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FedEx Cup comes down to final 30 golfers

September 17, 2013|By David Wharton
  • Luke Donald barely squeaked into the FedEx Cup playoffs.
Luke Donald barely squeaked into the FedEx Cup playoffs. (Michael Cohen / Getty Images )

Luke Donald faces long odds at the Tour Championship in Atlanta this week. But at least he has a chance.

Donald was one of several golfers who sneaked into the Top 30 in the FedExCup standings and earned a spot in the PGA Tour’s big finale. He needed a strong finish Monday at the BMW Championship.

“There was nerves the last couple holes, probably from 15 onwards,” Donald said. “I knew I had got myself into position where I had a chance.”

The FedEx Cup playoffs are like a big game of musical chairs, with the field narrowing each week and players fighting to stay alive. They all want a shot at the season-ending $10-million bonus.

Donald’s final-round 66 at the BMW was good enough to grab the 29th spot. Nick Watney’s runner-up finish vaulted him all the way to 12th.

“I knew I’d need something special,” Watney said.

Not everyone came through. Bubba Watson and Rickie Fowler fell just short. Lee Westwood tumbled from 30th to 41st.

Dustin Johnson also struggled, finishing the tournament at 9-over, and was fortunate to hang on for 30th place in the standings.

Now in its final week, the FedEx Cup is weighted to favor highly ranked players. Tiger Woods, Henrik Stenson and the rest of the Top 5 are guaranteed the bonus money with a victory in Atlanta. But technically, everyone has a chance.

In 2011, Bill Haas entered the championship as the 25thseed and won it all in a sudden-death playoff victory over Hunter Mahan.

Donald is keeping that in mind. He would need Woods to fall apart and the rest of the Top 6 to falter.

 “It's unlikely,” he said of his situation, “but it's certainly been done before.”

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