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April 20 2011

7:15 PM

FedExCup Update: The Heritage

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Reigning FedExCup champion Jim Furyk has another chance to get on track this week.

FEDEXCUP: Complete Standings | Weekly Leaders | FedExCup 101 | More FedExCup notes

By Chris Dunham, PGATOUR.COM Editorial Coordinator It's not easy being No. 1. Or trying to repeat as a No. 1 for that matter. Ernie Els, who led the FedExCup race for the majority of last season and took the No. 1 ranking into the PGA TOUR Playoffs for the FedExCup checks in this week at 85th in the standings. In the previous four years of the FedExCup competiton, Els had only been outside the top 50 after 10 weeks just once. As we enter week 16, Els has spent the last dozen weeks outside the top 50. Things have only been slightly better for defending FedExCup champion Jim Furyk, who currently sits at No. 51 in the standings. Furyk opened the year with a top-10 finish at Kapalua but has just one since. Struggles haven't been limited to just Furyk and Els, though. Of last year's final top 10, just one (Luke Donald) currently cracks the top 10 in the standings. THERE’S GOOD NEWS: Harbour Town Golf Links, site of The Heritage, is a good venue for the two former No. 1s. Furyk won this event last year while Els has seven top-10 finishes in 11 starts at The Heritage. It would not be surprising either or both players started an upward trend this week. BEST NEW ARRIVAL: Rich Beem made his first cut of 2011 and finished tied for 15th in Texas to make his debut in the standings at No. 184. Beem, who won the PGA Championship in 2002, had missed nine consecutive cuts dating back to last October. BIGGEST MOVERS: TOUR rookie Kevin Chappell had made four cuts in eight starts prior to last week’s Valero Texas Open, but never finished higher than a tie for 42nd. His tie for second in Texas, however, vaulted him 117 spots from 180th to 63rd. Champion Brendan Steele moved up 96 spots (from 115th to 96th) while Cameron Tringale (T5) made a 55-spot jump from 146th to 91st. NOTABLE DROPS: Seven players dropped out of the top 125 in the standings last week, but five of them -- Richard S. Johnson, Boo Weekley, Lucas Glover, Heath Slocum and Chris DiMarco -- have an opportunity to move back up this week at The Heritage. MORE ON LAST WEEK’S WINNER: Brendan Steele’s first career top-10 finish on TOUR was a victory at the Valero Texas Open which allowed him to move to No. 19 in the FedExCup standings and from No. 231 to No. 132 in the Official World Golf Ranking. Steele, who is currently 105th on TOUR in putting average, tied for the second fewest putts in the field at TPC San Antonio. He was seventh in driving accuracy and 10th in driving average en route to his victory.
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