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February 15 2012

11:36 PM

FedExCup update: Kings of efficiency

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Reigning PGA TOUR Player of the Year Luke Donald makes his 2012 season debut this week.
FEDEXCUP: Standings | Movers | Weekly leaders | 2012 Winners | More By Chris Dunham, PGATOUR.COM Four of the TOUR’s biggest international stars -- Luke Donald, Jason Day, Adam Scott and Sergio Garcia -- will be making their 2012 PGA TOUR season debuts this week at Riviera. In making their debuts at the season's seventh event, the quartet has spotted ground to much of the field in the FedExCup race. Leader Kyle Stanley checks in with 846 points this week, and 176 professionals have made a mark in the FedExCup standings already in 2012. That’s not to say the late-starters are in bad shape, just that they are starting from behind. Donald had little trouble with this last year. After starting his season with a missed cut at Riviera, the Englishmen racked up eight consecutive top-10 finishes en route to a third-place finish in the PGA TOUR Playoffs for the FedExCup. There’s hope for these players because they have histories of performing when they need to. Each of the four players listed above ranked inside the top 30 in FedExCup points per Regular Season start among players making 10 or more starts in the 2011 Regular Season. Two ranked inside the top five:
2011 Points per Regular Season Event
Rank Player Points per
event
Total
points
Events
1 Luke Donald 132.5 1855.7 14
2 Steve Stricker 124.4 1865.5 15
3 Nick Watney 112.1 1905.9 17
4 Adam Scott 95.1 1332.0 14
5 Phil Mickelson 94.2 1601.2 17
Jason Day checked in at No. 11 with 76.9 points per his 17 starts while Sergio Garcia was 29th with 50.9 points per his 13 starts. Donald, Scott and Day each made it all the way to the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola, giving them a chance to claim the FedExCup up to the very end last season. This shows that those who make a limited number of TOUR starts can still compete for the FedExCup. They just need to make the most of their opportunities. WINNERS' REUNION: Aaron Baddeley, coming off a fourth-place finish at Pebble Beach will be defending his title this week, but eight others with victories at Riviera will also be teeing it up. Two of those players -- Fred Couple and Phil Mickelson -- have won the event multiple times. Mickelson, who won last week to move to No. 5 in the FedExCup standings, claimed the Northern Trust Open title in 2008 and 2009. Another victory this week would likely land Mickelson atop the FedExCup standings for the first time since 2009. Charles Howell III (2007), Rory Sabbatini (2006), Scott (2005), Robert Allenby (2001), Ernie Els (1999) and Billy Mayfair (1998) also boast victories at this event. Besides Mickelson, the only past champion playing this week inside the FedExCup top 20 is Howell, who checks in at No. 17. With the powers making their season debuts, and the number of players who have had success at Riviera, we could be looking at a major standings shakeup this week at the Northern Trust Open.
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