Sport: Rally time? Five players outside top 70 who could extend playoffs in Memphis

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We’ve reached the survive-and-advance portion of the PGA Tour calendar: the FedExCup Playoffs.

The Tour’s postseason begins Thursday at TPC Southwind in Memphis as 122 players (minus three injured top-125 players in points) tee it up in the FedEx St. Jude Championship. After this week, the playoff field will be whittled down to 70 players for next week’s BMW Championship.

Only the top 30 players in points after the BMW qualify for the playoff finale, the Tour Championship, at East Lake in Atlanta.

Full list of the 125 players headed to the FedExCup Playoffs

While the likes of Scottie Scheffler and Cameron Smith are guaranteed to make it to East Lake, other players at the opposite end of the standings are fighting just to get past the first week – names such as Adam Scott, Justin Rose, Webb Simpson and Rickie Fowler, the last player into the playoffs.

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So, who outside the current top 70 could get hot and make a payoff rally?

Here are five names to watch:

76. Adam Long

Amazingly, Long is just a handful of spots outside the top 70 despite not posting a top-10 finish all season. He did, however, notch 10 top-25 finishes in 27 starts, including four straight top-25s before withdrawing from Wyndham with an illness. Assuming he’s healthy, he’s been solid enough of late that he could easily make up the 63 or so points he currently trails No. 70 by. He was T-24 (another top-25!) in his only previous trip to Southwind, in 2019.

77. Adam Scott

The veteran Aussie has teed it up just 15 times this year, a career low if you throw out 2020, which in turn has provided him the least number of opportunities to earn points. However, he’s shown up in big events this summer with top-15s at The Open and U.S. Open. If he’s motivated to make a run to East Lake, he’s got the ability. However, one knock is he didn’t finish better than T-36 in his two WGC starts in Memphis.

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80. Joel Dahmen

After Dahmen’s buddy Harry Higgs didn’t qualify for the playoffs, the Tour’s social channel could take another blow if Dahmen doesn’t play well in Memphis. Dahmen has cooled off mightily since his T-10 at the U.S. Open (two MCs, best finish of 69th in four starts), but he did tie for 20th here at the WGC event in 2020.

94. Justin Rose

The Englishman finished solo 11th at TPC Southwind in 2019 and his T-54 here last year would’ve been much better if not for a closing 75 that erased three straight 69s to start the tournament. He hasn’t played much, teeing it up just six times since the Masters, but he’s got top-15s at the PGA and RBC Canadian Open (T-4) during that span, and he’s the only player other than Adam Scott who is ranked outside the top 70 in points who is also ranked inside the top 50 (44th to be exact; Scott is 21st) in the Golfweek/Sagarin rankings, which is the best indicator of more recent form.

110. Ryan Palmer

This is the home-run pick as Palmer, at No. 110 in points, needs something special to advance another week. He’s got the credentials at Southwind, however, to do just that. In 11 starts in Memphis when the event was a non-WGC, Palmer posted three top-10s, including a T-3 in 2012 and solo fourth in 2013. He also made his last seven cuts. And then when this event became a WGC, Palmer teed it up twice, with finishes of T-15 and T-26 in 2020 and 2021, respectively. The negative: he’s got just one top-10 finish individually this year.

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