FedExCup update: Tiger, Spieth, Day among notables in danger of ending season
August 17, 2019
By Mike McAllister and Cameron Morfit, PGATOUR.COM
- August 17, 2019
- Jordan Spieth has yet to break 70 and is 5 under at the BMW Championship. (Cliff Hawkins/Getty Images)
MEDINAH, Ill. – Tiger Woods isn’t the only notable player who has gone backwards in the FedExCup standings at this week’s BMW Championship. Consider these names who are one round away from seeing their seasons end if they don’t move inside the top 30 advancing to next week’s TOUR Championship:
Jordan Spieth – Entered 44th, projected to 45th. Spieth has yet to break 70 at the par-72 Medinah No. 3 course and is currently 5 under. He needed a solo ninth or better, but at T-43 after 54 holes, he’ll likely miss the TOUR Championship for the second consecutive year.
Jason Day – Entered 50th, projected to 52nd. Day has reached East Lake in eight of the last nine seasons. He needed a solo fifth or better this week but is T-35 going into Sunday.
Phil Mickelson – Entered 46th, projected to 49th. After playing in the first seven TOUR Championships in the FedExCup era, Mickelson will likely miss the tournament for the fourth time in the last six years. He needed a solo 6th but is currently T-47.
Jim Furyk – Entered 48th, projected to 54th. The 2010 FedExCup champ opened with a 66 and was just one shot off the lead. But he couldn’t sustain the momentum, shooting 72-75 and is now T-51. He needed a solo sixth to advance.
Francesco Molinari – Entered 34th, projected to 41st. Was 12th in FedExCup points in April but hasn’t had a top-10 in his last seven starts. Needed a solo 15th this week but is T-51.
Shane Lowry – Entered 25th, projected to 33. The Open champ was 18th in FedExCup points after his win at Royal Portrush, but he’s in danger of falling outside the top 30. He needed a solo 29th coming in but is T-58. Going low Sunday might put him back in the mix.
As for Tiger, he entered 38th after his WD last week at THE NORTHERN TRUST and is now projected to 40th. He needed a solo 11th but is T-31 after his 5-under 67 on Saturday. Determined to defend at East Lake, he’s not giving up hope just yet. “At least I’ve got a shot at it,” he said.
TOP 30 MOVING IN/OUT: After 54 holes, three players are projected to move inside the top 30 – Rory Sabbatini (45th to 22nd), Lucas Glover (41st to 26th) and Hideki Matsuyama (33rd to 27th).
The three projected to move out are Shane Lowry (25th to 33rd), Andrew Putnam (30th to 37th) and Harold Varner III (29th to 38th).
If Sabbatini maintains his position, it would be his first trip to the TOUR Championship since the inaugural 2007 FedExCup Playoffs. Glover is seeking his first trip to East Lake since 2009. Matsuyama has never missed a trip to East Lake since joining the PGA TOUR.
SNEDS GOING FULL THROTTLE: Due to the new Starting Strokes format for next week’s TOUR Championship, Brandt Snedeker is planning an aggressive gameplan Sunday.
Snedeker’s goal is to leave the BMW Championship with as high a FedExCup position as possible, particularly inside the top 5 that get the most benefit from the Starting Strokes. No. 1 in points will start at 10 under next week at East Lake; No. 2 will start at 8 under; No. 3 at 7 under; No. 4 at 6 under and No. 5 at 5 under. After that, every block of five gets an assigned number of strokes, with Nos. 26-30 starting at even par.
Snedeker goes into the final round at Medinah projected to 18th in FedExCup points after his 5-under 67 that included two hole-outs for birdies on his back nine. At 12 under for the tournament and tied for sixth, Snedeker figures if he can move up the leaderboard, he can dramatically increase his advantage at East Lake, where he won in 2012 to claim the FedExCup title.
“There’s no point to try not to shoot away from pins,” Snedeker said. “10th doesn’t do any good this week. In years past, it might have helped me a little bit more, the old format with the points the way they were.
“Now it doesn’t. Top 3 if you want to move anywhere. That’s my thought for tomorrow.”
OOSTHUIZEN RIDING BUBBLE AGAIN: At the 2017 BMW Championship, Louis Oosthuizen opened 77-74, stormed back with 66-67, and wound up an agonizing 31st in the FedExCup, less than one point behind No. 30 Jason Dufner.
In fact, he was 0.72 points from Dufner – the third closest margin between 30th and 31st in Playoffs history.
Well, don’t look now, but Oosthuizen is riding the FedExCup bubble yet again. After moving from 47th to 28th with a T6 at THE NORTHERN TRUST, he’s gotten to 9 under at the BMW (70-69-68) and is fighting hard to stay inside the top 30.
“I don’t even know where I have to finish to be in the top 30, to be honest,” said Oosthuizen, who is projected to need no worse than a 21st-place finish.
Leaderboards throughout the course are hard to ignore, he added, but he’s trying to focus on just shooting one more solid round, which he figures should be enough.
“It would be nice to be in Atlanta,” he said, “but a good break would also be very nice.”
ROOKIE CLARK NEEDS A LOW ONE: Things didn’t look good for rookie Wyndham Clark when he put two in the water and quadruple-bogeyed the second hole on Friday. He’s 10 under since then, though, and his 7-under 65 on Saturday has him at 9 under overall.
At 68th in the FedExCup (from 90th before his T18 at THE NORTHERN TRUST), he still has an outside chance at playing his way to the TOUR Championship.
“I came in with no expectations other than to try to go win, which is probably what it’s going to take for me to get to East Lake,” said Clark, one of just five rookies who advanced to the BMW. “I just wanted to play my best. Yesterday wasn’t great, unfortunately, but today was better and we set ourselves up for tomorrow, where if we really had a special day we might have a chance.”
In fact, Clark needs to finish no worse than solo third to advance to the TOUR Championship. He’ll enter the final round T-18. Although he’s 12 shots behind leader Justin Thomas, Clark is just six behind Tony Finau and Patrick Cantlay, who share second.
Just being here has been a victory in and of itself. Clark, who began his collegiate career at Oklahoma State but finished it at Oregon, was one of four to play his way into the field at the BMW Championship. Now he’s trying to keep it going.
He last played East Lake in the East Lake Cup, a college tournament.
“It’s really hard to recover from a quad,” said Clark, who was followed Saturday by his brother, cousin, and father, with more friends and family on their way tonight. “It kind of put a damper on the tournament; take away that and I’d be 13 under and right in it.
“It’s a bit of a longshot to get to East Lake now,” he added, “But if not, it’s still been a great year.”