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.
Chris Kirk's Viking Classic win makes him the fifth rookie to win on the PGA TOUR this year, joining the group of Jhonnatan Vegas, Charl Schwartzel, Brendan Steele and Keegan Bradley.
Kirk's final-round 66 at Annandale included two late birdies on No. 15 and 17 that helped him move a shot past Tom Pernice Jr. and George McNeill, who finished at 21 under.
Kirk earned his TOUR card by finishing second on the Nationwide Tour money list last year. He had the lead entering Round 4, but did not pull away from the field until the final hole. Pernice and McNeill shot 67 and 68 respectively, and held the lead or a share of the lead for a majority of the back nine.
Kirk approached Annandale's finishing par-5 with a one shot lead and played it in winner's fashion -- fairway, layup, green and two putts.
It was a stellar performance that many could see coming from the former University of Georgia standout. Kirk finished second to Phil Mickelson at the Shell Houston Open in April. He also fired a third-round 63 at the AT&T National two weeks ago that eventually led to a tie for eighth.
Kirk earned 250 FedExCup points with the win, and is now No. 25 in the FedExCup Standings.
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."
The second round of the Viking Classic has been delayed due to inclement weather. No word yet on when play will resume.
George McNeill currently leads at 12 under for the tournament. He’s 7 under on his second round through 13 holes.
Blake Adams has the best round going thus far; he’s 10 under through 17 holes at the par-72 Annandale Golf Club.
Only a handful of players have managed to complete their second rounds.
First-round co-leaders Tim Petrovic, John Mallinger and Brendon de Jonge have yet to tee off.
George McNeill became the fourth player to withdraw from the John Deere Classic on Thursday and the second to do so following his round.
McNeill carded a 5-over 76 before pulling out. He joins Scott Verplank, who pulled out after a 78, as well as David Toms and Robert Garrigus, both of whom withdrew after nine holes.
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM Site Producer
After finishing 138th on the money list in 2010, George McNeill has only conditional status on the PGA TOUR this year. A big week here could go a long way toward changing that.
McNeill, who tied for fifth early this season in Puerto Rico, shot a 7-under 65 Saturday -- the low round of the day so far -- to move to 10 under for the week and within reach of the lead.
How good was McNeill Saturday? Over his last 12 holes, he made seven birdies. His best shot of the day? How about driving the 377-yard par-4 13th, where he two-putted from 38 feet for birdie.
Given his status, McNeill came into this week with just four starts. If he continues to play this well, he’ll certainly get a lot more.
In keeping with the trend in Round 2, George McNeill has slowed down on the front nine. The 2007 winner here bogeyed the third holes to drop back to 5 under on the day and 11 under for the week, one shot behind Ryuji Imada.
George McNeill, who won this event in 2007 and finished second last year, just eagled the Kodak Challenge hole (the par-5 16th) to get to 6 under on the day after seven holes. The eagle pushes him to 12 under for the week and into a tie for the lead with Ryugi Imada.
McNeill has a hard time explaining why he's so tough at TPC Summerlin. In nine career rounds here, he's broken 70 every time.
"I have no idea. I think I say the same thing every year because I get the same question every year," McNeill said. "I don't know why. Must have been just from the first year when I played here and I won, obviously I've had success here. I feel comfortable going around this golf course.
"I know where to hit it and where not to hit it. Whether the other guys have figured it out or not, I don't know. But it seems to me that I've somewhat figured that out."