Who are the Leading Players for the 2017 FedEx Cup?

The 2017 FedEx Cup Playoffs begin later this month on the PGA Tour, which will end once again with the Tour Championship at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta - after which the 2017 FedEx Cup champion will be crowned.

This year's race is as tight as ever heading into the playoffs, with at least ten players in contention to take the bonus prize for finishing the season at the top of the points standings. Here is a look at some of those golfers who have had a consistent year and are in touching distance of top place.

Rickie Fowler

Rickie Fowler is fifth in the FedEx Cup standings going into the playoffs because the American has had the joint-leading number of ten finishes, with nine this season along with Justin Thomas. The 23-year-old also has one victory to his name as he was successful in The Honda Classic back in February, where he scored by four strokes ahead of Morgan Hoffman and Gary Woodland.

Who are the Leading Players for the 2017 FedEx Cup?Credit: Powerhouse Golf via Twitter

Although Fowler will end 2017 still looking for his maiden Major Championship win, he has been in contention in two of the big four tournaments as he ended the US Open in a tie for fifth, while he was also fifth in the US PGA Championship at Quail Hollow earlier this month.

Fowler has just the one playoff tournament win as he was victorious at the 2015 Deutsche Bank Championship in 2015, and will, therefore, be keen to put that record straight and end the campaign well. The American will be part of the USA team that is defending their title in the Presidents Cup later next month against Team International.

The former number-one-ranked amateur has had the best scoring average of his career this season, with 69.047. It is his second-highest finish in the regular season, which means he goes into the playoffs much closer to the top of the standings than he normally is.

Dustin Johnson

The way he started 2017, Dustin Johnson looked certain to the top FedEx Cup standings heading into the playoffs, as the world number one was on a roll on the PGA Tour, winning three tournaments in the space of five weeks between February and March. Johnson's run came to a halt, though, on the eve of the opening Major Champions of 2017, the Masters, as he fell down the stairs which resulted in him withdrawing from Augusta with a back injury. Since that nasty incident in Georgia, Johnson has not recovered to the form he peaked at at the turn of the year.

Johnson was fancied at the start of 2017 to at least double his Major Championship tally, as his sole win in the four big tournaments in golf came in the 2016 US Open. He won on that occasion by three shots in an impressive performance where he shot four solids rounds at Oakmont Country Club.

Such is the quality of his game, Johnson will expect to return to form again in the playoffs and a victory in the FedEx Cup would offer him some compensation for what has been a disappointing season in the big events so far.

The 33-year-old has won the BMW Championship on two occasions in the playoffs and is the former winner of The Barclays. A strong finish is needed from the South Carolina-born golfer to cement his place at the top of the world rankings as Hideki Matsuyama has closed the gap following his victory in the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational recently.

Kevin Kisner

It has been a big year for American Kevin Kisner, as not only has he won his second PGA Tour title in 2017, but he finished in the top ten of a Major for the first time in his career. That was achieved in the most recent US PGA Championship, where he finished in a tie for seventh after being in contention for the majority of the 72 holes.

Kisner played extremely well on the final day of the Dean & Dulce Invitational in Fort Worth, Texas to finish with a round of 66, which was enough for the title as he was one stroke ahead of Sean O'Hair, Jon Rahm and Jordan Spieth on a packed final-day leaderboard.

That win in Texas was a great way for the 33-year-old to bounce back from losing in a playoff with doubles partner Scott Brown in the Zurich Classic of New Orleans. The American pair went into the extra holes against Jonas Blixt and Cameron Smith and were eliminated when their opponents made a birdie on the fourth hole and they could only match it with a par.

Kisner came close to winning the biggest prize of his career at Quail Hollow in the final Major of the year as he led after each of the opening three rounds. The American started with a pair of 67s and then a level-par round was enough to give him a one-shot lead going into the final Sunday. Sadly for Kisner, he struggled in the final round, where he had to settle in the clubhouse with a 74, which meant he dropped right down the leaderboard.

Kisner has been one of the breakthrough players of the season on the PGA Tour and always proves a popular player pundits in the game like to tip up in the big tournaments, just like he was on the Oddschecker golf preview of the recent Wyndham Championship. The consistent former Web.com graduate has made nine of his last ten cuts. He has now won eight tournaments around the world and will be pushing for a place in some of the USA team competitions over the next 18 months.

Brooks Koepka

The way that Brooks Koepka closed out his opening Major Championship win in the US Open back in June, you would not have thought he was a player who was on the verge of the biggest victory of his career. The former European Tour member went away from his rivals on the back nine on the Sunday at Erin Hills to win by four strokes. Koepka drove the ball better than any golfer in the field in the second Major of the year and held his nerve on the greens to end the week as a deserving winner of the trophy.

Brooks Koepka closed out his opening Major Championship winCredit: Golf Digest via Twitter

Koepka is now playing the best golf of his career and has performed consistently well in all four Major Championships in 2017; his worst finish came in the US PGA Championship where he ended the tournament in a tie for 13th.

The man from West Palm Beach in Florida is now a regular on the PGA Tour; however, in the early stages of his career, he moved across to Europe to play on the Challenge Tour. After four victories, he then earned his card on the European Tour.

Koepka is now inside the top 25 of the world rankings and a strong finish in the FedEx Cup playoffs could see him end the 2017 campaign inside the top ten, where he will be among the big names in the sport.

Hideki Matsuyama

Japanese star Matsuyama is the current leader of the FedEx Cup standings, a position he claimed following his win in the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational earlier this month. The world number two has been successful in three tournaments so far this season. He got his campaign off to a flying start in the WGC-HSBC Championship in October in a dominant performance as he was at least seven shots better than anybody else in the field.

In February his victory in the Waste Management Phoenix Open was much tighter he needed a playoff to see off Webb Simpson for the top prize. Going into the final round of his recent World Golf Championship win, he had a two shot deficit but turned that around to win by five strokes.

Matsuyama is still bidding for his first Major Championship victory and is seen as the most likely player in the sport to break his maiden next. The closest the 25 year old has come was in the 2017 US Open where he finished second behind Koepka. The eight-time Japan Gold Tour winner had rounds of 65 and 66 at Erin Hills.

The current leader of the FedEx Cup has a 180 point lead ahead of Justin Thomas going into the opening playoff event. He may not need to win any of the post-season tournaments to land the bonus prize, however, a victory in one of the events could help him seal the trophy.

Jon Rahm

Former world number one ranked amateur Rahm has not taken long to fly up the rankings in the professional ranks as he is now as high as number six in the standings after a very good season. Rahm's maiden PGA Tour win came at the Farmers Insurance Open in January.

The majority of Rahm's FedEx Cup points have come from the World Golf Championship events in 2017. On his debut in the Mexico Championship, the Spaniard finished in a tie for third behind Johnson and Tommy Fleetwood respectively. He then went a place better in the WGC-Match Play Championship as he was runner-up after losing the final to Johnson.

Rahm warmed up perfectly for the Open Championship in July with a win in the 2017 Irish Open, where he finished on -24 at Portstewart. The 22-year-old will have been disappointed with his performances in the Major Championships as his best performance was a tie for 27th in the Masters at Augusta back in April.

Jordan Spieth

2015 FedEx Cup winner Spieth won the third Major of his career this season in the Open Championship at Royal Birkdale, a victory which brought up his 11th success on the PGA Tour. The former world number one went into the US PGA Championship with the opportunity to become the youngest ever winner of the Grand Slam in the sport. Sadly for the Texan, he was unable to put himself in contention at Quail Hollow; therefore, he will have to wait until 2018 to complete the set of Major Championships.

Spieth is one of only four players to have won three or more tournaments on the PGA Tour in the 2016/17 campaign. His run started in the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am in February where he scored by four strokes. A second win came from a playoff success in the Travellers Championship. The American holed from the bunker on the first extra-hole on the 18th to beat Daniel Berger.

At Royal Birkdale, it looked to be all going wrong for Spieth on the back nine on the Sunday when he hit a wayward tee-shot on the 13th hole. The Ryder Cup winner from 2016 escaped with a bogey and then responded with birdie-eagle-birdie-birdie to take away the tournament from his closest rival Matt Kuchar.

Spieth won the Tour Championship in 2015, which helped him seal the FedEx Cup. That victory in Atlanta is his only post-season win going into the 2017 playoffs.

Justin Thomas

Justin Thomas capped off what has been a fantastic season for the young American in the US PGA Championship where he not only won his first Major championship, but his fourth PGA Tour win of the campaign.

Justin Thomas young American in the US PGA ChampionshipCredit: Justin Thomas via Twitter

Thomas shot a 68 on the final day at Quail Hollow, which was enough to leave him two strokes clear of Francesco Molinari, Louis Oosthuizen and Patrick Reed, who all had to settle for a tie in second place.

The season started well for Thomas as he began the campaign by defending his title in CIMB Classic. In January, he was the winner of the SBS Tournament of Champions in Hawaii. A week later, he showed his liking for the American state as he prevailed in the Sony Open in Hawaii.

Thomas will be hoping he can reduce the deficit on Matsuyama early in the FedEx Cup playoffs. An early victory though would see him leapfrog the Japanese player at the top of the standings.

The Tour Championship takes place on September 20 through to September 24. Rory McIlroy is the defending champion but the Northern Irishman may not qualify into the field of 30 players this year.


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By Mo Johnson, Copyright © 2006-2017 SECSportsFan.com

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