2016 TOUR Championship R1 Notes

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The TOUR Championship is the culmination of the 2015-16 PGA TOUR Season and the final event of the FedExCup Playoffs. The road to the TOUR Championship began with the top 125 players qualifying for The Barclays (won by Patrick Reed), followed by the top 100 players at the Deutsche Bank Championship (won by Rory McIlroy) and the top 70 players at the BMW Championship (won by Dustin Johnson). Each playoff event, including this week’s TOUR Championship, offers 2,000 FedExCup points to the winner.

 

First-Round Leaderboard

Hideki Matsuyama                    66 (-4)

Kevin Chappell                          66 (-4)

Dustin Johnson                         66 (-4)

Kevin Kisner                             67 (-3)

Si Woo Kim                              67 (-3)

Jason Day                                67 (-3)

 

The top-five players in the FedExCup standings entering the TOUR Championship control their own destiny and will win the FedExCup title should they go on to victory at East Lake.

FEC           Name                           Score             Position      FedExCup Projection

1                Dustin Johnson             66                   T1                           1

2                Patrick Reed                 73                   T18                          4

3                Adam Scott                   69                   T11                          6

4                Jason Day                    67                   T4                           5

5                Paul Casey                   68                   T7                           7

 

A points reset took place following the BMW Championship giving all 30 players in the field at the TOUR Championship a mathematical chance to win the FedExCup.

 

Kevin Chappell, #15 in FedExCup, Projected #2

Kevin Chappell has advanced to the FedExCup Playoffs for six consecutive years but this is his first appearance in the TOUR Championship.

 

Chappell’s bogey-free 4-under 66 was Thursday’s only bogey-free opening round. He also led the field in Greens in Regulation, hitting 16 of 18 greens.

 

Should Chappell go on to win, he would join Chad Campbell (2003), Bart Bryant (2005), Bill Haas (2011) and Henrik Stenson (2013) as players to win the TOUR Championship in their first appearance (not including Tom Watson’s win at the first TOUR Championship in 1987).

 

Chappell, seeking his first PGA TOUR victory, owns four top-five finishes this season. In addition to a T3 at the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational, Chappell recorded three runner-up finishes this season (RSM Classic, Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard, THE PLAYERS Championship).

 

Kevin Chappell’s opening rounds at the FedExCup Playoffs events this season;

R1                               Event                                               Result                   

67 (-4)                          The Barclays                                    T31

67 (-4)                          Deutsche Bank Championship           T8

75 (+3)                         BMW Championship                          T61

66 (-4)                          TOUR Championship                        —

 

Scenarios for Kevin Chappell to win the FedExCup;

  • Wins the TOUR Championship

And…

  • Dustin Johnson (#1) finishes 9th* or worse
  • Patrick Reed (#2) finishes T4th* or worse
  • Adam Scott (#3) finishes T3 or worse
  • Jason Day (#4) finishes in a 3-way tie for 2nd or worse
  • Paul Casey (#5) finishes T2 or worse

*Tie for FedExCup

 

Hideki Matsuyama, #17 FedExCup, Projected #3

Hideki Matsuyama returned to the TOUR Championship for a third consecutive time after seven top-10 finishes this season. He earned his second career PGA TOUR title at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, where he outlasted Rickie Fowler on the fourth extra hole of a sudden-death playoff. Two of Matsuyama’s top-10s came in major championships this season (T7/Masters Tournament, T4/PGA Championship).

 

Matsuyama’s 4-under 66 is his low round at East Lake, bettering his previous best of 69 (twice in 2015) by three strokes.

 

In two appearances at East Lake, Matsuyama has finished 22nd in 2014 and T12 in 2015.

 

Matsuyama is seeking to become the first player from Japan, and the seventh international player, to win the TOUR Championship: Mike Weir (2001, Canada); Vijay Singh (2002, Fiji); Retief Goosen (2004, South Africa); Adam Scott (2006, Australia); Camilo Villegas (2008, Colombia); and Henrik Stenson (2013, Sweden). He is also looking to join Henrik Stenson (2013, Sweden) and Vijay Singh (2008, Fiji) as the third international winner of the FedExCup.

 

Matsuyama is one of 10 international players in the field. Those players are representing nine countries outside of the United States:

Rank      Player                      Country

3            Adam Scott              Australia

4            Jason Day               Australia

5            Paul Casey              England

6            Rory McIlroy            Northern Ireland

8            Russell Knox            Scotland

9            Emiliano Grillo          Argentina

17          Hideki Matsuyama    Japan

18          Si Woo Kim              South Korea

29          Jhonattan Vegas      Venezuela

30          Charl Schwartzel      South Africa

 

Hideki Matsuyama’s opening rounds at the FedExCup Playoffs events this season;

R1                               Event                                               Result                   

71 (E)                          The Barclays                                    MC

69 (-2)                          Deutsche Bank Championship           T15

68 (-4)                          BMW Championship                          T24

66 (-4)                          TOUR Championship                        —

 

Scenarios for Hideki Matsuyama to win the FedExCup;

  • Wins the TOUR Championship

And…

  • Dustin Johnson (#1) finishes in a 3-way tie for 10th or worse
  • Patrick Reed (#2) finishes in a 3-way tie for 4th or worse
  • Adam Scott (#3) finishes in a 3-way tie for 3rd or worse
  • Jason Day (#4) finishes 3rd or worse
  • Paul Casey (#5) finishes T2 or worse

 

Dustin Johnson, #1 FedExCup, Projected #1

For the sixth time in seven starts at the TOUR Championship Dustin Johnson recorded an opening round of par or better. A first-round 3-over 73 in 2010 is his only blemish.

 

Johnson has recorded top-five finishes in his last two appearances at East Lake (5th/2013, T5/2015).

 

With three victories this season (U.S. Open, World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational, BMW Championship), Johnson entered the TOUR Championship at the top of the FedExCup standings. Johnson is joined by Jason Day, Jordan Spieth, Adam Scott and Russell Knox as one of the five players to capture multiple victories this season.

 

Johnson and Tiger Woods are the only players to win a major championship, World Golf Championships title and a FedExCup Playoffs event in the same season.

 

Johnson has recorded 14 top-10 finishes in 21 starts this season, the most of any player.

 

Johnson’s win at the U.S. Open extended his TOUR-leading active streak of winning at least one tournament in each of his first nine seasons on the PGA TOUR.

 

This is Johnson’s seventh season qualifying for the TOUR Championship and the first time entering the week in the top position in the FedExCup standings.

 

Scenarios for Dustin Johnson to win the FedExCup;

  • If he wins the TOUR Championship, he wins the FedExCup
  • Has a reasonable chance of winning with a top-5 finish
  • Can finish as low as 29th and still have a mathematical chance of winning

 

First-Round Leader Statistics

The first-round leader/co-leader has won 12 of 29 times at the TOUR Championship. The last was Billy Horschel in 2014.

 

Dustin Johnson holds the first-round lead/co-lead for the 13th time in his career, most recently at the RBC Canadian Open. His last victory after holding the first-round lead/co-lead was the 2013 Hyundai Tournament of Champions.

 

Hideki Matsuyama has a share of the first round lead for the fourth time in his career. The last time he held the lead/co-lead after the first round he went on to win, at the Waste Management Phoenix Open.

 

Kevin Chappell’s only previous first-round lead was at the 2014 PGA Championship where he eventually finished T13.

 

The first-round leader/co-leader has won 10 of 43 stroke-play events this season, most recently Patrick Reed at The Barclays.

 

This is the first time since 2010 that three players have shared the first-round lead at the TOUR Championship. Paul Casey, Luke Donald and Geoff Ogilvy shared the lead after each shot 4-under 66. Donald finished runner-up to Jim Furyk, Casey finished T4 and Ogilvy was T13.

 

Kevin Kisner, #19 FedExCup, Projected #13

Kevin Kisner’s 3-under 67 is his first sub-par round at East Lake. Last year, in his first TOUR Championship appearance, Kisner shot 76-77-72-73—298 to finish 28th in the 29-player field.

 

Kisner is seeking his second win and seventh top-10 finish this season. His first PGA TOUR victory came at the RSM Classic where he won by six strokes. The win boosted Kisner to No. 1 in the FedExCup standings, a position he held for six weeks.

 

During the 10th season of the FedExCup, Kisner was one of a record 10 different players to have held the lead in the FedExCup standings this season. Others included Emiliano Grillo, Smylie Kaufman, Justin Thomas, Russell Knox, Brandt Snedeker, Adam Scott, Jason Day, Dustin Johnson and Patrick Reed.

 

Below are the number of different players to hold the lead in the FedExCup standings by season:

2015-16            10
2014-15            6
2013-14            6
2013                 6
2012                 9
2011                 9
2010                 8
2009                 6
2008                 5
2007                 6

 

Kevin Kisner’s opening rounds at the FedExCup Playoffs events this season;

R1                               Event                                               Result                   

70 (-1)                          The Barclays                                    T48

70 (-1)                          Deutsche Bank Championship           T46

70 (-2)                          BMW Championship                          T39

67 (-3)                          TOUR Championship                        —

 

Scenarios for Kevin Kisner to win the FedExCup;

  • Wins the TOUR Championship

And…

  • Dustin Johnson (#1) finishes T12 or worse
  • Patrick Reed (#2) finishes 5th or worse
  • Adam Scott (#3) finishes in a 3-way tie for 3rd or worse
  • Jason Day (#4) finishes 3rd or worse
  • Paul Casey (#5) finishes in a 3-way tie for 2nd or worse
  • Rory McIlroy (#6) finishes T2 or worse

 

Si Woo Kim, #18 FedExCup, Projected #12

Si Woo Kim is one of seven PGA TOUR rookies who qualified for the FedExCup Playoffs. Kim, at No. 18 in the FedExCup standings, and Emiliano Grillo (No. 9) are the only two who advanced to the TOUR Championship. In the history of the FedExCup Playoffs, no more than one rookie in a season has qualified for the TOUR Championship.

 

Kim earned PGA TOUR status for the 2013 season but played a total of eight events as a member, short of the 10-tournament minimum stated in the TOUR’s regulations under the rookie definition. Therefore, Kim is still in the running for Rookie of the Year honors.

 

Kim earned his first career top-10 finish early in the year at the Sony Open in Hawaii, where four rounds in the 60s, including an opening-round 64, led to a solo fourth for the young Korean. He was on the cusp of victory again after a final-round 63 at the Barbasol Championship left him in a playoff against Aaron Baddeley, which Baddeley won with a birdie on the fourth extra hole. Four starts later, Kim tied the tournament course record with a 10-under 60 in the second round of the Wyndham Championship and went on to win his first career PGA TOUR title. The win, which came nearly two months after his 21st birthday, made Kim the youngest player to win in the 2015-16 PGA TOUR Season.

 

With a win at the TOUR Championship, Kim, 21, would become the youngest champion at East Lake. Jordan Spieth was 22 years, 2 months as last year’s winner.

 

Scenarios for Si Woo Kim to win the FedExCup;

  • Wins the TOUR Championship

And…

  • Dustin Johnson (#1) finishes T11 or worse
  • Patrick Reed (#2) finishes 5th or worse
  • Adam Scott (#3) finishes in a 3-way tie for 3rd or worse
  • Jason Day (#4) finishes 3rd or worse
  • Paul Casey (#5) finishes in a 3-way tie for 2nd or worse

 

Jason Day, #4 FedExCup, Projected #5

For the sixth time in six starts at the TOUR Championship, Jason Day recorded a sub-par opening round. Here’s a look at Day’s starts at the TOUR Championship; (69/2010, 67/2011, 68/2013, 67/2014, 69/2015, 67/2016).

 

Following five wins in 2014-15, Jason Day is seeking his fourth win this season with victories at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, World Golf Championships-Dell Match Play and THE PLAYERS Championship. He is one of five players with multiple titles this season.

 

Along with his three victories on the season, Day has 10 top-10 finishes; three of those were in major championships (T10/Masters Tournament, T8/U.S. Open, 2/PGA Championship).

 

In the first two events of the FedExCup Playoffs, Day finished T4 and T15; he withdrew during the final round of BMW Championship, citing back issues.

 

Day has qualified for the TOUR Championship in five of the last six seasons, finishing T10 last year and T4 the year before that. Since last year’s TOUR Championship, he has not fallen below third in the Official World Golf Ranking and has maintained the top spot since capturing it after his win at the WGC-Dell Match Play.

 

Scenarios for Jason Day to win the FedExCup;

  • If he wins the TOUR Championship, he wins the FedExCup
  • Has a reasonable chance of winning with a 2nd place finish
  • Can finish as low as T-3 and still have a mathematical chance of winning

 

Additional Player Notes

Adam Scott lies T11 after a 1-under 69. Scott is the only player with top-10 finishes in the first three Playoffs events (T4/The Barclays, 4/Deutsche Bank Championship, T4/BMW Championship) and is seeking to become the fourth player to finish inside the top 10 in all four FedExCup Playoffs events in a single season. No player has ever finished inside the top five in all four Playoffs events in the same season. Scott won the TOUR Championship in 2006; his best finish in six appearances since the start of the FedExCup era is T6 in 2011. His only other top 10 at East Lake was T9 in 2014, his most recent appearance in the season finale.

 

Thursday’s 4-over 74 is Phil Mickelson’s second-highest opening round at this event (79/1995/Southern Hills CC). Mickelson, the oldest player in the field at 46, is making his 18thappearance in the TOUR Championship, the most of any player. Four players with 16 starts – Jim Furyk, Davis Love III, Vijay Singh and Ernie Els – rank second behind Mickelson with most appearances.

 

First Timers at the TOUR Championship

Seven players are making their first appearance at the TOUR Championship this week, including Russell Knox, Emiliano Grillo, Justin Thomas, Kevin Chappell, Si Woo Kim, William McGirt and Jhonattan Vegas. With a victory, they would join Chad Campbell (2003), Bart Bryant (2005), Bill Haas (2011) and Henrik Stenson (2013) as players to win the TOUR Championship in their first appearance (not including Tom Watson’s win at the first TOUR Championship in 1987).

 

FedExCup Notes

Here’s a year-by-year look at FedExCup winners and their performance throughout the Playoffs in the years they won:

 

Year FedExCup Champion Barclays  Deutsche Bank  BMW TOUR Ch.
2015

Jordan Spieth

MC

MC

T13

Won

2014

Billy Horschel

MC

T2

Won

Won

2013

Henrik Stenson

T43

Won

T33

Won

2012

Brandt Snedeker

2nd

6th

T37

Won

2011

Bill Haas

T24

T61

T16

Won

2010

Jim Furyk

DNP

T37

T15

Won

2009

Tiger Woods

T2

T11

Won

2nd

2008

Vijay Singh

Won

Won

T44

T22

2007

Tiger Woods

N/A

T2

Won

Won

 

Jordan Spieth (2015) and Brandt Snedeker (2012) are the only two past FedExCup champions at East Lake this year, and they have a chance to join Tiger Woods (2007, 2009) as the only two-time winner of the FedExCup. Spieth lies T7 after a 68. Snedeker posted 72 to lie T15.

 

Sean O’Hair, at No. 25 heading into the TOUR Championship, is the only player to advance to the TOUR Championship from those who entered the FedExCup Playoffs ranked No. 101 – 125 in the FedExCup standings. O’Hair lies T24 after a first-round 74 (+4).

 

Paul Casey (T7) is making his third appearance at the TOUR Championship, advancing to the season finale with two runner-up finishes, but without a victory, in each of those three seasons. This season, Casey was second at both the Deutsche Bank Championship and the BMW Championship. Last season, a T5 finish at the TOUR Championship followed playoff losses to James Hahn at the Northern Trust Open and Bubba Watson at the Travelers Championship. In 2010, Casey had runner-up finishes at the World Golf Championships-Dell Match Play and BMW Championship before finishing T4 at the TOUR Championship.

 

Rory McIlroy (T7), winner of the 2016 Deutsche Bank Championship, is the first player in FedExCup history to win one of the first three Playoffs events and not be among the top-five players who control their own destiny heading into the TOUR Championship. McIlroy began the TOUR Championship at No. 6, just 29 FedExCup points behind No. 5 Paul Casey.

 

Rookies and the FedExCup

Emiliano Grillo and Si Woo Kim are two of seven PGA TOUR rookies who qualified for the FedExCup Playoffs. Grillo, at No. 9 in the FedExCup standings, and Kim (No. 18) are the only two who advanced to the TOUR Championship. In the history of the FedExCup Playoffs, no more than one rookie in a season has qualified for the TOUR Championship.

 

Miscellaneous Notes

This year, the front and back nine holes at East Lake have been reversed for the TOUR Championship, providing significantly more drama on the finishing holes from past years. The opening hole, a 469-yard par 4 (previously No. 10), proved to be a difficult starting hole, with 15 bogeys and just three birdies recorded in the opening round. Hideki Matsuyama, in the seventh pairing of the day was the first player to birdie No. 1. Phil Mickelson opened his round with a birdie at the first, using a putter from just off the green to hole a shot from 94 feet, 7 inches. Dustin Johnson, in the final pairing as the leader in the FedExCup standings, made a putt from just over two feet for birdie to kick off his round. Since the FedExCup began in 2007, this hole has ranked as the second-most difficult with a scoring average of 4.171. In Thursday’s first round it ranked second-most difficult and averaged 4.400.

 

Scoring Averages for the par-70 East Lake Golf Club:

                                             Front 9             Back 9             Total       Cumulative

Thursday                               35.933              34.967              70.900

 

Bogey-free rounds:

R1 – Kevin Chappell (66)

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