ATLANTA - Another day, another leader (or two) at the Tour Championship. For an event that carries a hefty prize of its own, plus a ticket to an unimaginably large purse in the FedExCup, the Tour Championship is seeing some very good golf punctuated by some very rugged golf.
Jim Furyk, who had looked so good on Friday, looked good for 16 holes on Saturday. But a triple-bogey on 17 (tee shot in water, second shot off hospitality tent) and boom, he fell out of the lead. His playing partner, Justin Rose, suffered no such problems, and he, along with Brandt Snedeker, is now holding the top spot with a -8. Two back sits Ryan Moore, three back is a trio including Furyk and Bubba Watson.
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But it's the third member of that three-back trio that's most problematic for the purposes of almost anybody trying to win the FedExCup. Rory McIlroy is right there lurking, and if anybody other than Snedeker wins, the FedExCup will default back to McIlroy if he keeps it close.
Till then, though, it's Snedeker's show. Can he hold on? He let the British Open go earlier this year, but the way he's putting, he should break out the flat stick on the tee. "My first goal for this week is achieved, and that is to have a chance going into Sunday," Snedeker said. "I think something like 90‑something percent of the PGA TOUR winners come from the last two groups, and that's where I want to be in those last two groups. So I know get I get a chance to do that tomorrow, and it should be a lot of fun."
Among other notables, Tiger Woods is only a few strokes back at -4, but Phil Mickelson is deep in the field at +2. And the final player who controls his destiny, Nick Watney, has managed to clamber out of last place ... to 29th, at +9 two strokes ahead of Lee Westwood.
On Sunday, then, we have plenty of players in position to win, but only a few with the chance to take home the grand prize. "I think the biggest thing [Sunday] is going to be how patient you can stay, because this golf course eats guys up that don't stay patient," Snedeker said. "With all that extra stuff that goes with the FedExCup Championship and the Tour Championship, there are so many reasons to get antsy. So you have to do an unbelievable job of staying patient."
We're about to find out if he can.
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