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Golf Australia Express : GA Express 256
Or picture yourself in David Lingmerth’s shoes. Cruising towards a berth next week after three solid rounds – having started the week in 103rd – Lingmerth looked like imploding on Sunday after dropping five shots in four holes on the front nine. Only a couple of steadying birdies on the back nine saved him, and saw him finish tied for 29th, which was enough to vault him to 87th in the rankings. He lives to fight another week. And perhaps the most clutch performance of all came from Harold Varner, who showed that indifferent form for much of the season can be erased in a heartbeat if you find your game at the right end of the season. The American became only the fourth player in history to qualify for the second week of the Playoffs after being outside the points cutoff at the start of the final regular season event – the Wyndham Championship – as well as the first FedEx Cup event. Varner’s tie for 20th at the Northern Trust will see him start this week at number 91, while fellow underperformer Bubba Watson finally had something to smile about after an awful season, climbing from 113th to 72nd after finishing tied for 10th, and all but guaranteeing we’ll be seeing him in at least the third week of the Playoffs. As expected, the Playoffs have again injected some much-needed impetus and excitement into the final quartet of PGA Tour events, where players would formerly have considered an early holiday. If we could be critical of anything at all, it’s that the top end of the Playoffs again have an air of predictability. Perhaps it’s because, for all its current depth, the top end of the field is just far too good for a smoky to come from nowhere and steal a win. Or maybe it’s because the courses are setup almost exclusively for monster hitters like Johnson and Co. It’s a debate that will no doubt continue, given that perhaps the most telling statistic from The Northern Trust was Johnson’s proximity-to- hole average, which at just over 25 feet was not only the best in the field, it was the best by a staggering 12 feet. But what do you expect when you’re consistently as much as 50m further up the fairway than some of your opponents? While it’s thrilling to watch Johnson and the rest of the heavy hitters go to work off the tee over these four weeks, a course that requires more thought and restraint would be a welcome addition. And now we move to TPC Boston for the Dell Technologies Championship, which at 6598m is only about 115m shorter than Glen Oaks Club. It will again favour those who crush it off the tee, albeit with a little more finesse in places. The race for the FedEx Cup is very much alive, but a big showing from the same group of leaders will give them one hand on the final prize. E
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GA Express 257