5 Things: Points ins and outs; Phil's thrill; more
JERSEY CITY, N.J. – The drama at the top was impossible to miss. But that’s golf and it happens every week.
But the battle at the bottom – or close to the bottom? That drama was different, pure FedEx Cup numbers-crunching that left you with a number of gut-wrenching scenes.
With 125 players having qualified for The Barclays, the first playoff event, only 100 were going to advance, so for most of the afternoon sights were set down below. One by one, the stories took shape and they constitute 5 Things to Know from Sunday’s final round of The Barclays.
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1. HEARTACHE, ACT 1: One day after having shot 66 to thrust himself into the FedEx Cup playoff picture, Aaron Baddeley’s spirits were crushed. Having stared the week 119th, he had been projected to be inside the top 80 thanks to that 66, but then he started backing up. Out in 39, Baddeley slipped and slipped until he was projected to be in the low 90s in points. Then when he finished bogey, bogey, bogey? He was out, No. 101.
“Bad finish,” Baddeley said softly. Then he shook his head and amended that. “Horrendous finish.”
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2. FLIP SIDE OF HEARTACHE: Stuart Appleby stood over a 5-foot putt to save par at the 18th when up on the scoreboard flashed, “projected: 100th.”
Did he see it?
“No. Seeing that doesn’t help the situation at all,” he said.
Then there was Camilo Villegas, inside the top 100 all day, until he started to stumble. Out in 40, he bogeyed the 13th, came back with a birdie at the 17th, but saw on the 18th that he was projected at 98th. When he missed a 6-footer for par, Villegas knew what the bogey meant, only he didn’t deny that he had looked at the leaderboards.
“I do look. That’s what they’re there for.”
Bitterly disappointed to have fallen outside the top 100, at least so far as projections go, Villegas apologized for not wanting to talk. Bad mood. Understandable, too.
But later, as a byproduct of Baddeley’s collapse, Villegas was back in.
Mr. 100 is headed to the Deutsche Bank Championship.
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3. AND THE FINAL TALLY IS: Five players started the week outside the Top 100, but played themselves into playoff tournament No. 2, the Deutsche Bank Championship: Martin Kaymer, from 103rd to 90th; Greg Chalmers, 122nd to 93rd; Erik Compton, 117th to 94th; Appleby, 123rd to 96th; and Villegas, 110th to 100th.
Of course, to allow for five more names, five players had to fall out of the top 100: James Driscoll, 93rd to 103rd; Geoff Ogilvy, 99th to 104th; Ted Potter Jr., 96th to 105th; J.J. Henry, 97th to 106th; and Jeff Overton, 100th to 108th.
For Driscoll, it’s especially painful given his Boston roots – which gained fame when he created his "Birdies for Boston" fundraiser to benefit victims of this year's bombing at the Boston Marathon. But Driscoll hasn’t played in the Deutsche Bank Championship since 2006.
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4. PHIL THE (EARLY) THRILL: He played at a Sunday time that he hardly prefers, well in front of the leaders. But he played in a manner that pleased him greatly – with aggressiveness and efficiency.
A hiccup on the final hole – a bogey caused by a sloppy decision to try and “muscle” a 9-iron – was disappointing, but overall, Phil Mickelson could smile and take a lot of positives out of his 7-under 64.
Certainly, it pumped life into the festivities at Liberty National, especially since the leaders were just getting to the course. But Mickelson knew the magnitude of his challenge. “Being nine shots back starting the day, you don’t think you had a chance,” he noted, but after seven birdies in a 10-hole stretch beginning at the par-5 sixth, Mickelson took note of the huge leaderboard as he played the 18th.
He was 10 under and the leaders – Matt Kuchar and Gary Woodland – had each dropped a shot and fallen to 11 under.
“But giving one back on the last, looks like I can probably head out of here early,” the lefthander said, and within a short while, Graham DeLaet had come into the clubhouse at 10-under, also with a 65.
It was official. There would be no Mickelson magic on this day, but he had done the job. He had gotten the day off to a splendid start. And on top of that, “It was pretty sharp. I feel really good on the greens and I’m looking forward to getting to (the Deutsche Bank Championship) next week.”
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5. SHORT SHOTS: From 7-under 64 and first place after 18 holes, Kevin Stadler played the next 54 holes in 7 over and finished T-44. . . . Ryan Palmer tumbled mightily, too; from an opening 65, he played the next three rounds in 12 over to finish T-66. . . . Rory McIlroy hung around New York after the tournament and Monday morning will ring the bell to open the New York Stock Exchange as an official kickoff to the Deutsche Bank Championship, next up on the FedEx Cup playoff series. McIlroy is the defending champ at the DBC. . . . It was Tiger Woods’ 10th top-10 finish in 15 FedEx Cup playoffs.