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DeChambeau will come to East Lake as FedEx No. 1, Woods’ return still uncertain

There will be one more week of finger-crossing and scoreboard-watching for those desiring a Tiger Woods return to East Lake, as he and the 69 other FedEx Cup survivors trudge on to the Philadelphia suburbs and the final playoff event before the Tour Championship. 

Woods, who hasn’t graced the season-ending event at East Lake since 2013, remained balanced precariously on the playoff bubble after finishing T-24 at the Dell Technologies Championship Monday. The top 70 in FedEx Cup points will move on from there to the Aronimink Golf Club in Newton Square, Pa., and Thursday’s start of the BMW Championship. The top 30 in points after the BMW come to Atlanta for the deciding playoff event. Woods projected points standing was 25th , where he was a week ago. 

Woods finished 7-under for the tournament, shooting an even-par 71 Monday. A change in putter from a week ago paid no noticeable dividends in the final round. He might have gained precious ground in the points standings, if not for a 3-over finish through the final five holes, which included a watery double bogey on the par-3 16th hole. 

Bryson DeChambeau, the guy with the throwback cap and the next century game, will be atop the points standings at the Tour Championship, regardless of where he finishes at Aronimink. Winning for a second straight week – his third victory in his last nine starts – and assuring himself the top spot at East Lake, DeChambeau is playing with house money this upcoming week. At the Dell, he finished two strokes clear of Justin Rose for the win.

While Woods treaded water, another East Lake favorite positioned himself for a return. Shooting Monday’s lowest round, a 63, Phil Mickelson finished T-12 at the Dell and climbed to a projected No. 9 in playoff points. Mickelson has appeared in only one Tour Championship (2016) since 2013.  

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Behind DeChambeau, there was but a little shakeup in the coveted upper reaches of the points standings. U.S. Open champion Brooks Koepka was projected to fall just out of the top five (to No. 6) while Rose climbed three spots to No. 3.

Among those who will not be playing for a place at East Lake this week will be Duluth’s Stewart Cink and Matt Kuchar – both former Georgia Tech players. Both shot 3-over 74s Monday and lost any chance of claiming residence inside the top 70 and moving on to the BMW Championship. Cink began the week 65th in points, Kuchar 74th. 

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