Jason Dufner took over the FedExCup lead last week with
his second victory of the season.
up, down? |
By Chris Dunham, PGATOUR.COM
Jason Dufner knows the race
for the FedExCup is more marathon than sprint. But that
doesn’t mean a good mid-year surge can’t be the
difference between success and an early exit in the Playoffs.
“Being No. 1 is a great position to be in,” Dufner said
following his victory at Sunday’s HP Byron Nelson
Championship. “But we're maybe a little more than halfway
through, so we have a long haul on that.” Dufner’s
right. The TOUR is 22 events into a 37-event Regular Season that
leads to up to the four-week FedExCup Playoffs. He is certainly in
a favorable position, however. Only one player in the five-year
history of the FedExCup has led at this point in the season and
failed to qualify for the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola and an
opportunity to win the FedExCup. That was Tiger Woods, who
didn’t make another start in 2008 after winning the U.S.
Open. The FedExCup leader’s work isn’t done (he has
1,435 points and it took nearly 1,600 to qualify for last
year’s TOUR Championship), but he’s currently in the
driver’s seat for golf’s richest prize. With two wins
in his last three starts, Dufner’s hot streak should put him
in great position for Aug. 23 when the Playoffs get under way.
David Toms went on a Dufner-esque run about
this time last year. After coming up just short at THE PLAYERS,
losing in a playoff to K.J. Choi, Toms made his way to Colonial and
opened with twin 62s to vault him into the winner’s circle
for the first time since 2006. Toms, before THE PLAYERS last year,
was No. 56 in the FedExCup ranks. He left Colonial at No. 4 and
hung around the top 10 all the way into the Playoffs where he
finished No. 20 overall -- the second best finish of his career.
A FedExCup lead is rarely safe and Dufner’s
advantage is no different. With five other members of the FedExCup
top 10 (No. 2 Hunter Mahan, No. 6 Matt Kuchar, No. 7 Carl
Pettersson, No. 8 Johnson Wagner and No. 9 Rickie Fowler) in the
field, as well as No. 12 Kyle Stanley, there are six players
looking to knock Dufner out of the top spot at Colonial.