The Business End of the Season
If you thought PGA Tour players were competing for a lot of money earlier in 2014, take a look at what is on offer over the next few weeks...
Yes, Fed-Ex Cup Playoff time is looming, although there is the small matter of the WGC Bridgestone Invitational ($US 9.0million), and the 4th Major, the US PGA Championship to get out of the way first. That is followed by the Wyndham Championship - the last regular PGA Tour stop this season, and then into the playoffs for those who qualify.
Similarly on the Web.Com Tour, there are 4 more regular events before their playoff series starts. New Zealander Steven Alker is well placed in 10th slot of the 25 who will get PGA Tour cards, and takes a well earned break this week before heading towards the 4 season-ending events in the playoffs, starting with the Hospital Fitness Championship in Indiana on August 28th. Even though his 2015 PGA card is almost certain, a good result in the playoffs will help his ranking and the number of starts he gets next year.
Back to the Fed-Ex Cup: Danny Lee (104th) and Tim Wilkinson (108th) are in relatively good shape to make the 125 who will retain their cards and play in the Barclays Championship in New York on August 21st. They would dearly like to get in the top 100, which would get them into the next event, the Deutsche Bank Championship. Huge swings can occur in the playoffs, which feature many more points on offer, and a staggering $US 35 million in bonus money for ranking PGA Tour players, and particularly those who get to the Tour Championship. The scoring system is complicated, so pay attention over the next few weeks.....
In the meantime, Lee & Wilkinson will be in Reno this week for the Barracuda Championship (formerly the Reno-Tahoe Open), played to a modified stableford system (8 points for an albatross, 5 for an eagle, 2 for a birdie and so on). They are not highly enough ranked to play in the WGC at Firestone CC, traditionally a Tiger stronghold. Woods will certainly need a pair of very high finishes over the next two weeks to be in contention for the Fed-Ex, let alone the Ryder Cup.
News Update: Tim and Danny are off to a great start in the Barracuda Open: check their scores over the weekend at www.pgatour.com
Turner Aces Moving Day27 Jul 2014
A hole in one on the 158 metre 15th at Royal Porthcawl helped NZ PGA member Greg Turner to a 5 under 66 in Round 3 of the British Senior Open, and jet propelled him 42 places up the leaderboard to lie T15 with a round to go. Turner played the 4 Par 3s in a total of 8 shots to anchor his round. Peter Fowler is also turning in a more than respectable performance, lying 26th at +3. Meanwhile Bernhard Langer has put daylight between him and the chasing pack and leads by 8 shots at -15.
However, Danny Lee and Tim Wilkinson moved the wrong way at the RBC Canadian Open. After 7 birdies in his 2nd round, Lee ground out 16 pars and 2 bogeys to lie T22 at -4, 11 shots behind leader Jim Furyk, who has carried on from an excellent week at the Open Championship. Tim Wilkinson had a day to forget with a 75 dropping him to T59, and he will be hoping his early tee time in the final round will enable him to take advantage of the best conditions at Royal Montreal.
Steven Alker returned a respectable 4 under par 67 in Round 3 of the Midwest Classic, and is currently T15 at -10 with good chances of consolidating his current Top 10 ranking on the Web.Com Tour. He is a long way behind Zach Sucher, who shot the lights out again to reach -20 and take a 3 shot lead into the final round.