Varner seizing opportunity at Deutsche Bank
September 04, 2016
By Helen Ross , PGATOUR.COM
- Harold Varner is in position to advance to the BMW Championship. (David Cannon/Getty Images)
NORTON, Mass. – Harold Varner III is right where he wants to be.
The PGA TOUR rookie came into the FedExCup Playoffs ranked 82nd, which basically put him safely into the first two events but left him with some work to do at TPC Boston to extend his stay.
That’s because only the top 70 players after the Deutsche Bank Championship concludes on Monday will advance to the BMW Championship. Varner enjoys the challenge, though.
“I like my back against the wall,” he explained. “(I) just need to compete. I think that’s what I’m really, really good at and that’s what I need to stick to.”
Varner has responded well, too. Sunday’s 69 left him 8 under and seven strokes off Paul Casey’s lead – but just as importantly, projected to move to No. 62 in the FedExCup.
One more good round, and Varner will learn whether he needs to book a flight to Carmel. The number crunchers at the beginning of the week said he likely needed to finish 13th or better to move into the top 70.
Varner, who is currently tied for 11th, sees Monday as an “opportunity.”
“You just need to go play golf,” he said.
So far Varner has made the most of his rookie season, posting four top-10s, the best of which was a tie for fifth in the OHL Classic at Mayakoba. He has only been outside the top 100 in the FedExCup for one week which speaks to a consistent campaign.
A tee time at Crooked Stick on Thursday will bring Varner closer to his ultimate goal of making the TOUR Championship. A berth in the Playoff finale will not only give him a chance at the $10 million bonus but also a spot in the season’s first three majors and two of the four World Golf Championships, as well as the invitationals, too.
“You’ve got to be in the top 30 to get to East Lake,” Varner said. “That’s my ultimate goal. I just want to give myself the best chance, and I have a chance tomorrow.”
Varner says he knows there will be pressure on Monday. He doesn’t mind it, though.
“It’s just being able to handle it,” Varner explained. “If I had to make a shot I would like to know the score. I would never just shoot it and be like, oh, man, I didn’t know. That’s just stupid.”
And he’ll know the score every time he looks at one of those big LED scoreboards, too. He’ll see the FedExCup projections and know where he stands.
“They’re too big to miss,” Varner said with a smile. “But it doesn’t really phase me. Making birdie on the present hole I’m on is going to give me the best chance of getting to where I want to be.”
TOP FIVE WATCH:
Any one of the top five players entering the TOUR Championship are guaranteed the FedExCup should he win the Playoffs finale at East Lake. Here’s how they are doing through three rounds of the Deutsche Bank Championship at TPC Boston.
Paul Casey is projected to move to fourth if he should go on to win the Deutsche Bank Championship. The Englishman leads by three strokes at 15 under.
1. Patrick Reed: After shooting 70 to move to 8 under, Reed is projected to stay No. 1 in the standings.
2. Jason Day: The Aussie finally got untracked on Sunday, shooting 68 to move to 4 under. The three-time TOUR winner in 2016 moved 29 spots up the leaderboard and is projected to remain No. 2.
3. Dustin Johnson: Johnson had a tough day, making just one birdie in a round of 75 that saw him tumble 28 spots down the leaderboard into a tie for 33rd. He is still projected to remain third, though.
4. Adam Scott: A round of 71 moved Scott to 5 under and into a tie for 23rd. The former Masters champion is currently projected to drop a spot if Casey goes on to win.
5. Jordan Spieth: The reigning FedExCup champion is projected to fall to sixth right now. Like Scott, he’s also tied for 23rd but shot his high round of the week on Saturday with a 72.
THE BUBBLE BOY
Chez Reavie came to the Deutsche Bank Championship as the bubble boy at No. 70. He missed the cut by three strokes and is currently projected to drop nine spots. He’s been replaced at No. 70 by Ricky Barnes, who is currently tied for 48th and has dropped two spots in the FedExCup standings.
WHO’S IN, WHO’S OUT
Six players are currently projected to move into the top 70 and punch their tickets to the BMW Championship. Here are the players with their current leaderboard position in parentheses.
Projected in – Billy Hurley III projected from 77 to 54 (T11), Chris Kirk projected from 75 to 60 (T23), Harold Varner III projected from 87 to 62 (T11), David Hearn projected from 92 to 65 (T11), Hudson Swafford projected from 82 to 66 (T23) and Steve Stricker projected from 97 to 68 (T11).
Projected out – Jon Curran projected from 60 to 71 (72), Jerry Kelly projected from 61 to 73 (CUT), Johnson Wagner projected from 69 to 76 (T61), Martin Laird projected from 63 to 77 (CUT), Colt Knost projected from 65 to 78 (CUT) and Chez Reavie projected from 70 to 81 (CUT).
Here are the five biggest movers in the FedExCup projected standings after the third round at TPC Boston.
Brian Harman: He moved up 57 spots to No. 10. He’s in solo second, three strokes behind Paul Casey, after Sunday’s 68.
Paul Casey: He moved up 55 spots to No. 4. He owns the lead at 15 under after 66 that included an eagle on the 18th hole.
Steve Stricker: He moved up 29 spots to No. 68. He’s tied for 11th at 8 under after shooting 69 in the third round.
David Hearn: He moved up 27 spots to No. 64. He’s also tied for 11th after a third-round 69.
Scott Brown: He moved up 26 spots to No. 72 after shooting 65 on Sunday. He’s currently tied for 20th at 7 under.
Twelve players were eliminated on Saturday after missing the cut at the Deutsche Bank Championship. All started the week outside the top 70 and did not earn any points due to their early exits.
The 12 are Patton Kizzire, Webb Simpson, Russell Henley, John Senden, Freddie Jacobson, K.J. Choi, Danny Lee, Sung Kang, Jason Bohn, Tyrone Van Aswegen, Vijay Singh and Derek Fathauer.
Two other players were previously eliminated – Alex Cejka , who had to withdraw, and Masters champ Danny Willett, who did not enter the event.