ATLANTA — Saturday’s first round of the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola, the final event in the FedExCup Playoffs that will determine this year’s FedExCup champion, is in the books. Here’s a look at the key developments and notes concerning the FedExCup:
NO. 1 PROJECTION: Brandt Snedeker, who owns a share of the lead with Justin Rose at 8 under, is currently projected to win the FedExCup. That’s because he came to East Lake ranked fifth in the standings and is guaranteed the $10 million bonus with a TOUR Championship victory.
Rory McIlroy, who started the week ranked first, is now projected No. 2 while Rose, who came in 24th, is third and Tiger Woods is fourth.
HOW TOP FIVE FARED: Any of the top five players in points after the reset can win the FedExCup by winning the TOUR Championship. Here’s a look at their third rounds.
|Player||Score||Thru 54||Pos||Quick review|
|Rory McIlroy||68||5 under||T4||McIlroy has steadily improved in
hitting fairways each day, with 8 on Saturday, and he found
12 greens, as well. But he needs some putts to fall –
McIlroy ranks 11th in strokes-gained putting.
Strokes back: He needs to make up four strokes to win the Cup.
|Tiger Woods||67||4 under||T7||Saturday was bounce-back day for
Woods. Interestingly, though, his fairways hit declined for
the second straight day, but 13 greens in regulation tied for
his best of the week.
Strokes back: He needs to make up five shots to win the Cup.
|Nick Watney||70||9 over||29th||Watney birdied his first hole
but made three straight bogeys starting at the third. Birdies
at Nos. 7 and 18, though, gave Watney his best score of a
Strokes back: He needs to make up 18 shots to win the Cup.
|Phil Mickelson||72||2 over||T20||Mickelson is tied for 29th in
fairways hit and 16th in greens in regulation.
Saturday’s 27 putts were his low of the week but that
double-bogey start put him behind the eight-ball.
Strokes back: He needs to make up 11 strokes to win the Cup.
|Brandt Snedeker||64||8 under||T1||Snedeker made six birdies and it
could have been more as he missed chances of 20 feet or less
on three of his first four holes. He’s tied for first
in fairways hit and greens in regulation.
Strokes back: He is actually three strokes to the good in his battle to win the Cup.
BIGGEST MOVERS: Justin Rose continues to make his presence known. He’s tie for first for the second time in three rounds at East Lake this week and has moved up 21 spots to third in the FedExCup. Ryan Moore, who played his way into the top 30 at the BMW Championship, has moved up 19 spots into ninth.
ODDS & ENDS: If the TOUR Championship had ended after the third round, there would have been some interesting scenarios. Brandt Snedeker and Justin Rose would have played off for the TOUR Championship title – and if Rose had won, Snedeker and Rory McIlroy would have been involved in a sudden death playoff for the FedExCup title. …
Brandt Snedeker is the first player ranked in the all-important top five to take the lead into the final round of the TOUR Championship since the points system was reworked in 2009. …
Ryan Moore made the second-biggest move in the projected standings on Saturday when he shot a 65. He started the Playoffs ranked 64th and finished in the top 25 of each one, including ties for 10th in the last two. He must win the TOUR Championship – and get considerable help – to win the FedExCup. Not that he’s thinking about the dual victory. “I honestly have no chance to win the FedExCup,” Moore said. “That is my reality. But I do have a chance to win a golf tournament. That is my focus. I haven't won a golf tournament this year. I only have one more chance, one more tournament I'm playing after this, so this is one of my last chances to close out the year the right way.”