will tell you by the end of the day I suppose.”
Peter Lonard was on his way to Columbus, Ohio to play in Nationwide Tour’s Chiquita Classic when he got the call that he’d made the field at Annandale.
The only problem was he was connecting in Atlanta, so Lonard still had to go to Columbus to get his luggage. He stayed the night and hit some range balls, but his flight the next day missed its connection so instead of Lonard arriving in Mississippi mid-Tuesday morning he didn’t get in until that night.
Lonard did get a look at the back nine Wednesday, but he didn’t even get in a practice round. So naturally he went out and shot a 7-under 65 to grab a share of the lead.
“I made a few mistakes down the front nine,” Lonard said. “But all in all, I played pretty good.”
Lonard has just two top-25s this season, but one of those came in his last start -- a tie for 11th at the Mexico Open presented by Banamex, where only a final-round 73 cost him.
“Mexico was good,” Lonard said. “I had a chance to win in that, and I blew it. I hit probably one bad shot at the wrong time.
“With these rounds I probably feel more comfortable here than I do on the Nationwide because I know all the people here and it's pretty ‑‑ it's the life I've lived for the last 10 years at least. Nationwide is all young kids and all that sort of stuff. A lot of people that you don't know. I probably feel more comfortable here as well. That probably doesn't hurt.”