FedEx Cup 2012: Weekend Dark Horses at the Tour Championship

James Ermilio@jimmyermilioCorrespondent IIISeptember 22, 2012

Snedeker has a shot to win the Tour Championship and the FedEx cup.
Snedeker has a shot to win the Tour Championship and the FedEx cup.Chris Chambers/Getty Images

This weekend, the 2012 FedEx Cup playoffs draw to a close with the Tour Championship at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta.  The field is wide open, with plenty of opportunities for underdogs to steal this tournament.

Jim Furyk (-7) led the Tour Championship by one stroke as the tournament headed into the weekend, but he'll need help if he hopes to win the FedEx Cup.  

Any of the top five golfers in the FedEx Cup standings (Rory McIlroy, Tiger Woods, Nick Watney, Phil Mickelson, and Brandt Snedeker) would secure the Cup with a win at the Tour Championship.  Many were expecting a prize fight between McIlroy and Woods, but both have disappointed, with each sitting five strokes back of the leader heading into Saturday's round.

Let's take a look at three dark horses who might sneak up on the leaders and win the Tour Championship. 

Brandt Snedeker (-2)

Snedeker is five strokes back of the leader, but he's got the time and the talent to make up that gap.

The 2007 PGA Rookie of the Year has one remarkable asset on his side: his fantastic putting.  

Snedeker leads the PGA Tour in strokes gained through putting, and that's proved key to this tournament in recent years.  Three of the last four winners in the tournament also led the field in putting, so Snedeker's skills are perfectly tailored to a dark-horse win here (per 

Some of the field favorites (including Woods and McIlroy) have been struggling with putting, so Snedeker might have an advantage in this matchup.

He's also got the requisite motivation: if he wins the Tour Championship, he'll take the FedEx Cup and a $10 million prize as the first-place champion.  Look for a strong performance from Snedeker through the weekend.

Matt Kuchar (-4)

Matt Kuchar enters the tournament ranked 16th in the FedEx Cup standings, so he doesn't control his own destiny with regards to winning the Cup.

All he can do is play to the best of his ability and hope for a (significant) bit of luck.  

Kuchar knows the East Lake Golf Club from his days as a student at Georgia Tech.  He started Saturday just three shots back of the leader after a strong first two rounds (in which he shot 67 and 69, respectively).  

With a strong Saturday performance, he'll find himself right in the hunt at the end of the tournament.

But he'll need a lot more breaks to go his way if he hopes to take the Cup.

Ryan Moore (-4) 

Ryan Moore started out hot in round three, with a three-under through eight to bring himself within three shots of the leader Furyk.  Moore is ranked just 28th out of the final 30, so it's a virtual certainty he won't be winning the Cup.  

But that doesn't mean he can't steal the tournament with a strong final round-and-a-half.  

Moore has been consistent and reliable in a great run in which he started 64th in the standings and finished in the top 30.   While the big names like Tiger and Steve Stricker regressed on Friday with 73s, Moore remained steady, shooting an even 70.  

Though it's unlikely he'll win the Cup, Moore could make a name for himself with a strong showing at the Tour Championship.