Golf Tidbits: Wyndham had the pressure of Q School
08/18/2014 3:03 PM
08/18/2014 3:08 PM
Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - The Qualifying Tournament for the PGA Tour created great drama through the years, but that is gone now. Under its new format, Q School, as it is known, only gets players onto the Web.com Tour.
Sure, the pressure for those players is still there, and it's big pressure, but not as big as it once was. With that gone, the Wyndham Championship has taken on the feel of Q School.
The Wyndham was the last regular season event for the PGA Tour. Players were battling to get inside the top 125 on the FedExCup points list, or the top 125 on the money list.
Either way, those players keep their PGA Tour privileges for the 2014-15 season, which starts in October.
Paul Casey started the week as the bubble boy, as he stood 125th on the FedExCup points list. He was able to freewheel it a little though, as he was 114th on the money list.
Casey shared 18th place and secured his spot in the field for next week's Barclays tournament, and kept his tour card for next season.
The same can't be said for Bud Cauley. He entered the Wyndham at No. 125 on the money list and was 139th on the FedExCup points list. Cauley missed the cut by one stroke.
Cauley, who was likely done in by four bogeys in his first six holes on Thursday, slid to 129th on the money list and 143rd on the FedExCup points list.
He wasn't the only unlucky one. Nicholas Thompson opened the week No. 123 on the FedExCup list. He made the cut, and still dropped to 126th, meaning he'll miss the playoffs. Thompson remained inside the top 125 on the money list and likely will keep his card for next season.
There was more volatility on the money list than there was on the FedExCup points list. Four players entered the top 125 on the money list, meaning four others fell outside that magic number.
The four players that entered the top 125 on the money list were already inside that number on the FedExCup points list.
Tournament winner Camilo Villegas soared from 105th to 37th, Jhonattan Vegas climbed from 124th to 108th, Andres Romero from 119th to 110th and Sang-Moon Bae climbed from 126th to 120th.
For two players in particular, it was a difficult Sunday at Sedgefield Country Club. Entering the final round, Brad Fritsch needed to finish in no worse than a two-way tie for second to make the playoffs and Heath Slocum needed a solo third or better to earn a spot in The Barclays next week.
Fritsch started the day alone in second and Slocum, who had a piece of the second-round lead, was tied for third. They were both in prime positions to make the playoffs and keep their tour cards for next year.
Then, the pressure of the situation kicked in.
Fritsch had two birdies and a bogey over his opening nine holes. The Canadian played the back nine in 1-over par with a bogey and eight pars. So long playoffs as he dipped into a share of eighth place.
"It was uncomfortable and I made a couple of scrappy pars early and almost made eagle on five. I thought if I could have that momentum it would have been great and then I made a few loose shots. Didn't have it today," admitted Fritsch. "It was tough. I just didn't put myself in great position to make birdie putts."
The fall for Slocum was even more painful. He had back-to-back birdies at three and four, then eagled the fifth. After a bogey on No. 7, Slocum played the next five in 1-over par with a bogey on the 10th and four pars.
He was still in the mix though. After trading a birdie for a bogey from the 13th, Slocum drained an 11-footer for eagle at 15 and followed with a 35-foot birdie effort on 16. Suddenly, Slocum found himself tied for the lead.
Instead of just sneaking into the playoffs and barely keeping his card, the prospect of winning the event, earning a two-year exemption and playing at least three playoff tournaments was staring Slocum in the face.
The pressure of it all got to him. Slocum hit a poor approach at 17, then played his third to 18 feet. He missed that par putt to fall one back. Slocum landed in the right rough off the 18th tee, but his approach found the green. However, he 3-putted from 42 feet out for another bogey.
In two holes, Slocum went from a share of the lead to tied for fourth place. If he makes par on either of the last two holes, he's in the playoffs and has his tour card for next year.
"With that lie (on 17), if anything, I'm going to hit that shot fat. I was taking dead aim. I just hit a bad everything. Then on 18 ... maybe I try to 2- putt and make sure I give myself a close putt, but at the time, you got to get that close. Situation where you get a chance to maybe win a golf tournament," explained Slocum. "I mean I hit it too hard obviously, but I was trying to make sure I got it there. And I hit a poor putt the second one. Obviously, terribly disappointed."
Slocum, who made just 12 cuts in 23 starts, will have to try to keep his PGA Tour status through the Web.com Finals Series, which starts in two weeks.
The pressure may not have been similar to that of Q School, but the drama of the situation surely bothered those two players.
AMERICANS CONTINUE TO STRUGGLE AT LPGA CHAMPIONSHIP
Whether it be DuPont Country Club, Bulle Rock Golf Course, Locust Hill Country Club or Monroe Golf Club, American women have struggled to win the LPGA Championship.
Korean Inbee Park won the title for the second straight year on Sunday, and did so in a playoff for the second year in a row. Park downed American Brittany Lincicome, who led entering the final round.
Lincicome was two strokes clear of the field early on the back nine, but double-bogeyed the 12th and later bogeyed the 18th to fall back into the playoff.
Park only needed to par 18 to repeat as champion.
That meant Cristie Kerr, the 2010 champion, remained as the only American winner in the last 14 years at the LPGA Championship.
That dry spell comes on the heels of Americans winning 10 of 13 LPGA Championship titles from 1986-2000.
Park's win also snapped a run of three straight American winners in the seasons first three majors.
Maybe the move to Westchester Country Club next year will help the American women get back to their winning ways at the LPGA Championship
- Best wishes to Joe Ogilvie as he retires from the PGA Tour to enter the business world. Ogilvie made just four cuts in 13 starts this year. He was one of the smartest players on tour, and it would not be a shock if he wasn't at least mentioned as a possible commissioner for the tour down the line.
- Martin and Gerina Piller entered Sunday with a chance to make history of sorts. Martin led the Web.com event, while Gerina was tied for fifth place, four strokes off the lead. The husband-wife tandem both had a chance to win their respective tournaments. Martin polished off his third Web.com Tour win with a 63, while Gerina stumbled to a 75 and ended in a tie for 13th. They combined to earn over $133,000. Not a bad haul for one weekend.
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