A total of 70 players moved on to the third FedExCup Playoffs event earlier this week, with 13 golfers with Georgia ties among the group vying for a spot in the Tour Championship at East Lake later this month.
Patrick Reed, Stewart Cink and Hudson Swafford all turned in strong showings in the Playoffs event in Boston, with Cink moving from outside the top 80 going into the tournament to qualify for next week’s tournament in Chicago.
The top 30 on the points list after Chicago will qualify for the Tour Championship, which will be played in Atlanta Sept, 21-24. Five Georgians are currently ranked between 14th and 23rd, and will all be in the field at East Lake. Three others are between 33 and 37 and can move into the top 30 with successful efforts in Chicago.
The other five are between 50 and 61 in the standings and will all need to finish at least in the top five in Chicago to make it to East Lake.
Reed had the best showing among the Georgia contingent in Boston, tying for sixth to move up from 33 to 22 in the standings. A final round 66 guaranteed Reed a spot in the field at East Lake for the fourth straight year.
Cink began last week at 81 on the points list, but moved up to 57 after placing 12th. He closed with a 68 to wrap up his spot in the top 70 and move on to Chicago.
Swafford moved up from 38 to 33 after tying for 13th in Boston. He was in the top 30 for most of the year after his early 2017 victory in LaQuinta, Calif. Swafford is only 50 points behind the player in 30th position and will likely need to finish at least in the top 30 and get a little help to move into the top 30.
Kevin Kisner, Brian Harman and Matt Kuchar all finished outside the top 50 in Boston, but remained inside the top 20. Kisner dropped from 11to 14, Harman from 13 to 15 and Kuchar from 15 to 18, but all three had already locked up spots in the top 30.
Russell Henley remained at 23 after tying for 40th, and is a virtual lock to qualify for the Tour Championship. A poor final round cost Henley about 20 spots in the final standings at Boston, and a pair of bogeys on the final three holes enabled Kevin Chappell to pick up enough points to edge out Charley Hoffman for the final automatic berth on the Presidents Cup team.
Charles Howell missed the cut in Boston and fell from 28 to 35. Howell began the Playoffs 21st in the standings, and unless he has a strong showing in Chicago, will squander another opportunity to qualify for the Masters in his hometown of Augusta.
Wesley Bryan, an Augusta resident, is already qualified for the Masters, but is playing his way out of the field at East Lake, dropping five spots for the second straight week to 37 after starting the Playoffs at 27. Both Howell and Bryan will need to finish in the top 20 or better in Chicago.
Ollie Schniederjans began the Playoffs at 39 on the points list, but missed the cut in each of the first two events and has fallen to 50. Zach Johnson has dropped from 42 to 54 the past two weeks, with Luke List slipping from 50 to 55. After gaining 10 spots to 55 after a solid showing in the Playoffs opener, Scott Brown is 61 going to Chicago.
Bubba Watson was 72 in the standings after ting for 10th in the Playoffs opener, but finished near the bottom of the field in Boston and fell to 75th, 31 points behind the player in the 70th spot. Also failing to advance to Chicago was Chris Kirk and Patton Kizzire, who both began last week outside the top 90 and stayed there.
The most prominent players along with Watson to drop out of the Playoffs chase after the tournament in Boston were Presidents Cup International team members Adam Scott and Branden Grace.
Web.com Tour Finals
The Web.com Tour began its series of four Finals events that offer PGA Tour cards for 2017-18 to 25 players. Former UGA golfer Keith Mitchell continued his excellent play of late, quickly bouncing back after a disappointing finish the week before that left him 26th on the regular season.
The top 25 qualified for next season’s PGA Tour, but Mitchell is in position to finish among the top 25 in Finals after tying for sixth last week in Columbus, Oh. Mitchell is tied for fourth among the players not already assured of a PGA Tour berth next season, and will not need much more earnings to lock up his card after collecting $34,750 for his finish last weekend. Mitchell has placed third, sixth and sixth the last three weeks.
Billy Kennerly and Scott Langley both tied for 19th in Chicago and are T14 in the standings after one week. Seth Reeves was second behind Mitchell after 36 holes, but fell back over the weekend and tied for 24th, and is T16 among the players competing for PGA Tour cards.
Jonathan Byrd is T22 in the standings after one week, with Roberto Castro T46 and Trey Mullinax T57. Chesson Hadley, who already has his PGA Tour card for 2017-18 and is playing for positioning on next season’s tour, placed 10th in the Finals opener.
Missing the cut in Columbus were Anders Albertson, Blake Adams, Sepp Straka, David Skinns, Henrik Norlander, Jamie Arnold, J.T. Poston, Rick Lamb, Ben Kohles, Nicholas Thompson, Casey Wittenberg and Willy Wilcox.
Like the PGA Tour, the Web.com Tour is off the week, with tournaments the next three weeks in Boise, Cleveland and Jacksonville.
Duluth’s Scott Dunlap tied for third last week in Calgary and moved up from 39 to 25 on the tour’s money list, joining three other Georgia residents in the top 25. Savannah’s Gene Sauers remained 13th and Atlanta’s Billy Andrade is still 16th after placing 25th and 32nd respectively. Augusta’s Scott Parel moved up from 23 to 20 after tying for 15th. Larry Mize of Columbus dropped one spot from 51 to 52.
The Champions Tour plays its first ever official event in Japan this week.
Riverdale’s Mariah Stackhouse enjoyed one of the best tournaments of her rookie season on the LPGA Tour, tying for 24th last week in Portland to move up from 111 to 103 on the money list.
Players between 101 and 125 on the money list have status on the LPGA Tour for the following season, but Stackhouse can improve her situation if she can move up into the top 100. She shot 66 in the second round and 67 in the final round to record her second best showing on the tour in 2017.
Brunswick’s Katie Burnett held at 92 on the money list, while Valdosta’s Dori Carter gained one valuable spot from 126 to 125. Carter was in position to enjoy her best tournament of the year, but bogeyed four of her last five holes for a final round 75 to finish T33.
Carter is less than $1,000 ahead of the player at 126, and will need a good showing this week in Indianapolis to retain her status. She can also improve her position in qualifying later this fall, which she accomplished last year.