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August 18 2012

11:30 PM

Rd. 3 FedExCup notes from Sedgefield

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Brendan Steele is on the outside looking in but could play his way into the top 125 on Sunday.

Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM

When the New York Rangers beat the New Jersey Devils on their way to capturing the 1994 Stanley Cup, Howie Rose famously belted out Matteau! Matteau! Matteau! Stephane Matteau! and the Rangers have one more hill to climb, baby, and it's Mount Vancouver! The Rangers are headed to the Finals! " Much the same, there’s one more round to go at the Wyndham Championship for those hoping to climb into the FedExCup Playoffs, or at the very least improve their positioning. Here is a look at some projections and tidbits heading into the final round at Sedgefield Country Club.

NO. 1 POSSIBILITY: Jason Dufner is the only player who can catch FedExCup points leader Tiger Woods, and he has a good chance at doing just that. Dufner, who needs to finish no worse than second to supplant Woods, is just two shots off the lead and tied for fourth after a 63 on Saturday. Dufner was spectacular in the third round, making seven birdies, including three over his final four holes, capping the day with a 35-footer on the final hole.

BUBBLE WATCH: Brendan Steele came into the week on the outside looking in at No. 126 on the FedExCup points list. Through the first three rounds, he hasn’t helped himself. Steele shot a 1-over 71 on Saturday, which dropped him 14 spots on the leaderboard. He’s now projected to finish 129th in FedExCup points. A big Sunday could change that, however, and move him inside the top 125. … Rod Pampling, meanwhile, came into the week on the bubble at No. 125, but he’s projected to move up to 118th -- despite a third-round 70 that dropped him 19 spots on the leaderboard. Jhonattan Vegas, who missed the cut, is the only player currently projected to fall out of the top 125 -- though that could change depending what Heath Slocum, who came in 128th and is projected to move to 122nd, does in the final round. … As of now, Heath Slocum is the only player from outside the top 125 projected to move inside it.

NOTABLES WATCH: Justin Leonard needs a fourth-place finish or better to have a chance of moving inside the top 125, and he’s in position to make a run at it. Leonard shot 64 on Saturday, which moved him 25 spots up the leaderboard and into a tie for 10th just two strokes out of fourth place. “Just a little lighter attitude and not just concerned about the score that I shoot or where I'm finishing in tournaments,” Leonard said when asked to explain his recent turnaround. “Just really being able to relax and just go out and play golf. I just want to continue on the things I'm doing and hopefully I can come out and play a good round tomorrow and see if I can get in there next week.” … The two biggest projected jumps would come from Sergio Garcia and Tim Clark. Garcia is leading the tournament and projected to move from 102nd to 34th in points. Clark, who is a shot back of Garcia, is projected to climb from 109th to 59th.

NOTABLES OUTSIDE 125: Y.E. Yang recorded his third sub-par round of the week on Saturday, but it hasn’t been enough to push him into the top 125 -- yet. Yang came into the week 129th in the standings and is currently projected to move up just two spots. … Gary Woodland and John Daly are also on the outside, and they can’t do anything about it after both missed the cut. … Leonard, as mentioned, is also on the wrong side of the number. He came in 157th and is projected at 145th, but he has some control over his destiny depending what he does on Sunday. … Ditto Richard H. Lee, who came in 164th and is projected at 149th. Lee needs a third or better.

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