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2022 TOUR Championship: 10 players to win the PGA Tour finale, including Patrick Cantlay

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PGA: TOUR Championship - Final Round
Adam Hagy-USA TODAY Sports

The finale of the 2021-22 PGA Tour season has arrived with the TOUR Championship taking place at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta.

Patrick Cantlay, who enters this week as a back-to-back BMW Championship winner, won the FedEx Cup last year and is looking to do the same this week to become the first player in playoff history to win two consecutive FedEx Cups.

We are at the point of the season where players are getting blisters, bumps and bruises.

Due to Will Zalatoris’ having two herniated discs there are only 29 players in this week’s field who are looking to win the coveted TOUR Championship trophy.

TOUR Championship format

This week’s format consists of starting strokes, meaning the higher a player is in the standings entering this week, the better that player will start before they tee off on Thursday.

Starting StrokesPlayer(s)
10 underScottie Scheffler
8 underPatrick Cantlay
7 underWill Zalatoris (WD)
6 underXander Schauffele
5 underSam Burns
4 underCameron Smith, Rory McIlroy, Tony Finau, Sepp Straka, Sungjae Im
3 underJon Rahm, Scott Stallings, Justin Thomas, Cameron Young, Matt Fitzpatrick
2 underMax Homa, Hideki Matsuyama, Jordan Spieth, Joaquin Niemann, Viktor Hovland
1 underCollin Morikawa, Billy Horschel, Tom Hoge, Corey Conners, Brian Harman
Even parK.H. Lee, J.T. Poston, Sahith Theegala, Adam Scott, Aaron Wise
Starting strokes format for TOUR Championship

Here are 10 players who can win the TOUR Championship.

Related: Ranking the 10 best players on the PGA Tour

10. Jon Rahm

john rahm: 2022 tour championship
Adam Hagy-USA TODAY Sports

Jon Rahm, who enters the week seven strokes already back of the leader in this starting format, will have to try to find that form of being a No. 1 player in the world.

This season, Rahm leads the PGA Tour in strokes gained off the tee, third in total strokes gained and fourth in strokes gained: tee to green.

Rahm also ranks second this season in greens in regulation percentage, which will be all useful, especially for players like himself who are already playing from behind even before they take their first shot on a long, 469-yard par four.

Rahm tees off Thursday at 10:25 a.m. PT with Sungjae Im to start the TOUR Championship.

Related: PGA Tour bumps prize money to $415M next season

9. Matt Fitzpatrick

PGA: The Open Championship - Final Round
Michael Madrid-USA TODAY Sports

Matt Fitzpatrick, who won the U.S. Open up the east coast in Brookline, Mass, just outside of Boston a couple months ago, comes into Atlanta for the first time.

This year, Fitzpatrick needs to rely on what has led him to this point. This season, he ranks second in total strokes gained, fourth in strokes gained around the green, fifth in strokes gained tee to green and third in scoring average.

If the Englishman can follow these statistics this week, then coming back from 3-under will not be a problem.   

Fitzpatrick tees off Thursday at 10:05 a.m. PT with Cameron Young.

Related: Sports world reacts to Matt Fitzpatrick winning U.S. Open

8. Tony Finau

PGA: The Open Championship - First Round
Michael Madrid-USA TODAY Sports

Tony Finau returns to East Lake for the sixth time this weekend. In each of his five previous appearances, he has finished inside the top 17, including two seventh-place finishes in 2017 and 2019.

Finau needs to continue his success with three top-five finishes in his last four starts. Despite finishing tied for 28th last week, which was in large part due to his first round 77, Finau needs to get back on track and put up four rounds in the 60s if he wants to be atop the leaderboard come Sunday.

The 32-year-old tees off on Thursday at 10:35 am. PT with Sepp Straka.

Related: Justin Thomas sick of talking about LIV Golf

7. Justin Thomas

tour champinship: justin thomas
Adam Hagy-USA TODAY Sports

Thomas begins his week with the group at 3-under at East Lake. This will be Thomas’ sixth event at East Lake and has finished no lower than seventh, including second place finishes in 2017 and 2020.

Although he did not win the TOUR Championship in 2017, he won the FedEx Cup. Thomas also has a third-place finish in 2018, a fourth-place card last year and finished sixth during his first stint in 2016.

Thomas has never put together four rounds in the 60s in his previous six times at East Lake. Every year, he has posted at least one round in the low 70s.

If he can put together four solid rounds, he is another face that can make a statement and catch up on the leaderboard.

Thomas kicks off his round on Thursday with Scott Stallings at 10:15 a.m. PT

6. Rory McIlroy

PGA: TOUR Championship - First Round
Adam Hagy-USA TODAY Sports

Rory McIlroy, who is looking to become the first player to hoist three FedEx Cups, begins his week six shots back looking to get back in the winner’s circle for the first time in three years.

During his win in 2019, McIlroy recorded all four of his rounds in the 60s, highlighted by bookending his tournament with a first and fourth round 66 for a final score of 13-under.

One part of McIlroy’s game that has benefitted him this season is that he leads all players in total strokes gained, shaving off more than two strokes off his round by executing tee shots and making putts.

Having the lead in total strokes gained has also led to having the lead in scoring average this season, averaging 68.73 strokes per round.

Related: Sports world reacts to Cameron Smith winning 150th version of The Open Championship

5. Cameron Smith

tour championship: cameron smith
Adam Hagy-USA TODAY Sports

Cameron Smith, who did not play in last week’s BMW Championship due to a lingering hip injury, is in this week’s field looking to make a push for the FedEx Cup.

As a result of not playing last week, Smith dropped three spots down to No. 6 and is part of the group starting at -4.

By being six shots back, getting birdies will be key and as long as Smith is healthy, he knows how to make birdies, leading the PGA Tour in birdie average.

Smith and McIlroy will tee off together in the same group beginning at 10:45 a.m. PT for the first round.

4. Sam Burns

PGA: TOUR Championship - First Round
Adam Hagy-USA TODAY Sports

Sam Burns, who starts at 5-under this week, enters the action for his second time at the PGA TOUR Championship.

Last year, Burns finished in 18th place with a final round 68 and tournament score of 2-under.

So far in the playoffs, Burns finished tied for 20th at the FedEx St. Jude Championship and tied for 19th last week at the BMW Championship.

One of the keys this week will be how well players will be able to successfully get the ball on the green. Last year when Cantlay won, he led the field with 76.4% greens in regulation to set up the putting game.

This year, Burns ranks 11th on the PGA Tour in strokes gained putting and 18th in greens in regulation percentage this season as both will be key in order to save shots throughout the course.

Related: Tour Championship drama hits East Lake

3. Xander Schauffele

PGA: TOUR Championship - Third Round
Adam Hagy-USA TODAY Sports

Schauffele has had positive success throughout his entire career going all the way back to his rookie season in 2017.

Five years ago, Schauffele became the first rookie to win the Tour Championship. However, he did not win the FedEx Cup that season.

In his five trips walking around the property, Schauffele has made the top 10 all five times with his lowest finish coming in 2018 when he finished in seventh place.

In addition, in the 20 rounds he’s played at East Lake, 18 have been played in the 60s, highlighted two 64s – one in last year’s final round and one in the first round in 2019. The other two rounds were scores of 70.

Schauffele starts at 6-under and will tee off Thursday at 10:55 a.m. PT with Burns.

Related: Scottie Scheffler in the driver’s seat at Tour Championship

2. Scottie Scheffler

tour championship scottie scheffler
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Scottie Scheffler got back on track last week with a tied for third place finish with Schauffele. Having a two-stroke will pay dividends, especially playing in a tournament when every stroke counts as days get closer to Sunday.

Scheffler has shown all season long that he can win on the game’s biggest stage. From making his name known in last year’s Ryder Cup while taking down then-No. 1 Rahm on the final day to winning the Masters Tournament in addition to the WGC Dell Technologies match play event, he has proven why he is number one and a favorite this week.

This is Scheffler’s third time in Atlanta. He recorded a top-5 finish during his rookie appearance in 2020 before fading back to 22nd last year.

Related: Patrick Cantlay moves into 2nd in FedEx standings heading into TOUR Championship

1. Patrick Cantlay

The reigning FedEx Cup Champion is in Atlanta looking to keep his title.

Cantlay is only starting two strokes back of Scheffler and with his success from last week, it has shown previously that he can translate that this week.

After a couple of finishes in the top 20 in 2018 and 2019 (Cantlay did not play in 2020), Cantlay pulled out the win last year, highlighted by all four rounds in the 60s .

He tees off with Scheffler at 11:05 a.m. PT in the final grouping on Thursday at East Lake.