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2014 BMW Championship (The 3rd of 4 events in the FedExCup Playoffs), Cherry Hills Village, Colorado, Sept. 1-7, 2014; FedExCup Points: 2,500; Purse: $8,000,000, Cherry Hills Country Club, Par/Yards: 34-36—70/7,352

Third-Round Notes – Saturday, September 6, 2014

Weather: Partly cloudy with a high of 71 degrees. Winds N/NE 6-12 mph.

Third-Round Leaderboard

Billy Horschel 68-66-63—197 (-13) (pictured by Getty Images)
Ryan Palmer 69-64-67—200 (-10)
Martin Kaymer 68-70-64—202 (-8)
Bubba Watson 70-66-66—202 (-8)

FedExCup and the BMW Championship

  • The top 125 players on the final PGA TOUR Season FedExCup points list (following the Wyndham Championship) qualified for The Barclays.
  • The top 100 players on the FedExCup points list following The Barclays qualified for the Deutsche Bank Championship.
  • The top 70 players on the FedExCup points list after the Deutsche Bank Championship advanced to the BMW Championship, contested this week at Cherry Hills CC.
  • Each playoff event offers 2,500 FedExCup points to the winner.
  • The top 30 players following the BMW Championship will qualify for the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola. Prior to the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola, a points reset will take place, giving all players in the field a mathematical opportunity to win the FedExCup title. The top five players control their own destiny and would claim the FedExCup with a victory at East Lake.

The top five

Getting into the top five in the FedExCup Playoff standings is the goal for players after the BMW Championship is played and the 70-man field has been trimmed to 30. The top five in the standings entering the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola will control their own destiny and will win the FedExCup with a victory at East Lake GC. Here’s a look at the top five through three rounds of the BMW Championship:

Current top five:

FEC Rank Player 54-hole position FedExCup projection

1 Chris Kirk T39 No. 2
2 Rory McIlroy T10 No. 3
3 Hunter Mahan T55 No. 5
4 Jimmy Walker T17 No. 6
5 Matt Kuchar T49 No. 10

While Jimmy Walker and Matt Kuchar have dropped out of the projected top 5 for the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola, Billy Horschel and Bubba Watson have moved into the projected top 5.

FedExCup Projections

Projected into the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola

FEC Rank Player Position Projected
No. 37 Ryan Palmer 2nd No. 9

Projected out of the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola

FEC Rank Player Position Projected
No. 28 Keegan Bradley WD No. 33

Third-Round Leader Statistics

Since 2000, the third-round leader/co-leader has won six of 14 times at the BMW Championship, most recently Justin Rose in 2011.

The third-round leader/co-leader has won 20 of 42 72-hole stroke-play events this season, most recently Rory McIlroy at the PGA Championship.

Billy Horschel

Horschel shot a bogey-free 7-under 63 in the third round to take a three shot lead into the final round. Horschel drained a 31’11” putt on No. 18 to close with a birdie-3.

In winning the 2013 Zurich Classic of New Orleans, Horschel birdied six holes in a row (Nos. 7-12) and then drained a 26’8” putt for birdie-4 on the final hole en route to a final-round 8-under 64 and a one-stroke victory over D.A. Points.

Horschel’s only previous third-round lead came at the 2013 Valero Texas Open where he finished T3.

Horschel moved from No. 82 to No. 20 in the FedExCup following a T2 finish last week at the Deutsche Bank Championship (his 100th PGA TOUR start and first top 10 since a T6 at the 2014 FedEx St. Jude Classic).

Horschel’s finishes in the FedExCup: 2013 (16th), 2012 (143rd), 2011 (170th).

A year ago, Horschel claimed his lone TOUR win at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans, recorded eight top-10 finishes and advanced to the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola (T7). He finished the season 16th in the FedExCup.

In the 2013-2014 PGA TOUR Season, Horschel has collected top-10 finishes at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions (T6), FedEx St. Jude Classic (T6) and Deutsche Bank Championship (T2)

Horschel is looking to be the second former alum from the University of Florida to win on TOUR in the last four weeks. Camilo Villegas won the Wyndham Championship four weeks ago in Greensboro. Matt Every (Arnold Palmer Invitational) is the other Florida Gator to win on TOUR this season.

On Sunday, Horschel will be looking for his second TOUR win in 101 starts at the age of 27 years and 9 months.

Horschel has shown to be a momentum player. He finished T2 last week at the Deutsche Bank Championship. Below are his previous four starts prior to winning his first TOUR event at the 2013 Zurich Classic of New Orleans:

Horschel’s wife Brittany is due to have their first child on September 27.

Ryan Palmer

Palmer who played the third round in the final group of the day watched Billy Horschel drain a 32 foot putt on No. 18. Palmer followed suit by sinking his birdie putt on No. 18 from 30’2” to get within three shots of Horschel.

Palmer entered the week No. 37 in the FedExCup, but is projected to move to No. 9 with a runner-up finish. Among his career-best six top-10 finishes in 21 previous starts this season are runner-up showings at the Humana Challenge and Honda Classic.

Last year, Palmer finished No. 71 in the FedExCup, just missing out on making it to the 70-player BMW Championship field. Here’s a look at his FedExCup finishes: 2013 (71), 2012 (55), 2011 (53), 2010 (23), 2009 (134), 2008 (94), 2007 (134).

Palmer is making his seventh start at the BMW Championship, with a T43 finish in 2010 his best effort.

Palmer has come-from-behind to win two of his three career TOUR victories. He came from five shots (T13) back to win his first event at the 2004 FUNAI Classic at Disney. He came from one shot back to win his second TOUR event at the 2008 Ginn sur Mer Classic. He was tied for the lead when he won his third and last event at the 2010 Sony Open in Hawaii.

Rory McIlroy

On the par-3 12th in round three, McIlroy recorded the sixth 4-putt of his TOUR career. McIlroy missed his first putt from 4’5”, his second from 4’9”, his third from 2’ before making his fourth putt from 1’7”.

It was McIlory’s first triple-bogey or worse since the first hole of the first round of the 2013 BMW Championship.

Currently second in the FedExCup standings behind Hunter Mahan, McIlroy is seeking his fourth PGA TOUR win of 2013-14 and his second career BMW Championship title (2012). McIlroy has nine career wins, including three straight starts in July-August (The Open Championship, World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational, PGA Championship).

Morgan Hoffmann

Hoffmann recorded the round of the week so far with an 8-under 62 in round three. The 62 catapulted him from T53 after round two all the way up the leaderboard to T10.

Hoffmann was one of seven players who entered The Barclays ranked No. 101 – 125 in the FedExCup standings and played their way into the Deutsche Bank Championship. Hoffmann is the only player among that group to advance to the BMW Championship. Hoffmann began the Playoffs at No. 124 in the FedExCup standings.

In the history of the FedExCup Playoffs only two players have advanced to the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola after starting the Playoffs outside of the cut line to make the second Playoffs event. In 2009, Slocum began the Playoffs at No. 124 before winning The Barclays and advancing to the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola. In 2010, Kevin Streelman began the Playoffs at No. 102 in the FedExCup standings and advanced to Atlanta.

Miscellaneous Notes

Defending FedExCup champion Henrik Stenson is T23 after opening rounds of 68-69-72. He is projected at 50th in the FedExCup standings and is projected to need a solo fourth-place finish to move into the top 30 and have the opportunity to defend his TOUR Championship title next week.

Four of the six winners on the fall segment of the 2013-14 PGA TOUR Season are currently inside the top 30: Chris Kirk (1); Jimmy Walker (4); Webb Simpson (19); and Dustin Johnson (22). Just outside the top 30 are Harris English (31) and Ryan Moore (34).

Fifteen different players under the age of 30 have wins on the PGA TOUR this season, accounting for a total of 20 victories. Last week’s Deutsche Bank Championship winner Chris Kirk was the first player under the age of 30 to win a FedExCup Playoff event since Rory McIlroy at the 2012 BMW Championship.

Hunter Mahan is the only player to have never missed a start in the FedExCup Playoffs (31 overall). He is a lock to advance to the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola next week in Atlanta.

In the five previous years (2009-2013) with the current FedExCup points system, a total of 13 players have played their way into the top 30 at the BMW Championship, including Luke Donald and Nick Watney in 2013.

Chesson Hadley is the lone rookie still competing in the FedExCup Playoffs (57). Prior to his T9 last week at the Deutsche Bank Championship, Hadley had missed 10 of 11 cuts. He is currently T10 in Denver. Only six rookies have advanced all the way to the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola in the FedExCup era, with all six going on to win PGA TOUR Rookie of the Year:

2013 – Jordan Spieth/7th

2012 – John Huh/29th

2011 – Keegan Bradley/20th

2009 – Marc Leishman/20th

2008 – Andres Romero/28th

2007 – Brandt Snedeker/20th

Miscellaneous FedExCup Notes

Three players have made it to the TOUR Championship the first seven years of the FedExCup. Here’s their year-by-year FedExCup finish and how they are projected through two rounds of the BMW Championship

2014 Current FEC/projected

Top-10-finishes leaders (FedExCup Playoffs)

Past FedExCup Champions Remaining in 2014 FedExCup Playoffs

Player Year Won Pre-BMW Rank Projected Rank after BMW R3

Jim Furyk 2010 No. 8 No. 7

Bill Haas 2011 No. 17 No. 17

Henrik Stenson 2013 No. 55 No. 50

Bogey-free Rounds

R1: None

R2: Rickie Fowler (66)

R3: Billy Horschel (63), Bubba Watson (66)

Scoring Averages at the par-70 Cherry Hills CC:

Front 9 Back 9 Total Cumulative

Round 1 34.507 36.609 71.116 –

Round 2 33.971 36.088 70.059 70.591

Round 3 33.848 35.576 69.424 70.212

Attempting to drive the green on the par-4 first hole:

R1 (353 yards): 2/54 players were successful (Charley Hoffman/birdie, Ryan Palmer/eagle)

R2 (341 yards): 2/30 players were successful (Graham DeLaet/birdie, Rory McIlroy/par)

R3 (328 yards): 2/34 players were successful (Bubba Watson/birdie, Patrick Reed/birdie)

Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley withdrew following the second round.

Source: PGA Tour

Author

Graham J Gordon, The Editor and Owner, GolfblogspotUK

The GolfblogspotUK website is owned and run by former Walker Cup player and European Tour card holder, Graham J Gordon, from Scotland, the Home of Golf. The owner is a golf fanatic who had to retire early from competitive tour play due to a back injury that required surgery. Graham wishes to share his knowledge and own experiences of the game with the GolfblogspotUK community and to receive your feedback on all aspects of the sport. Graham has been playing the game for over 20 years and received a great deal of pleasure from the sport. He has met several friends and visited many different places around the world, thanks to playing the great game of golf. Time to put a little back into the game to help others.

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