The Barclays: beginning of the end

The FedExCup regular season has ended and now the top 125 players battle it out over four tournaments, starting with The Barclays this week. Louis Oosthuizen squeaked into the tournament ranked 123rd in the FedExCup standings and he’ll need to bring his A-game to Ridgewood Country Club this week in order to make the top 100 and continue progressing.

There are huge opportunities at the playoffs, with five times the amount of FedExCup points being offered up. That means the 2010 Open Champion can dramatically alter his chances in just one tournament.

Canada’s Graeme DeLaet has done at the last two Barclays, finishing in the top five in both 2012 and 2013 and thus earning enough points each year to progress right through to the Tour Championship.

A similar road lies ahead for Oosthuizen, who needs to climb at least 23 spots in the points rankings to make the grade for The Deutsche Bank Championship in a week’s time.

There is no shortage of competition this week, with Rory McIlroy looking unstoppable of late. Behind him are a host of names that are nearly as dangerous. 

Rickie Fowler has three top-threes at the majors this year and Sergio Garcia has three runner-up finishes from his last five starts. Jim Furyk has been Mr. Consistent for the last three months and Adam Scott has been quiet for too long. 

On the South African front it’s Charl Schwartzel who heads up the local crew. The Vereeniging local has 10 top-20s from his last 15 starts and finished tied for 15th at the PGA Championship a fortnight ago.

“I played fairly well the whole tournament, actually,” he said. “I had real putting issues sort of rounds two and three and probably killed my chances of winning, but definitely played good enough to win or at least contend. I'm happy with the decent way that I played.”

Oosthuizen is of the same calibre as this week’s favourites, but he hasn’t shown it in recent months. He didn’t perform too well until the PGA Championship, where he joined the tie for 15th.  The 32-year-old from Mossel Bay faces a big task this week and has to produce a similar result in order to keep his playoffs hopes alive.



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