And then there were 30 — that is, players who will advance to the FedExCup Playoff finale at East Lake GC in Atlanta. Several guys came through in the clutch and played their way into the Tour Championship, and several others didn’t have the best of weeks and were bumped out of the top 30 in the FEC points rankings.
Zach Johnson fired a six-under 65 to shoot 16-under total and win the weather-delayed BMW Championship on Monday by two shots over Nick Watney.
He entered the third leg of the Playoffs (after skipping the first, The Barclays, to attend his brother’s wedding) at no. 27 — which kind of put him in the “Bubble Boy” category, but the win vaulted him to no. 4 in the FEC standings. This means — let’s say it all at once, kids — he’s in the top 5 heading into the Tour Championship, so HE CONTROLS HIS OWN DESTINY. In other words, if he were to win at East Lake, he’d also win the $10 million wheelbarrow of cash.
The victory is Johnson’s 10th in his 10th season on the PGA Tour.
“It’s extremely difficult,” Johnson said when asked to explain what win no. 10 meant. “I’m not sure I fully grasp it.”
Now, Zach has to “forget about this week,” and focus on the Tour Championship.
“I’m going to have to take Atlanta for Atlanta and just play. East Lake is not Conway Farms. It is a beast. It’s a classic and a challenge that myself and all my peers get juiced up for.”
Meanwhile, 54-hole leader and new member of the “59 club,” Jim Furyk couldn’t bring it home. The last five times he’s held the lead going into the final round, he hasn’t been able to get the job done. I’m not sure what that means exactly, besides that he hasn’t been a good closer lately. Maybe it’s age (43). Maybe it’s too much scar tissue. But, he still shot 59 in the second round.
Watney, who started the BMW no. 34 in FEC points, played his way into the Playoff Finale with his second place finish, bumping him up to no. 12.
“I knew I needed to have a good week,” Watney said. “The guys ahead of me were ahead of me for a reason. They’ve been playing well all year. Luckily for me I kind of pulled everything together.”
Luke Donald, who is a member at Conway Farms, rolled in four consecutive birdies on the back nine and then saved par from a bunker on the last hole to finish tied for fourth and sneak in the top 30 at no. 29 in the FEC standings.
“I knew I had to go pretty low today,” said Donald, who entered the week no. 54. “Fortunately I got it going a little bit on the back nine when I needed to.”
Pretty clutch, Luke, pretty clutch.
On the other end, Harris English, who was no. 28, fell outside the top 30. He caught a rough break, according to the AP:
In a driving rain Sunday, he lost the grip on his tee shot and pulled it into grass so thick the ball was never found. The horn to stop play sounded a minute later, and English went back out Monday morning to No. 8 to play his third shot on the par 5. He wound up with a double bogey, never found momentum and fell out of the top 30 by two shots.
Lee Westwood also was eliminated from the Playoffs, along with defending champion of the BMW Championship, Rory McIlroy.
Via the PGA Tour media notes…
Here’s a look at players who entered the BMW Championship on the various FedExCup bubbles:
|Player||FEC Entering Week||BMW Finish||FEC Standing|
|Graham DeLaet||No. 5||T28||No. 7|
|Lee Westwood||No. 30||67th||Eliminated|
|Ernie Els||No. 70||T51||Eliminated|
The following players entered the Deutsche Bank Championship ranked Nos. 71-100 in the FedExCup standings and played their way into the BMW Championship:
|Player||DBC||Current FEC||BMW Finish|
Rookies at the BMW Championship
Nine rookies advanced to the FedExCup Playoffs this year, with two remaining:
|Player||Entering Playoffs||Current FEC||BMW Finish|
|Jordan Spieth||No. 8||No. 13||T16|
|Russell Henley||No. 24||Eliminated after BMW||T39|
|David Lingmerth||No. 45||Eliminated after Deutsche||—|
|Luke Guthrie||No. 72||Eliminated after Deutsche||—|
|Derek Ernst||No. 74||Eliminated after Deutsche||—|
|James Hahn||No. 101||Eliminated after Barclays||—|
|Morgan Hoffman||No. 111||Eliminated after Barclays||—|
|D.H. Lee||No. 114||Eliminated after Barclays||—|
|Scott Langley||No. 124||Eliminated after Barclays||—|
Highest-ranked rookie entering the FedExCup Playoffs by year:
2013 Jordan Spieth 9th No. 13 (current ranking)
2012 John Huh 25th 29th
2011 Keegan Bradley 5th 20th
2010 Rickie Fowler 19th 32nd
2009 Jeff Klauk 60th 90th
2008 Andres Romero 26th 28th
2007 Brandt Snedeker 9th 20th