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Casey: East Lake volatility influenced schedule

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GREENSBORO, N.C. – Paul Casey is forging a unique path toward the FedExCup Playoffs.

Casey is the only player in the field at this week’s Wyndham Championship among the top 10 in the season-long points race, eager to improve his position in the Wyndham Rewards and potentially snag a seven-figure bonus with a second win of the season. But he’s also notably absent from the field at next week’s Northern Trust, the first of just three postseason events.

That was a conscious choice by the Englishman, who was otherwise looking at a run of six starts in as many weeks from The Open to the Tour Championship. But it’s also rooted in a bit of gamesmanship, as Casey believes the prudent play was to fight for the tangible bonus payout offered this week and then take his chances at East Lake, where the starting scores for the 30-man field will be staggered from even par to 10 under based on players' positions in the points race.

“With our system, I think there’s more volatility this year,” Casey said. “I know the mathematicians say that’s not the case, but I think they have no idea about what’s going to happen at East Lake. It’s exciting stuff, so I was willing to sacrifice maybe a position or two because I really feel I need as much energy going into that Tour Championship.”

Full-field scores from the Wyndham Championship

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Among the players already qualified for the 125-man Northern Trust, only Casey, Henrik Stenson and Sam Burns failed to commit by Friday’s deadline.

Casey entered the week eighth in points, a position that come Sunday would translate into a $600,000 bonus in the Wyndham Rewards. He could drop to ninth depending on what Webb Simpson does, but Casey could also jump as high as fourth with a victory Sunday. He’ll start the final round in a tie for fifth at 14 under, two shots behind Simpson and three behind leader Byeong-Hun An.

“I fancy my chances, but there’s a lot of great players near the top of that leaderboard,” Casey said. “It’s certainly going to be a fun Sunday. It’s going to be a bit of a shootout.”