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August 30 2013

12:35 PM

Afternoon players to watch

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Rory McIlroy will begin his title defense this afternoon at TPC Boston.

By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM

NORTON, Mass. -- The early pace has been set by Phil Mickelson. Now the question is can anyone from the afternoon wave catch him?

Here's a look at who and what to keep an eye on this afternoon from TPC Boston (all times ET):

Luke Donald, 12:22 p.m.: The once No. 1 player in the world and top-10 machine has just four top 10s this year, but he has had success here, finishing second in 2010 and third in 2011.

Sergio Garcia, 12:22 p.m.: Five years ago, Garcia finished fifth at TPC Boston. This year, he comes in looking for his first top 10 since THE PLAYERS Championship. At 59th in the FedExCup standings, however, he is safe for getting into the BMW Championship.

Rory McIlroy, 12:46 p.m.: What a difference a year makes. Last season, McIlroy was on top of the world and would win here and at the BMW Championship. This time he's just hoping to salvage what has been a mostly lost season. TPC Boston suits him well and this week could be telling.

Jason Day, Webb Simpson, 12:46p.m.: Day is playing with a sore wrist, but he has a good history here with a runner-up in 2010 and a third-place finish the following year. Likewise with Simpson, who won here in 2011.

Steve Stricker, Charl Schwartzel, 12:58 p.m.: This week marks Stricker's first Playoffs event of the year, while Schwartzel is making just his third appearance at TPC Boston (he's never finished in the top 20).

Matt Kuchar, Justin Rose, Brandt Snedeker, 1:10 p.m.: Rose nearly forced a playoff last week before finishing one back of winner Adam Scott. Snedeker, meanwhile, is trying to regain his early-season form as he tries to become the first player to win back-to-back FedExCups.

Dustin Johnson, Rickie Fowler, 1:10 p.m.: Given Johnson's length, TPC Boston sets up well for him. Twice he has finished in the top 5 here. Fowler, meanwhile, is coming off a top 10 last week.

Ernie Els, 1:34 p.m.: The Big Easy is on the outside looking in at 91st in the FedExCup standings. In the FedExCup era, Els has never not made it to at least the BMW Championship.

 

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