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FedEx Cup Playoffs Top 70: Phil Mickelson advances despite missing cut at Liberty National

August 23, 2021

Sarah Stier

Phil Mickelson had a quick exit at the playoff-opening Northern Trust, missing the cut at Liberty National. But his season will live for at least one more week.

Mickelson was the last player into the BMW Championship Cup, advancing to the FedEx Cup Playoffs' second leg at No. 70 in the standings.

Tony Finau, who knocked off Cameron Smith in a playoff on Monday to capture the Northern Trust, enters the BMW Championship first in the FedEx Cup standings. Finau is followed by World No. 1 Jon Rahm, Smith, Patrick Cantlay and Justin Thomas.

But the FedEx Cup is a game within a game, and most of Monday's drama (at least until tournament's end) was on the "other" score board. The two biggest movers in the Cup race were Tom Hoge, whose T-4 at Liberty National moved him from 108th to 48th, and Alex Noren, who jumped 48 spots off a T-4 finish. Keith Mitchell also saw triumph on Monday, birdieing the final three holes to go from outside the top 70 (101st) to comfortably in.

“I just love competing. I love playing golf. I love being out here and I reminded myself, two days playing in the last group with Justin Thomas, these are the nerves that you want. These are the kind of moments that you practice and play for,” Mitchell said after a T-9 finish. “That's kind of the attitude I had this week, and coming down the stretch with three birdies is the same kind of thing where you just really are just enjoying being out here and enjoying competing and trying to do your best.”

Another notable leap came from Harry Higgs, who turned in a 66 on Saturday and 68 on Monday to keep playing for another week.

“Just get another chance to go and win a golf tournament. I'm sure the position that I will have advanced in heading into next week, I pretty much have one choice, maybe I could finish second and make it to East Lake [for the Tour Championship],” Higgs said of advancing. “Again, I'm no good with numbers, I don't know how it works but I'm pretty sure if I win next week I will be into Atlanta, which is obviously a goal. It's a goal of all of ours and a goal of mine throughout last two years.”

On the other end of that spectrum, a number of bubble players saw their bubbles burst. Matthew Fitzpatrick began the week at No. 60 but dropped to No. 73 after missing the cut. Fellow Englishman Tyrrell Hatton also went from the inside to out after failing to make the weekend. Matthew Wolff was the last man out at No. 71. Wolff, who took a mid-year sabbatical for his mental health, began this superseason with runner-up finishes at the 2020 U.S. Open and 2020 Shriners, but had just two top-20 finishes in 14 events in 2021.

As for Mickelson, the 51-year-old will need to reverse his recent fortunes to reach the season finale at East Lake. Aside from that magical week at Kiawah, Mickelson’s had just one finish inside the top 60 (a T-17 at the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational).

Here are the top 70 players advancing to the BMW Championship.

1. Tony Finau
2. Jon Rahm
3. Cam Smith
4. Patrick Cantlay
5. Justin Thomas
6. Collin Morikawa
7. Jordan Spieth
8. Harris English
9. Bryson DeChambeau
10. Abraham Ancer
11. Louis Oosthuizen
12. Sam Burns
13. Xander Schauffele
14. Viktor Hovland
15. Brooks Koepka
16. Hideki Matsuyama
17. Jason Kokrak
18. Kevin Na
19. Stewart Cink
20. Corey Conners

21. Joaquin Niemann
22. Dustin Johnson
23. Daniel Berger
24. Scottie Scheffler
25. Sungjae Im
26. Patrick Reed
27. Billy Horschel
28. Rory McIlroy
29. Charley Hoffman
30. Max Homa
31. Kevin Kisner
32. Keegan Bradley
33. Si Woo Kim
34. Cameron Tringale
35. Marc Leishman
36. Cam Davis
37. K.H.Lee
38. Carlos Ortiz
39. Brian Harman
40. Hudson Swafford

41. Lucas Glover
42. Matt Jones
43. Alex Noren
44. Sergio Garcia
45. Erik van Rooyen
46. Lee Westwood
47. Shane Lowry
48. Tom Hoge
49. Cam Champ
50. Russell Henley
51. Branden Grace
52. Webb Simpson
53. Maverick McNealy
54. Paul Casey
55. Emiliano Grillo
56. Harold Varner III
57. Robert Streb
58. Aaron Wise
59. Sebastian Munoz
60. Chris Kirk
61. Jhonattan Vegas
62. Charl Schwartzel
63. Keith Mitchell
64. Kevin Streelman
65. Mackenzie Hughes
66. Patton Kizzire
67. Talor Gooch
68. Ryan Palmer
69.Harry Higgs
70. Phil Mickelson