FedEx roundup: Bubba, Rory, Luke outside top 30


And then there were 70 in the FedEx Cup.

Seven players kept 2013 seasons alive by climbing inside the top 70 bubble at the Deutsche Bank Championship.

Most impressive, perhaps, was Brendan Steele, who birdied the last four holes Monday at TPC Boston to jump from 89th to 69th. Ernie Els held onto the No. 70 spot by a fraction of a point.

Kevin Stadler (75 to 32), Brian Davis (80 to 43), Ian Poulter (77 to 52), Marc Leishman (76 to 58) and Nicholas Thompson (73 to 59) were the other players who played their way into the BMW Championship, which begins next Thursday at Conway Farms outside Chicago. Each finished T-22 or better at the Deutsche Bank.

As a result, Ryan Palmer, Freddie Jacobson, Martin Laird, David Lingmerth, Kyle Stanley, Cameron Tringale and Tim Clark all went from inside to outside the FedEx Cup bubble. Six of the seven players missed the cut in Boston (Tringale was T-67).

Other notable stats: All five players (Martin Kaymer, Greg Chalmers, Erik Compton, Stuart Appleby and Camilo Villegas) who began the playoffs ranked Nos. 101-125 were eliminated in the second event. And only two rookies remain in the FedEx Cup, No. 10 Jordan Spieth and No. 43 Russell Henley. Since the Cup began in 2007, only five rookies have made it all the way to the Tour Championship.     

The new bubble boy is Lee Westwood, at No. 30. But the other notable players with work to do if they want to get to East Lake: Rickie Fowler (36), Bubba Watson (40), Rory McIlroy (41), Graeme McDowell (48) and Luke Donald (54).

Once the playoffs begin, the BMW cut is the most important. Sure, anyone who makes the 30-man Tour Championship has a mathematical shot at the $10 million prize. But the bigger perk for many is that they’ll have a spot in the year’s first three majors.