BMW Championship: Cherry Hills C.C. holding its own

Play was called for the day at 5:15 pm in the BMW Championship at the Cherry Hills Country Club in Denver, Colorado, due to lightning. No surprise in Denver, but it left 9 of the 70-player field still to complete their rounds Friday morning at 11:00 am.

And of those that did finish, none could do better than 3-under 67 on this par-70 gem. The night before, as player after player extolled the virtues of the course and its history — host of seven major championships and the course where Arnold Palmer drove the 1st green in the final round of the 1960 U.S. Open — they all noted how hard and fast the fairways were, how high the rough was and how hard the greens were. Nothing changed overnight.

Since this is the top-70 players in the FedExCup race, its impressive that the course held up so well. Players come in saying these things all the time and then they hammer the course the next day. Not this time. 

And now it’s crunch time: they each have to get into the top 30 in FedExCup points to continue on to the final leg of The Playoffs, the Tour Championship and FedExCup Championship at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta, Georgia. That starts next week and brings to an end the 2014 season.

Two weeks later, the Ryder Cup begins at Gleneagles Golf Club in Scotland.

Here’s how the leaders and notables who finished fared, their Projected and Starting FedExCup points in parentheses:

3-under – Gary Woodland (4, 29), Jordan Spieth (2, 9) and Rory McIlroy (1, 2)

2-under – Billy Horschel (13, 20), Russell Henley (11, 14), Martin Kaymer (12, 15), Sergio Garcia (15, 23), Cheson Hadley (39, 57), Kevin Chappell (42, 61), Matt Every (31, 39) and Graham DeLaet (33, 43).

1-under – Justin Rose (23, 27), Hideki Matsuyama (26, 30), Erik Compton (56, 62), K.J. Choi (57, 65), Chris Stroud (41, 42), Charles Howell III (32, 35) and Ryan Palmer (35, 37).

Even par – Ernie Els (44, 44), Jason Day (9, 7), Jim Furyk (10, 8), Phil Mickelson (55, 56), Seung-Yul Noh (36, 36), Bubba Watson (8, 6) and Cameron Tringale (18, 18).

The three U.S. Ryder Cup Captain’s picks have some work to do to have a chance to win this week. Here are Thursday’s scores and points standings:

1-over – Keegan Bradley, (27, 28)

3-over – Webb Simpson, (22, 19)

5-over – Hunter Mahan, (5, 3)

A final note. Hunter Mahan is the only player to have started in each of The Playoffs tournaments for the last 8 years. That’s a total of 31 and he looks to be in fine shape to make his 32nd.

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