With the window of opportunity fast closing, some players with South Carolina connections on the PGA Tour need “to pull a Doc Redman” to secure full status for the 2019-20 season.
Redman, the former Clemson All-American who won the 2017 U.S. Amateur Championship, bolted from nowhere into “probable” territory for next season with one outstanding tournament.
Toiling on the third-tier Mackenzie Tour in Canada most of the year, Redman earned a position in the PGA’s Rocket Mortgage tournament in Monday qualifying, then sparkled in the main event and placed second.
Instead of going back to Canada, Redman now has “provisional status” on the PGA Tour, a berth in the Open Championship and unlimited sponsor exemptions for the remainder of the PGA Tour. Coupled with his tie for 18th in the Wells Fargo Championship, he has 344 FedEx Cup points — a number that would place him 109th if he were a full member.
With the top 125 earning full status on next year’s schedule, he needs only to accumulate enough points to match the player at No. 125 to earn his playing privileges.
“I knew what was at stake, but I was trying not to think about it,” Redman told reporters after posting a 19-under-par 269 in Detroit. “I was just trying to play well every day, and I did that.”
His performance shows how quickly a player can zoom up the standings and should provide a ray of hope for players outside of the top 125 with six tournaments remaining after Sunday’s conclusion of the 3M Championship.
The South Carolina contingent shows players in three categories — the sure, the probable and the work-to-do — in the waning days of the season.
Based on rankings headed into the 3M, Dustin Johnson (No. 7 in FedEx points), Kevin Kisner (17) and Lucas Glover (39) are set, and Scott Brown (100), Kyle Stanley (106) and Redman (provisional 109) look pretty safe. Needing to make up ground are Jonathan Byrd (141), Bill Haas (tie 151), Roberto Diaz (154), Russell Henley (163), DJ Trahan (166) and Sam Saunders (188).
Tommy Gainey has missed the cut in his three PGA Tour starts and is playing primarily on the Korn Ferry (previously Web.com) Tour.
Wesley Bryan, William McGirt and Ben Martin have missed most of all of the season with injuries or surgery. On returning, McGirt and Bryan will have full status based on tournament wins. Martin is making rehabilitation starts on in Korn Ferry events before rejoining the PGA circuit in his quest to secure full status.
The good news that a player can climb up the standing with one outstanding performance is offset by the dwindling opportunities. The John Deere and Wyndham are the only pre-playoff events with full points. The work-to-do players will not qualify for The Open Championship and the WGC St. Jude’s Classic, leaving them with PGA Tour events played on the same dates with fewer points available.
The FedEx points distribution rewards high finishes. The winner of official PGA Tour events earns 500 points with a 10th place finish worth 75. Tournaments opposite majors and WCG events award 300 points to the champion.
Players who finish 126-200 in the FedEx standings will have an opportunity to regain status in the Korn Ferry tour playoffs.
Assured of advancing from the Korn Ferry to the PGA next year is former USC star Mark Anderson, who is currently sixth in that tour’s standings. If they do not make the Korn Ferry’s Top 25 who automatically qualify for next year’s PGA. Matt NeSmith (Columbia/USC) at 44, Andrew Novak (Mount Pleasant/Wofford) at 49 ant Billy Kennerly (Clemson) at 51 will compete in the Korn Ferry playoffs.
Chip shots. Entry deadline for the Midlands Chevy Dealers Columbia City Men’s Championship is Thursday. The tournament, set for July 18-20, returns to The Spur at Northwoods and to its traditional mid-July dates. Dillion Hite, a Lexington High graduate who will play for Charleston Southern this fall, will defend his championship. ... Anna Morgan (Spartanburg/Furman) and Elle Johnson (Inman/Florida State) earned spots in the U.S. Women’s Amateur in qualifying in Advance, N.C. USC golfer Anita Uwadia is second alternate.