Turning points standings upside down: The FedEx Cup standings are not to be taken as gospel. Not as far as determining how this Tour Championship will shake out. Your first round leader, Kyle Stanley, came to East Lake 22nd in points among the 30-man field. Average point standings of the top five after Thursday’s play: 14.2.
And the last man in, No. 30 Jason Dufner, is but four shots off Stanley’s lead at 2 under.
Last year was just so last year: The volatility of these FedEx Cup playoffs is well documented. The fact that Jordan Spieth is the only former FedEx Cup champion in the field this week is a little bit amazing.
The player who emerged from last year’s dramatic three-way playoff to win the Tour Championship and the FedEx Cup, Rory McIlroy, did not make the field of 30 this year. Nor did one other member of that playoff trio, Ryan Moore.
The third fellow did advance, but obviously has gained no advantage from his experience here. That’s one Kevin Chappell, who suffered Thursday’s high round (76).
Getting the hard hole out of the way early: Welcome to East Lake, fellas. The first hole the field faced Thursday played the most difficult of all. No. 1, a 451-yard par 4, played to an average score of 4.267. Just two birdies there Thursday, to go with eight bogeys and one double bogey.
Georgia turns on its Masters champion: When last we left Sergio Garcia in our midst, he was claiming a long-overdue and emotional Masters victory. He may be re-thinking any notion about relocating here, though, after Thursday. Garcia finished 3 over in the Tour Championship’s first round, one of 10 players over par and in 25th place in the 30-man field. Doesn’t look like he’s going to sweep the series in Georgia.
Never forget, it’s always about Georgia-Georgia Tech: Matt Kuchar has his work cut out for him this week at East Lake. He’s the one former Georgia Tech player who made the field. Meanwhile, Georgia has three of its own. The trio of Russell Henley (3 under), Kevin Kisner (2 under) and Brian Harman (2 over) are a composite 3 under. The out-manned Kucher shot a 1 under 69 Thursday. His is a heavy load.
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