TOUR Championship primer: Get set for the finale at East Lake

Ben Jared / PGA TOUR / Getty

After starting on Sept. 10 last year with the first round of the Safeway Open, the 2020-21 PGA TOUR schedule concludes with the TOUR Championship at East Lake to end the FedEx Cup Playoffs this weekend.

Patrick Cantlay heads to Atlanta in the No. 1 spot following his dramatic playoff win at last week's BMW Championship, with Northern Trust winner Tony Finau in second place.

For the third year, the tournament will use the staggered scoreboard to begin play, with each player sitting at a different overall score based on the FedEx Cup standings.

Dustin Johnson claimed the overall $15-million prize for winning the FedEx Cup last year, despite not shooting the lowest 72-hole score during the TOUR Championship. Xander Schauffele fired the lowest total over the four rounds, but it wasn't enough to erase Johnson's seven-shot lead entering play.

Here's how this year's leaderboard looks heading into opening-round play on Thursday:

Place Player Starting score
1 Patrick Cantlay -10
2 Tony Finau -8
3 Bryson DeChambeau -7
4 Jon Rahm -6
5 Cameron Smith -5
6 Justin Thomas -4
7 Harris English -4
8 Abraham Ancer -4
9 Jordan Spieth -4
10 Sam Burns -4
11 Collin Morikawa -3
12 Sungjae Im -3
13 Viktor Hovland -3
14 Louis Oosthuizen -3
15 Dustin Johnson -3
16 Rory McIlroy -2
17 Xander Schauffele -2
18 Jason Kokrak -2
19 Kevin Na -2
20 Brooks Koepka -2
21 Corey Conners -1
22 Hideki Matsuyama -1
23 Stewart Cink -1
24 Joaquin Niemann -1
25 Scottie Scheffler -1
26 Daniel Berger E
27 Erik van Rooyen E
28 Sergio Garcia E
29 Billy Horschel E
30 Patrick Reed E

Johnson won the grand prize from the top spot last year, and Rory McIlroy claimed the 2019 trophy despite starting the tournament five shots back of leader Justin Thomas.

With the likes of Bryson DeChambeau and Jon Rahm lurking three and four shots off the pace, Cantlay will need a strong finish to avoid losing his grip on the massive prize awaiting in Atlanta.

Course information

The TOUR Championship has been conducted at East Lake since 2004, meaning all 14 FedEx Cup champions have been crowned at the Atlanta-area layout. While the scenes from Tiger Woods' incredible 2019 win at the Masters garner the headlines, his comeback victory at East Lake in 2018 also provided an incredible moment.

The course plays to a par of 70 at 7,346 yards, and Zach Johnson fired the East Lake record of 60 in 2007. Woods holds the tournament scoring mark with a four-round total of 257 that was also set in 2007.

2021 FedEx Cup events

The Northern Trust
1. Tony Finau - won in playoff
2. Cameron Smith
3. Jon Rahm
T4. Justin Thomas
T4. Tom Hoge
T4. Alex Noren

BMW Championship
1. Patrick Cantlay - won in playoff
2. Bryson DeChambeau
3. Sungjae Im
4. Rory McIlroy
5. Erik van Rooyen

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TOUR Championship primer: Get set for the finale at East Lake
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