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FedEx Cup Playoffs: 10 Surprising Names Outside the Top 30

Fred AltvaterContributor IISeptember 9, 2013

FedEx Cup Playoffs: 10 Surprising Names Outside the Top 30

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    After a week respite, the FedEx Cup playoffs resume with the BMW Championship from Conway Farms near Chicago.

    Only 30 of the 70 players in the field this week will qualify for a spot in the Tour Championship to be held at East Lake in Atlanta next week.

    Here are 10 of the top names currently outside the top 30 that need a good week at the BMW to move up and qualify for a shot a the FedEx Cup and $10 million that goes along with it. 

No. 31 Charles Howell III

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    Charles Howell III had a very good year in 2013.

    He started the year strong, as all five of his top-10 finishes came before April.

    Since then he has missed five cuts and does not have a top-10 finish.

    He ended the regular season at No. 27 in the FedEx Cup standings. A T-33 at The Barclays and a T-53 at the Deutsche Bank Championship has dropped him outside the top 30.

    He is only 23 points behind No. 30 Lee Westwood.

    A finish inside the top 30 at the BMW would assure him a spot at the Tour Championship 

No. 34 Nick Watney

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    Normally very consistent, Nick Watney had a subpar year in 2013. 

    He only recorded three top-10 finishes and missed seven cuts. 

    He finished the regular season ranked No. 63 in the FedEx Cup race.

    A T-9 at The Barclays and T-35 at the Deutsche Bank has moved him up to No. 34 and in position to qualify for the Tour Championship with a good finish this week.

    Watney is 78 points out of the top 30 and will probably need to finish inside the top 25 to get to Atlanta.

No. 36 Rickie Fowler

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    Rickie Fowler is yet another young American golfer that had a somewhat poor year on tour.

    He finished the season ranked No. 42 in the FedEx Cup standings and has improved his ranking, although he missed the cut at the Deutsche Bank Championship last week.

    His T-9 at The Barclays is giving him a chance to make the Tour Championship, but he needs a good finish this week in the BMW Championship.

     

No. 40 Bubba Watson

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    Bubba Watson only had three top-10 finishes in 2013. His best finish was T-4 at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions in January and the Travelers Championship in June.

    He was ranked No. 38 in the FedEx Cup at the beginning of the playoffs and has only managed to move up two spots thus far.

    His T-13 at The Barclays and T-67 at the Deutsche Bank has given him a chance to make the Tour Championship, but he is 134 points out of the top 30.

     

No. 41 Rory McIlroy

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    One of the biggest names outside the top 30 is Rory McIlroy.

    He won two FedEx Cup playoff tournaments last year but has struggled all season in 2013.

    His best finish this year was runner-up at the Valero Texas Open. He ended the regular season ranked No. 48 in the FedEx Cup race and has moved up to No. 41.

    He shot a 65 in the second round of The Barclays and posted a 64 in the third round of the Deutsche Bank Championship.

    He will need to put four good rounds together at Conway Farms to move inside the top 30 and make it to East Lake.

No. 43 Russell Henley

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    PGA Tour rookie Russell Henley won his first event at the Sony Open in Hawaii.

    He was the leading candidate for Rookie of the Year honors until Jordan Spieth caught fire.

    Henley finished the year at No. 24 in the FedEx Cup race, but he missed the cut at The Barclays and a T-67 at the Deutsche Bank has moved him outside the top 30 and in danger of missing the Tour Championship. 

No. 48 Graeme McDowell

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    Graeme McDowell won the RBC Heritage Classic and was third at the WGC-Cadillac.

    He finished the regular season ranked No. 28 in the FedEx Cup standings but has fallen to No. 48 after the first two playoff tournaments.

    He missed the cut at The Barclays and was T-47 at the Deutsche Bank Championship.

    He is always one of the favorites whenever he tees it up.

No. 52 Ian Poulter

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    After his extraordinary performance in the 2012 Ryder Cup, everyone expected Ian Poulter to have a monster year.

    He had four top-10 finishes in 2013 and ended the year ranked No. 70 on the FedEx Cup standings.

    He missed the cut at The Barclays but finished T-9 at the Deutsche Bank Championship and has moved up 18 spots in the rankings. 

    He will need another top-10 finish this week in the BMW to move on to Atlanta next week.

No. 54 Luke Donald

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    Luke Donald has not been able to regain the form that won him the money titles on both the European and PGA Tours in 2011.

    His best finish in 2013 was a third at the RBC Heritage Classic.

    He entered the FedEx Cup Playoffs ranked No. 55.

    He finished T-41 at both The Barclays and the Deutsche Bank Championship and is now No. 54.

    A good week at the BMW could get him into the Tour Championship and salvage an otherwise forgettable season.

No. 70 Ernie Els

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    Ernie Els has the farthest to go and not much time to get there.

    He was the last man to qualify for the BMW Championship and will need a top-10 finish to move on to the Tour Championship.

    Els entered the FedEx Cup playoffs at No. 82 and has improved 12 spots, but he is still nearly 450 points behind No. 30, Lee Westwood.

    He had a very good year in the U.S., but he can now focus on the European Tour's Race to Dubai.

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