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Final chance for Tour finale at Cog Hill
September 14, 2011

American Webb Simpson leads an elite field of 70 players preparing for a shootout at Cog Hill this week as they aim for a spot in the lucrative season-ending Tour Championship.

With his last three starts producing his first two career wins, Simpson enters the BMW Championship as the surprise leader of the FedEx standings but with every player in the field still mathematically alive to capture the FedExCup.

The tight standings sets up tense weekend at Cog Hill Golf and Country Club with only the top 30 moving onto Atlanta for the Championship and a shot at the $10 million first prize.

Just earning a ticket to East Lake Golf Club will bring plenty of perks, among them entry into next year’s first three majors and invitations to the Players championship, the WGC Championship and three Invitational events (Arnold Palmer Invitational, the Memorial Tournament and Colonial).

“You know, $10 million is a ridiculously large amount of money and an unbelievable prize,” Simpson told reporters. “At the end of the day, we want to win golf tournaments but when $10 million is at stake, you can’t not think about that.

“Part of me is kind of happy this week isn’t determining who’s going to win because you get one more week to focus on the golf.

“I know in Atlanta it’ll be a lot more focus I’m sure on the $10 million.”

American Dustin Johnson, currently second in the FedEx standings behind Simpson, will also like his chances of a big payday as he defends his title on the Dubsdread course that last year came under attack for its bumpy greens and generally poor condition.

Despite the criticism, Matt Kuchar, who holds down third place in the standings, also has good memories of Cog Hill winning the U.S. Amateur title here in 1997 and finishing runner-up to Johnson last year.

Britain’s world number one Luke Donald, who attended nearby Northwestern University and will be a gallery favourite when play begins on Thursday, enters the BMW in fourth and will try to close out a great season on a high.

Simpson has only played the BMW once before in 2009 finishing tied for 61st but had nothing but praise for the traditional tree-lined par 71 layout.

“It’s right in front of you, it’s a beautiful golf course,” said Simpson. “You play proper shots you’re going to get rewarded.

“If you don’t play it’ll eat you up because it is long, it is tough, and we’ll get cooler weather and maybe some wind so you’ve got different conditions to deal with.

“Seems like great players win here over the years. Dustin won last year, Tiger has won here a number of times. So I’m looking forward to it.”

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