Matt Cooper

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The Roundup: Rain Games

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Recap of the day
Early Movers: Tommy Fleetwood smashed a second successive 8-under-par 62, thrusting himself into contention in the process. He set the clubhouse target and only three players had bettered it by the end of the day.
Late starters: Tiger Woods completed only his second bogey-free round of the year (66). Nearer the top of the scoring, Rory McIlroy's 63 saw him rush into T2 and Rickie Fowler was all set to join him until a 54th hole bogey knocked him back into a tie with Fleetwood. Xander Schauffele followed Fowler with bogey at the last to join McIlroy in second, whilst Justin Rose's 64 earned him a precious one shot 54-hole lead.
Low round of the day: Fleetwood's dashing 62
Revised outright betting: Rose 2/1, McIlroy 16/5, Schauffele 7/1, Fowler 10/1, Fleetwood 11/1
Sunday weather forecast
A drop in temperatures (high 50s), more rain (a certainty) and even more humidity (94%). Plenty of fears that, instead of Saturday's delays, Sunday will witness disruption that lasts into next week.
Leaders after 54 holes
Justin Rose (64, 193) - A tale of two nines: He thrashed the front nine with six birdies, all of them from inside 20-feet; then he turned Nick Faldo on the back nine with nothing but pars.
Rory McIlroy (63, 194) - Missed just two fairways and three greens in regulation. More importantly, he made so many putts and birdies that he could cope with a double bogey-5. Holed from outside 10-feet four times including 41'4" at the last.
Xander Schauffele (67, 194) - A solid round in which he gave himself nine looks at birdie from inside 20-feet through 17 holes. Took only four of them, however, and that hurt when he failed to scramble par at the last.
Fate of the Favourites
Dustin Johnson (64, 202) - Much more like it. He missed just two greens in regulation  and his six birdies were unanswered by dropped shots.
Justin Rose - see above
Brooks Koepka (65, 202) - He missed just four greens in regulation through 36 holes and that remains the case after 54. Ticked five birdies and was bogey-free.
Tommy Fleetwood (62, 195) - "Obviously I hit it great for two days. I drove it really well on Thursday and just didn't put the rest of the game together. Honestly, I really want to go home so I'll be hoping the weather holds up for us and we can go home because I'm well overdue getting to my house. My wife's birthday party is next week."
Tiger Woods (66, 198) - "One of those days where it was really frustrating because I hit the ball well enough to shoot a low score and I got off to a quick start, birdieing the first two. Joey was tripping in my ear to stay patient out there because I was getting a little hot."
Rickie Fowler (65, 195) - "Today was nice. It would have been nice to get a couple more and not make bogey at the last. Puts me into good spot for tomorrow."
Rory McIlroy (63,194) - "I'm really proud of myself how I bounced back after the double on 8 with the eagle and how I played the back-9. I just said the conditions were get a little difficult out there with the wind and just got a little chilly."

Justin Rose (64, 193) - "Maybe Colonial felt like a little bit like this, par 70 golf course that was also a little bit soft. There we were 20-under there through four rounds. Felt like it was a golf course you had to keep making birdies. If the weather was fair tomorrow then I'd say yeah, you need another round in the mid 60s. I don't quite know how tomorrow is going to play out. I don't think anyone knows what to expect. One shot at a time tomorrow."

Road to Victory at the BMW 
2017 Marc Leishman – R1: 1st, R2: 1st, R3: 1st
2016 Dustin Johnson – R1: 3rd, R2: 1st, R3: 1st
2015 Jason Day – R1: 1st, R2: 1st, R3: 1st
2014 Billy Horschel – R1: 4th, R2: 3rd, R3: 1st
2013 Zach Johnson – R1: 2nd, R2: 3rd, R3: 4th
Notes: Four of the last four winners were head after 54 holes and, what's more, they were a long way clear; at least three shots in fact. All 11 previous champions of this event were T4 or better and within three.
Fate of the 54-hole Leaders in the BMW - where did they finish?
2017 Marc Leishman - 1st
2016 Dustin Johnson - 1st
2015 Jason Day - 1st
2014 Billy Horschel - 1st
2013 Jim Furyk - 3rd
Notes: Four from four in recent history and in all 11 editions of the event seven solo of shared leads have produced the winner.
Focus on -  The FedExCup
Only the top 30 in the rankings will progress to the season-ending TOUR Championship in two week's time. Current projected rankings and movements are listed below:
Projected Top 5 after R3
On the up - moved from outside to inside the top 30 today
Xander Schauffele - 41st to projected 12th
Keegan Bradley - 52nd to projected 30th
Going down - moved from inside to outside the top 30 today
Emiliano Grillo - 29th to projected 32nd
Jordan Spieth - 27th to projected 31st
On the number
Keegan Bradley has to keep the pace up! 
Focus on - The Ryder Cup
Jim Furyk has one wildcard pick to make and, of course, conventional wisdom has it that Tony Finau was in pole position ahead of this week. He currently lies T15 whilst Xander Schauffele, his nearest competitor it is assumed, is challenging for the lead. It makes for a fascinating final round sub-plot.
But what of the other golfers heading towards Paris? Phil Mickelson might be thanking his lucky stars that he already has the captain's nod, because having lurched his way round three laps he's last but one in the field. 
Elsewhere, Rickie Fowler has made a fine return to competitive action (currently T3), Justin Thomas, Patrick Reed, Tiger Woods and Webb Simpson are ticking along nicely, all in the top 15. Brooks Koepka, Dustin Johnson, Bubba Watson and Jordan Spieth have had better weeks; the former two are less of a concern than the latter pair.
For the Europeans, the form of Rose, Fleetwood and McIlroy will be a huge boost, as is the return to form of Francesco Molinari (T7). Jon Rahm thrashed a Saturday 65 to offer some hope of form, Alex Noren's putter dried up (level par Saturday), Henrik Stenson (T33) has, at least, suggested he's no longer injured, whilst Ian Poulter, Paul Casey and Tyrrell Hatton are all T44 or worse. A mixed bag.

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