Justin Thomas’s second straight solid day at East Lake has him in the driver’s seat at the TOUR Championship, with his sights squarely on the FedEx Cup
If the Tour Championship ended today, Justin Thomas would be the winner of the FedEx Cup, and Jordan Spieth would be on the outside looking in. Luckily for Spieth, he has two more days to find his golf game and edge his way back into a position to secure the FedEx Cup and, potentially, the Tour Championship.
Spieth doesn’t have to win the tournament to win the FedEx Cup, but it would make things easier for him. Thomas, meanwhile, just keeps to keep doing what he is doing because he’s in the lead.
"“I had a couple wedges I didn’t hit as close as I felt like I should have and just really hit some good putts that I don’t know how they didn’t go in,” Thomas said after his round. “I feel pretty good over the putter, I feel like I’m rolling it down my lines. Just need to match the speed up a little bit more and see what we can do.”"
He said his wedge game was not as good as it was in round one, and he was headed to the range to work it out. He is keeping his strategy of teeing the ball low to keep it in the fairway.
So, with Spieth in potentially perilous position, maybe it’s time to see what the scenarios are for others on the leaderboard to win the Cup. Thomas is currently tied with Paul Casey and Webb Simpson, but others are on their heels, including Patrick Reed, Justin Rose, Gary Woodland and Jon Rahm.
We all know anyone in the top five in points at starting the Tour Championship wins the FedEx Cup with a victory. That includes Thomas and Rahm. But what if one of the other challengers wins this week? Then what happens? Right now, it’s a mathematical nightmare.
FedEx Cup scenarios abound for favorites, chasers
Thomas, who was 4-under in the second round, just needs a top three finish this week, with Spieth and Dustin Johnson finishing lower. Right now he is in a tie for the top spot at 7-under. He can finish as low as 9th, according to the PGA Tour, depending on what other golfers do, and still win the season long competition. If he wins this week, he’s the outright winner of both the FedEx Cup and the Tour Championship. He’s probably Player of The Year on the PGA Tour.
Webb Simpson, currently leading the Tour Championship, has undergone a rebirth in his game since learning to play without the long putter that he used to win the U.S. Open. He was 16th on the points list entering the Tour Championship. For him to win the FedEx Cup, he needs a lot of help from the rest of the field.
Simpson must win the Tour Championship and have Spieth finish T-10 or lower, have Thomas finish T-4 or lower, have Dustin Johnson finish 3rd or lower, and have Rahm, Marc Leishman and Rickie Fowler finish T-2 or lower. He could win the tournament and have someone else win the FedEx Cup. Right now Spieth and Johnson are T-15, Rahm is T-4. Leishman is T-24, and Fowler is 29th.
Paul Casey, also tied for the lead, began the week in the 10th spot. He needs a lot of help from several players to win the FedExCup. Casey must win the Tour Championship, have Spieth finish in a three-way tie for 4th or lower, have Justin Thomas finish T-3 or lower, have Johnson finish in a three-way T-2 or lower, have Leishman finish T-2 or worse and have Rahm finish second or lower.
The next group is tied at 6-under par. It includes Justin Rose, Patrick Reed, Gary Woodland and Rahm.
Justin Rose, the 2016 Olympic gold medalist, has the pedigree to win the Tour Championship and FedExCup. Like Simpson, he needs help from those who are higher up in points. Rose must win the Tour Championship and have Spieth finish lower than third and Thomas finish T-2 or worse.
Patrick Reed began the week in 23rd place. Like Dufner, he needs a lot of help from the rest of the world’s best if he has any chance to win the FedExCup. The only way Reed wins the FedExCup is if Spieth ends the week in a three-way tie for 19th or lower, if Thomas finishes T-6 or lower, if Johnson finishes T-3 or lower, if Leishman and Rahm are in a three-way tie for 2nd or lower, and if Fowler ends the week T-2 or lower.
Gary Woodland started the Tour Championship in 28th place and needs a mountain of help from several players. To win the FedExCup, he has to win the Tour Championship and then the following things have to happen: Spieth must finish in a two-way T-26 or lower; Thomas has to finish T-8 or lower; Johnson has to be in a three-way tie for 3rd or lower; Leishman and Rahm have to be in a three-way tie for 2nd or lower; Fowler has to finish T-2 or lower and Matsuyama has to be T-2 or lower.
More from Pro Golf Now
- Golf Rumors: LIV set to sign Masters Champion in stunning deal
- Fantasy Golf: Grant Thornton Invitational DFS Player Selections
- Brutal return leaves Will Zalatoris looking towards 2024
- Stars You Know at World Champions Cup Starts Thursday at Concession
- Fantasy Golf: An Early Look at the 2024 Masters Tournament
Rahm is a rising star in 2017, a lock for rookie of the year. He’s won a tournament and made it to the top 30 in his first full season. If he is able to win this week, he secures the FedExCup as well as the Tour Championship. However, mathematically, he could win the FedExCup without winning the tournament if he is in a two-way tie for second, depending on who wins. It all depends on how those ahead of him in points fare on Sunday.
By the end of the day tomorrow, computing devices be blowing up trying to keep track of who’s going up and who’s going down the leaderboard and figuring out where they have to finish or how many places they have to advance to win the FedExCup on Sunday. Just sit back and let Steve Sands of Golf Channel do the math for you.
Justin Thomas has had an incredible year – can he keep it up for 36 more holes and win it all?