A total of 21 golfers with Georgia ties qualified for the FedExCup Playoffs, but only one of the 21 improved his position in the standings, and by the slimmest of margins.
Five of the 21 began the Playoffs inside the top 30 in the standings with a sixth barely outside the top 30. But only three golfers with Georgia ties will compete next week at East Lake in the Tour Championship, with the lone Peach State resident among the three narrowly retaining his spot in the top 30.
St. Simons Island resident Patton Kizzire, the early 2018 leader in the FedExCup standings , was 15th on the points list entering the Playoffs, but qualified for the Tour Championship in the 30th position, getting the final spot over 2015 champion Jordan Spieth.
Kizzire will join current Masters champion Patrick Reed, who played two seasons at Augusta State, and two-time Masters champion Bubba Watson, a member of the golf team at UGA for two seasons, in the field at East Lake.
This will be the first appearance in the Tour Championship for Kizzire, a third-year player on the PGA Tour who played his college golf at Auburn and is an Alabama native. Kizzire won in Mayakoba during the Fall portion of the 2017-18 PGA Tour schedule, one week after finishing one shot out of a playoff in Las Vegas , He followed with another win in the first full field event of 2018 in Hawaii, and was No. 1 in the FedExCup standings at that point.
But other than a tie for 12th in the WGC event in Mexico, Kizzire did not have a finish better than 30th in his 20 starts after his victory in Hawaii, and gradually dropped down in the standings. His best finish in the three Playoffs events was a tie for 60th in the opener in New Jersey, and if Spieth had played well in the Playoffs finale in Philadelphia, Kizzire would have finished outside the top 30 after beginning the week 21st.
Kizzire was the Web.com Tour Player of the Year in 2015, and placed 58th and 87th in the FedExCup standings his first two seasons on the PGA Tour, including one second place finish both years.
Watson was fifth on the points list after winning three times in the regular season, and is eighth coming into the Tour Championship following a tie for seventh in Boston and for 16th in Philadelphia. He was the only member of the 21-man Georgia Playoffs contingent to post a top 10 in the Playoffs.
This will be Watson’s eighth start at East Lake. His best finishes were a pair of ties for fifth in 2012 and ’15. He tied for 10th in his last start in 2016.
Reed will be making his fifth straight start in the Tour Championship, missing out only in 2013 after his rookie season. He has not had much success at East Lake, with a tie for 13th last year his best finish.
Thanks largely to his triumph in Augusta, Reed was 10th in the standings at the end of the regular season, and comes into the Tour Championship 15th on the points list after three respectable Playoffs showings, including a pair of top 25s. His best finish was a T19 earlier this week at Aronimink. Reed led Augusta State to national championships in both his seasons with the Jaguars in 2010 and ’11.
Here is a look at how Georgia’s other players did in the Playoffs with their final ranking in parentheses.
Chesson Hadley (44): The former Georgia Tech golfer began the Playoffs at 24, but finished T56 and missed the cut in his first two starts to fall to 36th. With a chance to make it to East Lake with a strong showing in Philadelphia, he finished T61 to drop even further in the standings.
Luke List (45): List, who grew up in north Georgia, was 29th as the Playoffs started and 31st after a T48 finish in New Jersey. But he missed the cut in Boston to fall to 40th, and lost five more spots after a tie for 45th at Aronimink. List recently joined the roster of Georgia residents on the PGA Tour when he moved to Augusta. His wife is a native of Evans, an Augusta suburb.
Kevin Kisner (47): The former UGA golfer was 40th at the outset of the Playoffs and moved up to 39th after a top-25 finish in Boston. But he barely cracker the top 60 in Philly and will miss the Tour Championship for the first time since 2014. He tied for third at East Lake last year.
Brian Harman (48): The ex-Georgia Bulldog golfer was 32nd at the start of the Playoffs, but dropped to 38th after barely finishing inside the top 50 in New Jersey and Boston. The Savannah native and St. Simons resident lost 10 more spots in the standings after finishing last among the players who completed 72 holes in Philadelphia.
Charles Howell (53): After a missed cut and tie for 58th, the Augusta native dropped from 47th to 57th in the standings, but threatened to make a run at a spot in the top 30 when he shot 63 in the second round at Aronimink. But he pulled off a “Faldo” in the third round, making 18 pars, and wound up tied for 24th, gaining four spots in the final standings.
Zach Johnson (58): Started the Playoffs at 52nd, and did not move outside the 50s, finishing in the middle of the pack in New Jersey and Philly and narrowly missing the cut in Boston. Johnson will not be a playing member of the U.S. Ryder Cup team for just the second time since 2006, but was recently named one of the assistant captains, one of three St. Simons residents who will be serving in that capacity.
Chris Kirk (66): A teammate of Kisner on Georgia’s 2005 NCAA Championship team, he also finished in the middle of the pack in two of the three Playoffs events after ending up near the bottom of the standings in New Jersey. The Woodstock native and Athens resident started the Playoffs in 59th.
Keith Mitchell (67): Made the biggest move among the Georgia contingent when he placed 20th in Boston to move up from 78 to 66 and advance to the event in Philly. The only Georgian to improve his standing in the Playoffs after starting in the 68th spot. Recent Georgia Bulldog resides on St. Simons Island.
Stewart Cink (73): Began the Playoffs at 58, but a missed cut and a tie for 62nd cost the former Georgia Tech standout and long-time Duluth resident a spot in the field for the third event after beginning the week in 65th. (The top 70 qualified for Philadelphia.)
Matt Kuchar (76): After qualifying for the Tour Championship every year since 2010, the former Georgia Tech All-American did not even make it past the second Playoffs event this year, falling from 64th at the end of the regular season. Made the cut in his first two Playoffs starts, but finishes of T60 and T43 were not enough to advance. This will be the first time since 2009 Kuchar has not played in the Ryder Cup or Presidents Cup, but he will join fellow St. Simons residents Johnson and Davis Love as an assistant captain.
Russell Henley (96): Was 88th after the regular season and lost ground in the Playoffs. The Macon native and former UGA golf team member tied for third at East Lake after a final round 65.
Ollie Schniederjans (98): Recent Georgia Tech star washed out in the Playoffs for a second straight year, and is now 0-for-4 in cuts made in the first two Playoffs events. Schniederjans, who grew up in Powder Springs, started the Playoffs 87th in the standings.
Trey Mullinax (102); Richy Werenski (110); J.T. Poston (117); Vaughn Taylor (118); Scott Brown (122); Harris English (125): All six missed the cut in New Jersey and were out after one event. At 95, Mullinax was the only one inside the top 100 after the regular season. Werenski began the Playoffs at 101, the other four were 110 or higher.
Here’s a look at how the Georgia contingent on the PGA Tour did in the Playoffs, with FedExCup standings through the first three Playoffs events in parentheses.