Geoff Ogilvy dropped out but Adam Scott has made a surprise return to the FedEx Cup playoffs as six Australasians make the trek to Boston for the second of the end of season events.
The field has been cut from 125 to 100 and, after a week off next week, only 70 will advance to Illinois for the penultimate event at Conway Farms Golf Club.
Scott was originally expecting to skip the first two playoff events as wife Marie gave birth to the couple’s second child.
Given his position on the FedEx Cup at the end of the regular season that would have meant he didn’t qualify for the third event as he would have fallen outside the top 70 but with son Byron safely entering the world last week, Scott made the last minute decision to return to TPC Boston for the Dell Technologies Championship.
Scott has played this event in its various incarnations 11 times and is yet to miss the cut, winning in 2003 and amassing five other top 10 finishes, three of those in the top five.
His play this year has been solid though uninspired but the fact he is here, and needing to play well to climb from his current 73rd position to earn a berth in Illinois, is testament to his motivation.
Scott is the lowest ranked of the Australasians heading to Thursday and one of only two outside the top 70, Rod Pampling the other at 71st.
Pampling’s record at TPC Boston is the polar opposite of Scott’s, the veteran Queenslander needing to make his second cut in five tries if his season is to extend another week.
Further up the standings Danny Lee at 62 is not out of danger of his season ending early though at 44th Cameron Smith should be safe to book a room in Illinois.
For Smith the goal is to climb into the top 30 by the end of the third event and get to Atlanta for the Tour Championship, a tall order given his form in missing the cut last week.
However, Smith showed how quickly form can change when he broke a run of five outs in six starts with a T7 at the Wyndham Championship two weeks ago and could easily do so again this week.
Jason Day and Marc Leishman round out the Australasian challenge, the pair inside the top 30 and among the legitimate contenders for the trophy and its $10 million bonus.
Day’s difficult year has been well documented but close observers of the Queenslander will have liked what they saw in his T6 finish last week.
In danger of missing the cut after nine holes of his second round, Day showed the tenacity for which he has become best known, clawing his way from the bottom of the field to the top 10.
For all his considerable physical skill, determination might be the best weapon in Day’s bag and he will be determined to get to East Lake for the grand finale.
Missing the cut last week in New York didn’t help Marc Leishman’s cause as the Victorian fell from 14th to 20th in the standings and while he is assured of teeing up next week is now less certain of an appearance in the 30-man final.
2017 has been Leishman’s best year as a Professional and last week’s missed cut was just his third of the season suggesting it was the exception to the rule.
This will be his ninth appearance at TPC Boston and while he is yet to post a top 10 he has only failed to qualify for the weekend once, an encouraging statistic given what is at stake.
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