Sep
16
2013
Zach wins, who’s in, who’s out for the Playoff Finale
By Stephanie Wei under FedEx Cup
Zach rallies for the win

Zach rallies for the win

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
Kevin Stadler T4 Eliminated T33
Brian Davis T7 Eliminated T33
Ian Poulter T9 Eliminated T44
Marc Leishman T16 Eliminated T39
Nicholas Thompson T22 Eliminated T44
Brendan Steele T20 Eliminated 61
Ernie Els T20 Eliminated T51

 

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:

Year     Player                          Rank entering            Final FedExCup Rank                    

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